South Shore Line Completes Double Track Project (UPDATED 5/15)

Written by Jennifer McLawhorn, Managing Editor
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Courtesy of South Shore Line

GARY, Ind. – South Shore Line has completed its $650 million double track project.

The Double Track NWI project sought to add a second rail line between Gary and Michigan City. 18 miles of new track was added, according to HDR. The work on this project included “signal, power, communications, bridge and track infrastructure, and improvements at five stations.” In addition, 22 at-grade road crossings were closed, and 10 crossings were relocated and equipped with automatic warning devices. Four new bridges also eliminated previous crossings.

President of South Shore Line Michael Noland said, “The final completion of Double Track allows for the addition of 14 weekday trains, revised times, reduced travel times and new, limited-stop express service. . . In addition to new weekday trains, portions of weekend train times have also been modified to reflect improved travel times.”

In a release from South Shore Line, the new service includes increased service out of the new Miller Station and new 11th St. Station, increased options for the morning and afternoon rush hours, high-level platform ADA access at 11th St., Portage/Ogden Dunes, and Miller train stations, and an expansion of Bikes on Trains to include all trains.

Director of Capital Investment and Implementation/Double Track NWI Project Manager Nicole Barker said, “We sincerely appreciate passengers’ patience and understanding throughout the construction, temporary busing, and schedule revisions required in order to reach substantial completion of the Double Track Project.”

As part of HDR’s involvement, the firm reports it supported an environmental assessment that resulted in a Finding of No Significant Impact. It also completed this work by coordinating with the Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency, National Park Service, and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

“The South Shore Line provides a vital connection for travelers throughout Northwest Indiana to Chicago, and these improvements will make a real difference in people’s daily lives,” said Janice Reid, HDR project manager. “It’s been a privilege to assist NICTD on this critical project and so exciting to see it come to reality after years of work.”

“One hundred years later, this Double Track Project will continue to transform Northwest Indiana for generations to come,” Indiana Governor Holcomb said. “This game-changing project is yet another example of how the State of Indiana continues to make targeted investments that attract talent and commercial investment that in turn helps our communities take it to their next level.”

Congressman Frank Mrvan (Indiana First District) said “With this new commuter train, we’re opening doors to employment, education, and entrepreneurship. . . Imagine a single parent, a single mom that now will have access to the third largest economy in the world. And imagine my niece who just got a scholarship – who’s barely making it and graduated from Hammond Morton – the only way she can get to the Art Institute in Chicago is on public transportation and be able to get that scholarship. It’s that type of work and wealth that we are trying to create every day.”

Beginning May 14th, 14 more trains will be added to the weekday schedule, which can be found here. Passengers will be able to travel between Michigan City to Chicago in 67 minutes or from South Bend to Chicago in 1 hour, 49 minutes.

South Bend Mayor James Mueller said “Making the connection and the frequency of service between South Bend and Chicago along the whole line just connects the whole region to opportunities that haven’t been there in the past. . . We expect thousands of new jobs, hundreds of millions – if not billions – of dollars in private investment that will come for this.”

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