Posts Tagged ‘South Shore Line’

Loan to Help Finance West Lake Corridor

June 20, 2022

The U.S. Department of Transportation has provided a $203.3 million Rehabilitation and Improvement Program loan to help fund the West Lake Corridor Project in Northwest Indiana.

The agency is building an 8-mile extension of the South Shore Line from Hammond to Dyer, Indiana.

The loan will be used to pay for about a third of the the $852 million in eligible project costs. It was issued by USDOT’s Build America Bureau to the Indiana Finance Authority on behalf of South Shore parent agency the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District.

The West Lake Corridor is being built on and along a former Monon Railroad right of way and is slated to open in 2025. It will have four new stations.

Other federal funding of the project includes a $354.6 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration.

Amtrak Eyes New Entrance to Chicago

June 13, 2022

Amtrak is seeking funding to develop a new entrance to Chicago for its trains from the East Coast and Michigan.

Trains magazine reported on its website that the proposal is multiple pronged and involves using tracks of the South Shore Line in Northwest Indiana, acquiring Canadian National’s lightly used Lakefront Line and constructing a direct connection from the St. Charles Air Line to Amtrak-owned tracks leading into Chicago Union Station.

The project, if funded, would cost an estimated $418.5 million.

The Chicago-New York/Boston Lake Shore Limited and Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited would leave their current route on Norfolk Southern’s Chicago Line at a connection from NS to the South Shore near the current Amtrak station in South Bend, Indiana.

Amtrak trains from Michigan would get onto the South Shore in Michigan City, Indiana. From there Amtrak would take the South Shore to Kensington in Chicago before switching to the CN Lakefront Line, which was formerly the mainline of the Illinois Central.

Amtrak trains using the former IC between Chicago and New Orleans currently use the St. Charles Air Line over its entire length.

But this requires a backup move on BNSF’s busy Chicago-Aurora line to reach Union Station.

Building a direct connection from the Air Line to Union Station would cost an estimated $146.5 million.

The proposed project also would route the Chicago-New York Cardinal over the under construction West Lake Corridor line of the South Shore between Dyer and Hammond, Indiana.

At Hammond, Nos. 50 and 51 would then continue in or out of Chicago via the South Shore mainline.

The advantages of the project would be to get passenger trains off the busy NS Chicago Line, where Amtrak operations have been frequently subject to delay.

The Trains report indicated Amtrak is eyeing grants from the National Infrastructure Project Assistance program.

Also known as the Mega Program, Amtrak would seek $251.1 million in federal grants that it would match with $83.7 million from its own budget.

The passenger carrier would also seek equal amounts from a combination of state and local agencies, including transportation departments of Illinois, Michigan, and the City of Chicago; commuter rail agency Metra; and Cook County, Illinois.

Amtrak also has proposed double-tracking its Michigan Line for 16 miles between Niles and Glenwood, Michigan.

This would eliminate delays that occur when scheduled trains run late and miss their planned meets at the existing sidings.

No timeline has been given for these projects and it is unclear if CN would be willing to sell to Amtrak its Lake Front Line in Chicago. Nor has Amtrak yet held discussions about using the South Shore with that rail operator’s parent, the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District.

The new Chicago entrance proposal is similar to one studied several years ago involving creating a dedicated passenger route in Chicago and Northwest Indiana on no-longer used right of way that once belonged to the New York Central that runs parallel to the former Pennsylvania Railroad mainline that Amtrak and NS use today. That proposal died due to lack of funding.

The Trains report can be read at https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/amtrak-unveils-infrastructure-plan-to-transform-chicago-operations/

South Shore Project to Begin June 1

May 26, 2022

Work is expected to get underway soon on construction of the West Lake Corridor commuter rail corridor in Northwest Indiana.

The eight-mile corridor will expand South Shore Line service from Hammond, Indiana, to Dyer, Indiana.

Michael Noland, president of the Northern Indiana Transportation Commuter District, told the agency’s board of directors that construction of the West Lake Corridor will begin June 1.

The $6.6 million project is expected to be completed within three years after construction begins.

As part of the project, workers will need to build bridges over the Grand Calumet River and various freight railroad lines in the region.

The corridor will have an intermediate station in Munster. The route uses right of way of the former Monon Railroad.

When completed, the South Shore trains will operate between Dyer and Chicago.

During the board meeting, Nolan also provided an update on the double tracking project of the main South Shore line between Michigan City and Gary.

He said work is on scheduled to be completed between Michigan City and Dune Park in Porter by the end of the year. The project will eliminate street running in Michigan City.

In the meantime, the South Shore is using buses to transport riders between the Michigan City Carroll Avenue station and Dune Park. Nolan said the bus bridge operation has carried 23,000 passengers since late February.

The next phase of the double-tracking project will involve the Dune Park-Gary segment where passengers there will rides buses as construction progresses.

The double track project is expected to be finished in 2024.

Michigan City Sees Some Daylight Street Moves

April 13, 2022

Although most South Shore freight operations through Michigan City, Indiana, continue to occur at night, at least once the Chicago South Shore & South Bend has a sent a train down the street during daylight hours.

Trains magazine posted on its website a photograph of six locomotives hauling four covered hopper cars through the construction zone on 11th Street in Michigan City on April 10.

Since late February, South Shore Line passengers have been riding a bus shuttle between the Carroll Avenue station in Michigan City and the Dune Park station in Porter.

Workers are building a new double-track line through Michigan City that will eliminate the street running on 11th and 10th streets.

Most of the street running will have been eliminated by this fall when trains will resume running through Michigan City.

South Shore Freights Detouring to Avoid Michigan City Street Construction Zone

March 17, 2022

Some freight trains of the Chicago South Shore & South Bend have been detouring via Canadian National to avoid the street running in Michigan City, Indiana, which is now a construction zone.

