Posts Tagged ‘South Shore Line’

South Shore Extension Gets Favorable FTA Rating

March 28, 2019

A proposed extension of the South Shore commuter system in Northwest Indiana has received a favorable rating from the Federal Transit Administration.

The West Lake Corridor project would create a new rail line from Hammond on the existing Chicago-South Bend, Indiana, mainline to Dyer, Indiana.

Between Hammond and Dyer the West Lake Corridor would use a former Monon Railroad right of way that was once used by Amtrak’s Floridian.

The FTA awarded the West Lake Corridor project a rating of “medium-high,” which qualifies to advance to receive funding under the federal Capital Investment Grant Program.

The next step is for the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District to begin real estate acquisition and utility relocation.

The project’s capital costs will need to be updated from the current estimate of $665 million,

NICTD said that figure includes construction of four stations, parking lots, a combined maintenance and storage facility, and a focus on sustainability and wetland mitigation.

NICTD expects a construction contract to be awarded in spring 2020 with construction starting later that year.

NICTD, Metra OK New Contract

March 4, 2019

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District has reached an agreement with Chicago commuter agency Metra for continued use of its tracks.

South Shore passenger trains between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana, use Metra tracks between Chicago and Kensington, Illinois.

NICTD, which oversees the South Shore, signed a contract with Metra that extends through 2024.

The pact includes a 2.75 percent annual fee increase, which will rise from the current $7.3 million to $8.8 million by the end of the contract.

The South Shore will be given the right to expand operations beyond its current 26 trains per day.

That is unlikely to happen until the South Shore completes a double-track project in Indiana between Gary and Michigan City.

The South Shore is also eyeing development of a new line to Dyer, Indiana.

The new contract covers funding for an additional track into the Van Buren and Millennium stations in Chicago.

NICTD will pay the $30 million of that project, which is expected to cost $49 million.

CN Derailment Delays Resumption of Amtrak Service

February 2, 2019

A derailment of a Canadian National freight train in suburban Chicago on Wednesday afternoon set back the resumption of Amtrak service on the Chicago-Carbondale-New Orleans line that had been canceled due to severe winter weather this week.

The Thursday night departure of the southbound City of New Orleans was canceled as was the Friday morning departure of the southbound Saluki.

The City that was to arrive in Chicago on Friday morning was terminated at Homewood, Illinois, and passengers were taken by bus to Chicago Union Station.

The derailment also knocked out Metra Electric and South Shore Line service because the derailing freight train knocked down catenary supports on the routes used by those railroads.

It was the third consecutive day that Metra Electric and South Shore Line trains had been canceled due to arctic air that sent temperatures tumbling to nearly minus 20 degrees.

The severe cold interrupted overhead electric service to both commuter carriers.

The first southbound Amtrak train that was to depart on Friday was the Carbondale-bound Illini in late afternoon.

Due to the lack of equipment in New Orleans, northbound No. 58 will not originate in the Crescent City today (Feb. 2).

The CN derailment occurred near Harvey, Illinois.

Amtrak Cancels Most Midwest Service Due to Cold

January 30, 2019

Amtrak has canceled all trains that are scheduled to originate in Chicago today (Jan. 30) due to subzero temperatures in the Midwest.

This also includes trains that originate elsewhere today en route to Chicago.

Trains that originated on or before Jan. 29 will complete their trip to Chicago. Most of those are long-distance trains.

Amtrak said that all corridor trains will be canceled on Thursday, Jan. 31. Most long-distance trains originating in Chicago are also expected to be canceled on Thursday.

Also being canceled today and Thursday will be long-distance trains bound for Chicago that would be scheduled to arrive on Thursday and Friday.

One long-distance train, the Chicago to Seattle/Portland Empire Builder was canceled on Tuesday due to the severe cold.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told Trains magazine that decision was made in consultation with host railroad BNSF, which handles the train for most of its route.

The only Amtrak trains that will originate in the Midwest today and Thursday will be the two Missouri River Runner round-trips between Kansas City and St. Louis.

Amtrak typically operates 55 trains daily to and from Chicago hub.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said passengers traveling on the affected trains will be able to change their travel to another date without an additional charge.

In a related development, intercity commuter carrier The South Shore Line suspended all service on Wednesday.

The carrier, which operates between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana, said a test train encountered “significant overnight wire problems.”

The South Shore said it will evaluate weather and operating conditions and determine later today if it will operate on Thursday.

The severe cold also prompted Chicago commuter railroad Metra to operate today on a modified schedule.

Downtown South Bend South Share Station to be Studied

December 22, 2018

Engineering work is expected to start on a downtown station site for the South Shore commuter rail line in South Bend, Indiana.

The city’s redevelopment commission recently approved a request to start preliminary engineering work.

The former South Bend Union Station is the city’s preferred station location, but four other possible sites have been identified.

The engineering work will study whether the station should be above ground or at grade. It also will examine the stability of existing bridges that might be used, and other issues.

The South Shore now terminates at the South Bend International Airport, located three miles northwest of town.

South Shore trains reach the airport via a circuitous route that consumes 10 minutes of travel time during its final two minutes.

Officials have not ruled out the South Shore serving both the airport and downtown if a more direct route to the airport can be created.

Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited serve South Shore through the Bendix station, which the South Shore once used.

South Bend Union Station once served trains of the New York Central and Grand Trunk Western. It closed as a train station in May 1971.

South Shore Looking to Buy New Cars

December 5, 2018

The South Shore Line is looking for new equipment that it hopes to use on a proposed 9-mile expansion of service in Indiana between Hammond and Dyer.

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District has authorized contact with potential builders of 26 rail cars.

The new cars would replace 32 cars the South Shore has identified as likely to be used on the 9-mile extension south of Hammond.

The cars would be capable of operating on the electrified lines used by the South Shore between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana.

NICTD has set aside $8 million per year for bonds to pay for the equipment purchase.

South Shore Says it Will Meet PTC Deadline

October 25, 2016

The South Shore commuter line expects to complete the installation of positive train control within two years.

South Shore logoPassenger railroads are facing a Dec. 31, 2018, deadline to have PTC installed and operational. The Federal Railroad Administration has said that deadline won’t be pushed back again as it was last year.

“Our intention is to meet that deadline,” said South Shore President Michael Noland.

Noland said the South Shore, which operates between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana, has borrowed $100 million to pay for PTC and will be paying off that debt for the next 20 years.

About $80 million of that bond issue is for a contract with Parsons Transportation Group, which also will be installing PTC on Metra trains.

The South Shore said it will begin installing PTC equipment in its 72 power cars in an addition that it is building at its Michigan City shops.

Wolverine Service Train Makes Unusual Detour

January 6, 2016

A track project on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern led to a detour of a Wolverine Service train over the South Shore Line in Northwestern Indiana on Tuesday.

No. 352 for Detroit (Pontiac) left Chicago Union Station on the route used by Amtrak’s Chicago-Carbondale-New Orleans trains, traveling on the former Illinois Central as far as Kensington interlocking.

There No. 352 switched to the South Shore Line, which it used to rejoin the NS Chicago Line near Porter, Indiana, at milepost 487.

The unusual routing added an hour-and-a-half of delay to No. 352.