Indiana Gov. Mike Pence joined representatives from Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration and Norfolk Southern on May 29 to kick off the $71.4-million Indiana Gateway project to improve rail lines between Porter, Ind., and the Illinois state line.
“When it comes to the three guiding principles of Indiana infrastructure, taking care of what we have, finishing what we started and planning for the future, the Indiana Gateway project is a triple threat that underscores the importance of a multimodal transportation system capable of efficiently moving both people and freight,” said Gov. Pence. “By reducing congestion where Lake Michigan funnels rail traffic east of Chicago and improving the flow of goods and people by rail, the Indiana Gateway has the potential to grow Northwest Indiana’s reputation as a manufacturing and distribution center and positively impact economic development in the region.”
The Indiana Gateway project will improve seven locations on Norfolk Southern’s Chicago line and one on the Amtrak Michigan line. Norfolk Southern will install universal crossovers at five locations and construct a third mainline track at three locations.
“Norfolk Southern prides itself on a tradition of partnering with other transportation providers, including Amtrak,” Jeff Harris, NS assistant vice president for operation planning, said. “The Indiana Gateway project provides important infrastructure improvements which, when completed, should allow for more efficient movement of passenger and freight trains through this vital rail corridor.”
Amtrak will build a new passing siding near the Porter Interlocking, where NS, Amtrak and two CSX lines intersect. The project will improve Amtrak passenger rail service for several routes that terminate in Michigan, Boston, New York and Washington, D.C.
“Fourteen daily Amtrak trains every day share these tracks with dozens of NS freight trains, all with time-sensitive customers,” said Michael Franke, chief, Amtrak state government contracts. “The Indiana Gateway Project will improve some of the busiest tracks in the country, adding capacity and increasing the fluidity of all trains.”
With design nearing completion, construction hits full gear this spring and is expected to be completed in 2016.