Railfan & Railroad magazine reported on its website that some South Shore freights have been detouring during daylight hours on a CN line between Chicago and Stillwell, Indiana, where it connects with the South Shore.

South Shore freights are allowed to use the street running during nighttime hours when construction is halted for the day.

The R&R report said detour moves have been made using South Shore’s own locomotives.

South Shore Line passengers are riding a bus bridge between Michigan City’s Carroll Avenue station and the Dune Park station.

South Shore commuter trains continue to operate between Chicago and Dune Park, and between Carroll Avenue and South Bend.

The bus bridge began Feb. 28 when a multimillion project got underway to double track the South Shore through Michigan City and end the street running on 11th and 10th streets that has existed since 1908.

The project involves construction of 26.6 miles of double track between Michigan City and Gary, Indiana, and the construction of a new station in downtown Michigan City on 11th Street.

Once completed, the station complex will be a four-story mixed use commercial and residential complex.

The previous South Shore station on 11th Street was razed on Jan. 31, but its terra cotta façade was saved and will be incorporated into the new facility.

The 11th Street station had opened in 1927 and closed in 1987. However, South Shore trains had continued to stop there until April 20, 2021, with passengers boarding in the middle of the street and the station being a bus shelter-type structure in a parking lot.

Glad I Got it When I Did

March 5, 2022

With the demise of the South Shore commuter trains on the Michigan City, Indiana, street running last weekend, I’m glad I have a few documented memories. These images were mde during a July 3, 1994, visit with Marty and Robert Surdyk. I know I have video footage also.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

South Shore Street Running 1969 Style

March 5, 2022

Running in the middle of 11th Street in Michigan City, Indiana, has been a hallmark of South Shore commuter train operations for decades.

But that has now ended. The last full day of revenue service commuter trains operating on 11th and 10th streets was Sunday, Feb. 27.

To be historically accurate, the last revenue run down those streets was Train 106 on Monday, Feb. 28 at 5:45 a.m. headed to Chicago. Two other trains preceded it in the pre-dawn hours.

But after No. 106 departed Michigan City’s Carroll Avenue station, buses took over ferrying passengers between there and the Dune Park station. Trains continue to run between South Bend and Carroll Avenue, and between Chicago and Dune Park.

Even before the final days of the street running, preparations were underway for the construction project that will transform the South Shore into a two-track operation between Michigan City and Gary, Indiana.

The trains will still run on 11th Street but parallel to the street not in it. Also, 11th Street will become one way.

The neighborhood will also change. Several houses have been purchased and are set to be razed to make room for the double track and the rebuilt street.

Chicago South Shore & South Bend freight trains will continue to operate in the street for now, but will do so at night. Also moving at night will be ferry non-revenue moves of South Shore passenger equipment from Dune Park to the shops near Carroll Avenue.

Back on March 30, 1969, though, no one could have imagined the end of street running in Michigan City.

Shown above is a South Shore train using equipment that has long since been replaced. Car 101 was built by Pullman in 1926. It was lengthened in the early 1940s and modernized by 1950.

These cars were painted orange and replaced by Nippon Sharyo equipment starting in 1982.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Last Day of Scheduled Street Running

February 27, 2022

Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, was the final day that scheduled South Shore Line commuter trains would be running down 11th Street in Michigan City, Indiana. The following day buses were to replace trains between the Carroll Avenue station in Michigan City and the Dune Park station. This arrangement will continue into the fall of 2022. In the meantime, workers will be laying double track and reconfiguring 11th Street. When the project is completed the street running will be gone.

Shown is an eastbound on Sunday afternoon. South Shore freight trains and South Shore Line ferry moves will continue to use these rails but only at night.

South Shore MC Depot Development Unveiled

February 25, 2022

An architect’s drawing shows the concept of the planned South Shore station in Michigan City

Details of an $80 million development in Michigan City, Indiana, that will serve as a South Shore Line station were announced this week.

The development will be created by an Indianapolis firm, Flaherty & Collins, and include a 12-story building with 208 luxury apartments, commercial space and a parking garage.

The complex will be built on the site of the South Shore’s now razed 11th Street station.

An architect’s rendering shows the new South Shore station will have a terra cotta façade that graced the original depot.

An earlier drawing of the proposed development had shown a smaller facility. What is planned now will have 10,000 feet of commercial space.

The project is expected to get underway in summer 2023. The South Shore station is projected to open by May 2024 and the apartments to be completed by spring 2025.

The South Shore and its parent agency, the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, are currently undertaking a project to double-track the South Shore between Michigan City and Gary, Indiana.

As part of that project, the original 11th Street station was demolished last month. It had been built in 1927.

Next week buses will replace trains between the Carroll Avenue station in Michigan City and the Dune Park station in Porter while workers reconfigure 11th Street to eliminate street running.

Michigan City Street Running End Draws Near

February 23, 2022

The near end of street running on 11th Street in Michigan City, Indiana, is set to unfold next week.

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District said that starting Feb. 28 buses would replace trains between South Shore Line stations at Carroll Avenue in Michigan City and Dune Park in Porter, Indiana.

South Shore freight service will continue operating in the street, but only at night. Also operating at night will be ferrying of South Shore equipment between Dune Park and Carrollton Avenue where the South Shore has its maintenance shop.

The bus-for-trains arrangement is expected to continue through fall 2022 and affects all scheduled trains seven days a week.

NICTD is undertaking a 25-mile $491 million double-tracking project between Michigan City and Gary, Indiana.

The project involves realigning tracks in Michigan City to eliminate street running. The double-tracking project is expected to be completed in 2024.

Officials have said double tracking will cut the running time between Chicago and Michigan City by 33 minutes.