railroaddumdum49 wrote:It seems some important people in the transportation world like NICTD's corridor for HSR. I wonder what impact a decision to use NICTD's corridor would have on the decision process for NICTD's track location in Michigan City.
EDIT: HSR will not be using the NICTD corridor to enter the city ... so their plans do not conflict with NICTD's.
Interesting concepts for "South of the Lake" ... Route 1 jumps NS to NICTD at Burns Harbor, Route 2 is the existing route (NS to Amtrak/MC), Route 3 jumps to CSX then to NICTD at Miller, Route 4 does the Route 3 CSX to NICTD connection then gets off of NICTD at Burns Harbor, Routes 5 and 6 don't touch NICTD but would reconnect the Amtrak line with the former MC route southeast of Porter Jct. Route 7 is the full NICTD route - CN-IC in Chicago then along NICTD from Kensington to Michigan City. Route 8 uses the same CN-IC + NICTD route to Burns Harbor then gets back on NS east of Burns Harbor. Route 9 and 10 basically restore the MC.
Routes 1, 3 and 7 are the ones where HSR would enter Michigan City on NICTD instead of Amtrak's current line. The maps for the project do not show Michigan City itself ... but the new HSR certainly would not follow 10th and 11th St. The connection would run along the NIPSCO yard to the current station ... which is a portion of the "northern" route options studied for the possible NICTD relocation.
If HSR chose a NICTD approach to Michigan City it would help support a northern alignment for NICTD but some of the biggest opposition for NICTD has been in the neighborhood along the former Nickle Plate line down to Shops and Trail Creek would need to be dealt with (either a high bridge that would create a wall across northern Michigan City due to the approaches and need for a level section on the approach for the station or the closure of Trail Creek). A moveable bridge for Amtrak's few trains a day (even if the Grand Rapids train is moved over to the Amtrak line) is easier to do than for NICTD's daily parade of trains.
The combined HSR/NICTD line would help solve the problem of coordinating the crossing with Amtrak (where Amtrak dispatchers often hold NICTD trains long before the Amtrak will pass and need to tear down the route for a NICTD train to pass). It will add other coordination problems (will it be NICTD dispatching on the section that Amtrak uses?).
While HSR on NICTD's line would be a nice way of getting double track from Miller / Burns Harbor to Michigan City (I doubt if the Kensington options would be chosen) the segment of NS between Burns Harbor and Porter to get on the existing Amtrak line isn't the bottleneck.
Upon further review of the project website for "South of the Lake" alignments, options 1, 3, 7 and 8 have been selected to fail.
"The implementation of a dedicated double track passenger service along this route would increase conflicts with existing freight service and restrict speeds to less than 110 mph. Further, this route has a high potential for impacts to the natural environment as it would require acquisition of right of way through a large portion of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. These factors are inconsistent with the Program’s Purpose and Need."
http://greatlakesrail.org/~grtlakes/ind ... -resources
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