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 neroden
dinwitty wrote:http://www.thenewsdispatch.com/articles ... 478581.txt

Channel 16 just had a news article but they generally touched on this article so the article is the better read, the alternate north routes do not go over the draw bridge, still make use of the NKP line.
Huh. The through-the-marina route would definitely demolish the fewest properties (I count five structures plus the marina parking lots), and would be intermodal with Amtrak. But there's that whole through-the-marina thing....
  by dinwitty
I like widening 11th street moving south buildings south as needed without demolishing buildings, run the main down the middle on its PROW.
  by justalurker66
dinwitty wrote:I like widening 11th street moving south buildings south as needed without demolishing buildings, run the main down the middle on its PROW.
Moving buildings where? Most are on lots where the next lot south is also occupied.

The only 11th St plan that would not involve demolishing buildings would be to use the entire road. Which means zero access to the buildings along 11th St from what is currently 11th St (unless you consider a sidewalk along the fenced ROW access). That might work, if residents are willing to give up the street.

As far as going north: Michigan City has other plans for the marina. Running a doubletrack railroad with freight trains through their new yuppie development is not part of the plans. Michigan City's choice seems to be who they are willing to annoy. A hundred property owners along 11th St or developers of the channel side property and those who use the marina. Somehow I believe the marina users will win.
  by justalurker66
City prepares to study South Shore routes
http://thenewsdispatch.com/articles/201 ... 656343.txt
MICHIGAN CITY — The Common Council held a workshop Monday on funding the local portion of a $1 million study to relocate the South Shore Line through Michigan City.

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District needs the city to contribute $100,000 in cash plus tens of thousands of dollars in in-kind services in order to win a highly competitive federal grant.

. . .

The workshop participants discussed a southern route near the freight tracks by Ames Field, tracks along the 10th- and 11th-Street corridor and a northern route across the top of the city.

One plan to upgrade the track along the 10th- and 11th-Street corridor would have required the purchase of more than 100 privately owned buildings and the closing of 17 to 34 at-grade crossings, according to a 2009 Common Council resolution.

In 2009, the northerly route would have cost more than $200 million and creating the 10th- and 11th-Street tracks, $65 million, according to NICTD officials quoted in agency board meeting minutes. The plans to relocate the South Shore Line near the CSX tracks would also cost more than $65 million.

More study needs to be done, Councilman Rich Murphy said.
  by orulz
So this thread fell off the face of the earth for a while.

The word is, NICTD/Michigan City got the $800,000 grant and the Request For Proposals from consultants for the realignment study went out about 2 weeks ago.
http://www.emichigancity.com/pdf/rfp-re ... 020111.pdf

The consultants are supposed to look at all the alternatives, identify issues, and come up with a recommendation.
  by justalurker66
Yep ... the $1 million study is expected to be awarded to a consultant at the end of March and take 18 months ... September 2012?

Hopefully by then more money will be available so they can actually buy property and build the project.
  by justalurker66
EJ&ESDM809 wrote:I'm willing to bet it is going to be many more years before work to realign the tracks actually begins.
With the study not being complete until September 2012 and NO MONEY to go forward with any actual construction I doubt the 2015 deadline will be met.

A best case scenario would be that the construction funds be granted on a provisional basis. But that is a blank check and I don't see NICTD getting any money until the cost is known. The cost won't be known until the route is chosen. The route won't be chosen until the study is complete. If NICTD can bank some money so they can be ready to buy whatever property is needed as soon as approval is granted that might speed up the process some.

The outcome of this study (in September 2012) will be a route. Unless NICTD works ahead and has provisional design plans for the route that wins there will be a further delay while that design work is done. Would it be financially responsible for NICTD to spend money on design plans for a route that may not be chosen?

So in September 2012 they get a green light ... would construction be able to begin in 2013? Only if funded. And only if they can get the property in time to begin construction. I expect there will be a few holdouts, perhaps even a lawsuit over the process or property values. If all the properties in the path are owned (or have ROW easements in place) by the end of 2013 I'll be surprised. September 2012 will be more of an approach signal than a clear.

How fast can two miles of urban railroad be completed (including razing buildings and building a new ROW)? If it were all cornfields it would be easy ... but clear out the buildings, wait for the utilities to be relocated then start building a ROW from scratch? That is not quick.

December 2015? They might make it ... but I'm not counting on it. At least they will be far enough along that they should be able to get a waiver from the FRA by showing progress.
  by orulz
One note for clarification:(you probably know this, but...) if there are holdouts, there is eminent domain. If these holdouts file suit over property value, that actually won't hold up the eminent domain proceedings or the construction of the project. Once the public benefit has been established, and the decision made to condemn property, it is a very well-worn and legally sound path to walk.

If the former property owners feel that they have been unjustly compensated, they mus then file an "inverse condemnation" lawsuit. These lawsuits can then either be settled, or else the true value of just compensation can be determined in court.
  by dinwitty
one issue that may give relief to the project is the ATC rules being relaxed a bit, as many lines have problems working towards the rules absolute rules which I always felt was extremely narrowminded and not adjustable to issues invilved. Its one reason this re-alignment is sparked. I like the downtown idea still because of the need for downtown development business etc and tie that to the railroad. Thats what interurbans did in their time. Pushing it north or south takes it away. In other ways I feel for the properties and maybe some historical buildings getting razed and would rather see some structures moved for preservation purposes. Technically widening 11th street keeping the track in the middle on its own ROW splitting the street into one way sections. To me that creates the least encroachment on the project. Recall there used to be a 2 track siding in front of the downtown station.
  by justalurker66
dinwitty wrote:Technically widening 11th street keeping the track in the middle on its own ROW splitting the street into one way sections. To me that creates the least encroachment on the project. Recall there used to be a 2 track siding in front of the downtown station.
Putting the ROW down the middle would require more space than putting the new track off to one side. Look at Gary as an example. A ROW wide enough for two tracks and maintenance equipment plus the buildings for crossing protection and signals. It was a three track ROW at one point but room is still needed for the signal shacks (which were placed in the middle). Then add a buffer to each side of the track and fencing. Then add two lanes to each side of the track. (It would need to be "two" lanes to allow for breakdowns ... possibly more width to allow for parking. That is a lot of real estate.

Putting the ROW on one side of the street gets rid of some of that width. If a larger buffer between the rails and houses is desired then the signal shacks could be placed on the south side and the rails in the center and north side of the ROW. The road could be two lanes plus parking on the north side instead of close to four lanes before considering a parking lane. (Breakdowns could be passed by going in to opposing traffic instead of needing to go back to the block before or adding a lane.)

Have you seen pictures of the two track at Michigan City? There was a video on Youtube of it being taken out that I can't find again (possibly taken down). There was not a lot of room next to the trains. Certainly not enough to put in a fence and a traffic lane without taking out the buildings on at least one side of the track.
  by justalurker66
From the NICTD News Page at NICTD.COM ...


NICTD and the City of Michigan City are jointly studying options for realigning the South Shore railroad through Michigan City. To access information about the study please click here. You will be redirected to the City of Michigan City's website.

All sorts of documents there ... the first public open house will be September 8th at 5pm.
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