The first public meeting of the study was held tonight. A decent turnout with the plans posted at the project website ( http://emichigancity.com/cityhall/depar ... -analysis/
) as well as some new information detailing how each of the possible routes would affect the city. The new information should be on the city in about a week or so.
Each of the plans seems to have its own drawbacks. One of them (#4) calls for a ground level bridge over Trail Creek with a moveable bridge (two of the other ground level Trail Creek plans suggested a 12ft bridge, which would require coast guard permission).
I see the elevated plan as a non-starter ... 45 ft above the boats but also 30-45 ft above city hall. It would provide grade separation for Amtrak but putting the station 30-45 ft in the air? (It needs to be that high as the station cannot be built on a grade - it must be level.)
The CSX plan to the south suggested moving the shops east of Michigan City. I suppose they could separate the car yard from the repair shops and use Carroll Ave for repair work and store the cars in a new car yard only shops. The CSX corridor would become a three track line with an interlocking west of Michigan Ave. The CSX Michigan Ave bridge would become a three track and a separate one track bridge would carry a new connection curving northeast to Shops for SouthShore Freight use. The new double track NICTD line would run through the Karwick Rd Nature Park (which would go away) and under the CSX line.
Most of the ground level north plans do not have a diamond with Amtrak. They have a flat interlocking where Amtrak trains theoretically could be diverted on to NICTD rails.
The presenters did note that they have held preliminary discussions with CSX, Amtrak, the Coast Guard, INDOT and other stakeholders about the various plans and all are willing to work with NICTD. It sounded like the Coast Guard was the least willing party ... which pretty much kills several of the alignments if a waiver isn't received.
I look forward to the more detailed presentation boards being posted. The 11th St corridor remains my favorite ... although the proposed station has crept further west.