Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: metraRI, JamesT4

  by railroaddumdum49
Ah..., the picture is becoming more clear. This explains the sudden change of opinion by many local leaders of Michigan City.
  by justalurker66
railroaddumdum49 wrote:Ah..., the picture is becoming more clear. This explains the sudden change of opinion by many local leaders of Michigan City.
I feel that the opponents are still holding a "we'll fix this later" attitude. As the process moves "forward" through the environmental impact studies the alternate plans will keep getting brought back into the process. The push against "what NICTD wants" is strong - even if what NICTD wants will help the town in the long run.

NICTD will eventually "win" ... but it won't be without constant complaints from people who didn't get their way.

That being said, NICTD is doing what they can to give the people of Michigan City what they want - up to the point of not doing anything at all or shutting down the railroad. NICTD is not going to do that. They have listened and have adjusted the plan as much as possible - but there are limits to NICTD's concessions. They have a busy railroad to keep running.

If you read the comments filed in the "South of the Lake" study you will see plenty of comments from Michigan City ... some are frustrated that SOTL planners do not seem to be working with NICTD planners. Others just don't understand. SOTL (and the entire project Chicago to Port Huron) is bigger than NICTD's plans ... and they are projects that can remain separate without conflicting with each other.
  by dinwitty
I don't think the SOTL has a direct impact on the South Shore (NICTD), its involved with Amtrak and passenger routes, the fact it might electrify is interesting. But they may want stronger talk with Michigan City, but the South Shore already runs good service for Michigan City. South Shore is only some technical steps away and some ROW design steps away to be High Speed (above 79 mph). Getting the MC downtown squared up gets High Speed in quicker than SOTL planning, it is a functioning service, RIGHT NOW.

One Waying 11th street and the double track is far the most efficient way to get the job done and not tear up lots of buildings.

I wonder about the winter salting of streets, perhaps a solution is to let the South Shore handle the snow clearing or something, there seems to be another new "Unsalt" thats a liquid sprayed on the street. Perhaps that stops some problems that way, then also, why not install heaters on the single track to melt snow the whole distance (pricey I know, but no salt any more) or borrow the 1/2 GG1 hacked for snow clearing with an onboard heater blower.
  by justalurker66
Installing heaters for the entire length of street running is basically reinstalling the tracks. If one is going to do that one might as well simply remove the asphalt, close most of the crossings and have a normal railroad with ballast that is closed to street traffic. Which is basically what NICTD is planning. Why pay for miles of heated track and replaced asphalt when it is cheaper to close the road?

Perhaps NICTD should clear the ROW, build a railroad there and if the City wants do route traffic down 10th and 11th St they can pay the difference between what it would cost for NICTD's railroad and what the City wants?

BTW: I believe the City has tried alternate ice clearing chemicals but the issue goes beyond the corrosive effect of the salt on the rails. Having the rails in asphalt traps water. Removing the asphalt allows that water to get away from the rails and drain through the ballast. Removing the asphalt is the cheapest permanent solution.
  by justalurker66
The final reports study, dated last October, has finally been posted to Michigan City's website:
Website: http://www.emichigancity.com/cityhall/d ... /index.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Study: http://www.emichigancity.com/cityhall/d ... -Final.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (6 MB)

An interesting summary of the choices with some decent diagrams and figures (from 2012). Cost is expressed in 2014 dollars.
(Which is appropriate for a 2013 report as it is money that they don't have.)
  by justalurker66
I have not seen any. Hopefully they are quietly working on the DEIS (draft environmental impact survey) but I do not recall seeing that work funded.
  by jpIllInoIs
RDA gets Grant for double track eis study
http://www.in.gov/rda/files/RDA_board_m ... _NICTD.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

South Shore Double Tracking Forges Ahead
with RDA Grant for Preliminary Work
NWI RDA Board of Directors approves $1.6 million grant to NICTD to
lay the groundwork for future expansion of the existing South Shore line.
The Board of the Directors of the Northwest Indiana
Regional Development Authority (RDA) today took another step toward expanding commuter
access to Chicago with a $1.6 million matching grant to the Northern Indiana Commuter
Transportation District (NICTD) to help fund $4 million in preliminary engineering and
environmental work for the South Shore double tracking project.
“Expanding capacity on the existing South Shore line is critical to boosting the economy and
creating new jobs here in Northwest Indiana,” said Bill Hanna, President and CEO of the RDA.
“Along with the West Lake Extension, double tracking will attract new residents, new businesses
and new development to the region and put us on a sustainable, long-term path to growth.”

The double tracking project would add a second full track to the existing South Shore line from
Gary to Michigan City. Currently, the South Shore line is only double tracked from Chicago to
Tennessee Street in Gary. After that, the South Shore has only a single track for both eastbound
and westbound trains. As a result, trains must regularly slow or stop on passing sidings to allow a
train travelling in the opposite direction to pass.

Double-tracking would greatly reduce commuting times to and from Chicago by allowing the
South Shore to increase the number and speed of trains it runs each day. This will elevate the
region above its suburban Illinois counterparts
in the competition for Transit-Oriented
Development, new businesses and new residents.

Not sure why they have to make it a competition with Illinois, maybe thats what sells in Indianapolis
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