Just to note ... at the location of the fire above, NICTD installed one of the new CTC signals that will go in to use later this year.
As far as the 2010 Construction Projects, a good wrap-up was in the December board meeting minutes, released earlier this week.
Mr. Hanas said NICTD has completed Year 2 of Phase 2, of the catenary replacement project. There were 19.3 track miles completed in 2010; In Year 3  NICTD plans to complete 10.4 track miles. A number of outages east of Dune Park are necessary for 2011. The ridership loss will not be as great because the start of the outage will move from Gary to Dune Park. This is a very successful project in terms of identifying the outages and construction work. Future weekend outages are tentatively scheduled for April 2-4; April 23-25; May 14-16; June 4-6; June 18-20; July 16-18; July 30-August 1; August 6-8; August 13-15; and August 27-29. When completed NICTD will have new catenary from the Roeske Avenue bridge in Michigan City to MP 75.4 immediately east of Kensington, totaling 68.9 miles.
Centralized Traffic Control [CTC]
Mr. Hanas talked about the stimulus funds associated with the Centralized Traffic Control [CTC] Phase 3 [Carroll Avenue to Grandview]. NICTD expects this $60 million project to be complete in the fall of 2011. This project will provide remote, power operated and heated switches at Birchim and Olive sidings; and replace aerial signal conductor (major cause of red signals) with buried fiber optics. Entrances to Michigan City will also be automated.
Kensington Interlocking Project
Mr. Hanas said that the Kensington project has finalized signal design and switch heater re-design; most of the signal and track materials are purchased and delivered; the aerial cable on the east side has been relocated; the wiring and shop testing of signal houses is complete; the crossovers and turnouts have been installed; CN tracks 3 and 4 have been shifted; 40% of the rail relay and tie renewal is completed; and 26 concrete foundations for catenary and signal structures have been installed. Mr. Hanas continued that NICTD has procured local control and Maintainer Test Panel and balance of the track material; the signal house cutovers and testing; the installation of crossovers and diamonds; has set structures and hung new catenary wire; installed switch heater transformers; and plans to place this new route into service by June, 2011.
Tracks in Michigan City Street – TIGER Grant
Mr. Hanas said this study is estimated to take 18 months is needed to evaluate various alignment options for moving the NICTD tracks off Michigan City streets and building a new passenger station there. An $800,000.00 TIGER II federal stimulus grant will pay for most of the study with NICTD and Michigan City funding the local match. A consultant could be hired by March. Mr. Hanas said federal officials are exerting some pressure to show progress. The TIGER II Grant has been awarded to only 33 projects in the country. Three routes and sub-alternatives will be discussed in great detail. The work scope will be drafted. It has been delivered to the Michigan City Mayor’s office. Mr. Yagelski and Ms. Huston have reviewed and worked on the draft.
On the catenary ... all the way to Roeske Ave. This includes the street running section. NICTD approved their local match and Michigan City should soon. NICTD is currently taking bids for the study project and expects to award a contract in March.
I've been watching the CTC upgrade, as time permits - I didn't realize that the project was ending at Grandview, although beyond that is the run to the airport with limited conflicts needing CTC. (Will TWC be needed to get from Grandview to the Airport?) Also the Airport's plan to move the South Shore to the other end of the terminal and run a new track down to the current line will bypass the Bendix route ... why upgrade what will be discarded? I expect Grandview to be the last CTC signal.
Can anyone say what "entrances to Michigan City will be automated" means? Is that simply the use of the last westbound signal (installed east of the CSX bridge approaching Karwick Rd) as the "do not pass Karwick Rd" signal Instead of using a TWC special instruction or mandatory directive (similar to CP 33.0 Eastbound)?