Region’s double track rail improvement project on pace for early 2024 completion

Double Track
Work was recently completed near US 12 and NICTD's tracks at LaPorte/Porter County Line Road. Railroad ties are shown being spiked near the intersection. (Photo provided by NICTD)

If construction progresses as it has since it started last summer, the double track project to improve passenger rail service in the Region should be completed by early 2024.

That was the projected date provide by state officials following a ceremonial ground breaking in Michigan City June 20 to mark the progress of the rail improvement initiative.

“The double track project is transformative for Northwest Indiana and the positive impacts will be felt across the state for generations to come,” said Gov. Eric Holcomb who was in Michigan City for the event. “This game changing project is another prime example of how Indiana is laser-focused on connecting people and businesses to our state’s exceptional quality of life, great communities, and pro-growth business environment.”

The double track project adds nearly 18 miles of new track over a 26-mile corridor along the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District’s existing South Shore Line between Gary and Michigan City and makes multiple improvements to the existing line.

The project also includes a two-track right-of-way along two miles in Michigan City. It also includes replacing the current street-running tracks on 10th and 11th Streets in Michigan City, a new overhead contact system, 22 at-grade crossings, 20 culverts, platform upgrades at five stations and more than 1,400 parking spaces.

Officials say the double track project will increase train frequency and reduce travel time on the South Shore Line. Once the project is complete, service is planned to operate every 16 minutes during weekday peak periods and approximately every 75 minutes during weekday off-peak periods and evenings.

Officials have said the double track project will improve safety along the entire alignment, especially in Michigan City, where the new alignment will remove the street-running tracks and provide a safer environment for passengers boarding trains.

Holcomb in Michigan City
Gov. Eric Holcomb meets with attendees at a ceremony in Michigan City. (Photo provided by the State of Indiana)

Passenger service on the enhanced South Shore Line between Gary and Michigan City is expected to started before the end of 2024, state officials said.

Work also is progressing on the West Lake Corridor project, which will add an eight-mile line extension from Hammond to Dyer. Construction began in fall 2020 and is expected to continue through 2025 with passenger service projected to launch by 2026.

Combined, the Double Track and West Lake Corridor projects are projected to attract approximately $2.7 billion in private investment to Northwest Indiana, and result in more than 6,000 new jobs and $5 billion in economic impact by 2048, officials project.

Author

  • Larry Avila

    Larry is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of experience working with daily newspapers and business-to-business publications around the Midwest. Avila is a Michigan native and a graduate of Central Michigan University.

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