Tale of 2 Stations in Michigan City

The former Michigan Central station in Michigan City, Indiana, sits next to a route that sees eight Amtrak trains a day.

The former Michigan Central station in Michigan City, Indiana, sits next to a route that sees eight Amtrak trains a day.

This is the about the extent of the Amtrak station in Michigan City. At least the parking is free and plentiful.

This is about the extent of the Amtrak station in Michigan City. At least the parking is free and plentiful.

Amtrak stations across America are a mixed bag. In some places, the station was built decades ago by a railroad that doesn’t exist anymore.

In a few communities, the station is a modern multi-purpose facility created to serve trains, buses and local transit operations.

And in some unfortunate towns the station is a glorified shelter that offers little protection from inclement weather.

It must amaze some Amtrak passengers that they have to wait in a bus-stop shelter when a train station sits nearby.

Such is the case in Michigan City, Indiana, where the Amtrak stop is right in front of a former Michigan Central station.

The latter was until recently a restaurant. There is still a sign for it and I even found a website for it online.

Although eight Amtrak trains a day pass through Michigan City, only three of them stop there. Most people who want to travel to and from Chicago ride the South Shore Line, which offers a far higher level of service than does Amtrak.

When I was in Michigan City last spring, the ex-MC station was vacant. The depot appeared to be in good condition.

It would make a nice multi-purpose facility serving Amtrak and buses. Rail passengers could continue to use the existing platform.

Will that happen? Probably not, but it would be a viable option. In the meantime, Amtrak passengers will continue to wait outside in the snow and the rain, the heat and the cold and wonder why they can’t use the nearby train station.

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