USA: Indiana Governor Eric J Holcomb has officially launched work to provide a double-track alignment along the whole 41 route-km section of the South Shore Line between Michigan City and Gary. This involves 29 km of double tracking, including a new 3 km segregated alignment to replace street running on 10th and 11th Streets in Michigan City.
The work also includes new overhead electrification equipment, level crossing removals and platform improvements at five stations.
The aim is to improve Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad freight services and enable an increase in South Shore Line passenger train frequencies, as well as a reduction in journey times, when it is completed in 2024. Passenger services on the inter-urban route to Chicago will operate every 16 min during the weekday peaks and every 75 min during weekday off-peak periods and evenings.
‘The double track project is transformative for northwest Indiana and the positive impacts will be felt across the state for generations to come’, Holcomb said after the groundbreaking ceremony on June 20.
The $650m project is being funded with $173m from the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grants programme and $24m from the American Rescue programme, more than $340m from the state, $80m from other local sources and $30m from Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District.
Holcomb added that a planned 13 km West Lake Corridor extension from Hammond to Dyer along the Indiana-Illinois state line is also a priority. Sherri Ziller, President & CEO of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority, said this would give locals ‘the chance to compete for higher paying jobs in Chicago’ and is expected to attract more than 11 000 new residents to the region.