South Shore Line to add more double track to improve Chicago-Indiana commuter rail service

The work extending about 17 miles between Gary and Michigan City is aimed at cutting commuting time and improving reliability

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The work on the South Shore Line will add a second set of tracks extending about 17 miles along what’s now a single-track rail between Gary and Michigan City, Indiana.

Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District/YouTube

A federal agency has finalized a deal to provide $173 million for improving service on the South Shore Line that links Millennium Park in downtown Chicago and northern Indiana by adding a second track between Gary and Michigan City to remove bottlenecks and speed commutes.

The Federal Transit Administration’s agreement with the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District will allow construction to begin on adding a second set of tracks extending about 17 miles along what’s now a single-track rail between the two cities and to make other improvements.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said the project, which will cost a total of $491 million, will speed passenger rail service between the cities, make grade crossings safer and upgrade five stations.

Holcomb called the project “a game-changer for northwest Indiana.”

The state of Indiana already had committed nearly $200 million for the work, and local municipalities and other government agencies have agreed to spend nearly $120 million.

The agreement between the federal agency and operator of the South Shore line comes about three months after a similar agreement was finalized for $355 million in federal funding for a project to extend the South Shore Line from Hammond south to Dyer. The total cost of that 7.8-mile extension and work to add four new stations is $945 million.

The added service is scheduled to begin in 2024.

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