• Commuter trains from Chicago to Gary and LaPorte

  • Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.
Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by Otto Vondrak
I collect timetables. My particular interest is the New York Central. I grew up in the New York City area, so I am always intrigued by what I consider to be unusual issues, such as the folder printed especially for the Chicago-Gary-LaPorte commuter trains. Four commuter NYC commuter lines served New York City at one time, and I think it's odd that the NYC only had one limited service at the other end of its system. But then I consider where New York was dominated by the NYC and the PRR for downtown commuter trains, Chicago was served by a number of railroads offering commuter service to every point on the compass. I also assume that most commuters from Gary opted for the faster and more frequent South Shore trains?

Here are the six issues of the Form 219 I have in my collection:


I would be interested in learning any details about this operation, particularly about the last runs. I'd also be interested in seeing any other examples.


  by NYC_Dave
In the 1950's there were a couple of trains running between Elkhart and Chicago with stops at Mishawaka, South Bend, LaPorte, Chesterton, et.al.
I suppose these could be considered commuter trains. And it seems like I read someplace that the Xplorer ran between Elkhart and Chicago for a short time.
  by shlustig

The service served 2 purposes: a limited commuter service into La Salle St. Stn., and service for the various shifts at the outlying steel mills.

The employee timetables (Western Div.) clearly reflect this, as some of the trains originated and terminated at the Coach Yard (Root St.) without serving La Salle St. Stn.
  by Otto Vondrak
Thanks for those details! So should I assume that lack of patronage brought the quick demise of these trains? Especially with so many other options out of Gary area?
  by russp
Further to your initial query, the last NYC Chicago area commuter train ran March 31, 1964. it was a Chicago-Elkhart train that sometimes showed up in the system public tt. The train was a victim of the massive slaughter of NYC passenger service in the early to mid 1960s. I have an April 1910 LS&MS public commuter tt that shows a much more extensive service than that operated later on (1930s) by the NYC. No doubt, the expressways and turnpikes that paralled the NYC in the Gary region hastened the decline of the Central's commuter trains, along with rising wages of steel workers that permitted them to by cars. During the early '60s, I rode the Century Harmon to Chicago on my way to/from college near Denver and recall seeing the commuter platforms in South Chicago.