West Lake Corridor
West Lake Corridor logo.png
Overview
StatusUnder construction
LocaleLake County, Indiana, United States
TerminiHammond Gateway Station
Munster/Dyer Main Street
Service
TypeCommuter rail
SystemSouth Shore Line
Operator(s)NICTD
Rolling stockNippon Sharyo NICTD EMUs
History
Planned openingFebruary 2025[1]
Technical
Line length9 mi (14 km)
Number of tracks1 + passing sidings
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)
ElectrificationOverhead catenary, 1500 V DC

The West Lake Corridor is an under-construction commuter rail line in Lake County, Indiana. New South Shore Line services will connect Chicago, Illinois and the cities of Hammond and Munster in Indiana.

History

New Start Studies

In mid-2000s, the population and commercial growth in Lake and Porter counties in Northwest Indiana was outstripping projections.[2] The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District determined that if the growth continued, it would be necessary to add another branch to the South Shore Line commuter rail.[2] In 2006, planning proceeded for an extension to Valparaiso, Indiana, but the project was deemed unqualified for federal funding,[failed verification] and the NICTD was unable to confidently attain trackage rights on the Canadian National Railway line to Valparaiso.[3] By 2008 a new study indicated that the Valparaiso to Munster branch would not generate sufficient ridership and was dropped from the plan.[4]

In 2017, the NICTD began demolition of houses between Hanover and Brunswick streets to begin building a new station, where trains would interchange with the main line.[5]

Capital Investment Grant Program

In March 2019, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) gave the project a favorable rating meaning the project could qualify for funding from the Capital Investment Grant Program. NICTD anticipated to be awarded funding the following spring with construction beginning later in the year.[6] That October, the FTA approved the project moving it into its engineering phase.[7]

Construction

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on October 28, 2020, which included the signing of a full funding grant between the FTA and NICTD.[8][9]

Alignment

The line will parallel the northeastern segment of the Monon Trail, seen here crossing the Little Calumet River.
The line will parallel the northeastern segment of the Monon Trail, seen here crossing the Little Calumet River.

Traveling southbound, the new branch leaves the existing main line immediately before the current Hammond station.[10] From Hammond south, the line follows the route of Monon Trail until it reaches Maynard Junction. The Monon Trail will be retained, but follow a new alignment.[10] At Maynard Junction, the Corridor will have a flyover over the EJ&E/CSX tracks, and then will follow new tracks built immediately west of the CSX right-of-way.

Due to financial constraints, the initial segment will not extend to St. John or Lowell, but provisions will be made for future extension.[11]

Planned stations

Service patterns

The new line will directly serve Millennium Station at peak hours with shuttle service between Munster/Dyer and Hammond Gateway for connections to main line services at other times.[12][13]

See also

References

  1. ^ Mills, Wes (27 October 2020). "Ceremony to Break Ground on West Lake Corridor Project". Grow INdiana Media Ventures. Inside Indiana Business. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  2. ^ a b Benman, Keith (June 23, 2006). "Study: South Shore extension would add jobs, income". nwi.com. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  3. ^ WJOB (Calumet)/AP http://www.wjobcalpress.com/1editorialbody.lasso?-token.folder=2006-09-10&-token.story=148557.112113&-token.subpub=. ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  4. ^ Benman, Keith (December 17, 2008). "Study: Valpo-to-Munster SS line would add few riders". nwi.com. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  5. ^ Gonzalez, Michael. "Train plans unsettle Hammond neighborhood". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  6. ^ "FTA gives favorable rating to proposed NICTD commuter-rail extension". Progressive Railroading. March 26, 2019. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  7. ^ Keiper, Jennifer (October 8, 2019). "FTA Gives South Shore Line Expansion A Thumbs Up". WBBM-AM. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  8. ^ Brown, Alex (October 28, 2020). "Work to Begin on West Lake Corridor Project". Inside INdiana Business With Gerry Dick. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  9. ^ Steele, Andrew (28 October 2020). "WATCH NOW: 8-mile rail line from Hammond to Dyer is on way". nwitimes.com. The Times of Northwest Indiana. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  10. ^ a b "Frequently Asked Questions". West Lake Corridor. 2017. Retrieved 2017-07-16.
  11. ^ Simón, Marisol R.; Noland, Michael; Federal Transit Administration; USDoT; US Army Corps of Engineers (2 December 2016). West Lake Corridor Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Chapter 2: Alternatives Considered) (PDF) (Report). NICTD. p. 5. Retrieved 16 July 2017. The alignments by alternative were evaluated from cost, feasibility, and freight railroad acceptability perspectives. The analysis concluded that the alignment between Dyer and St. John should be dropped from further consideration primarily because the estimated capital cost would have exceeded the funding that has been identified for the project. It was understood that an extension to St. John or Lowell could be considered in the future.
  12. ^ Simón, Marisol R.; Noland, Michael; Federal Transit Administration; USDoT; US Army Corps of Engineers (2 December 2016). West Lake Corridor Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Chapter 2: Alternatives Considered) (PDF) (Report). NICTD. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  13. ^ "Chapter 2 Alternatives Considered" (PDF). NICTD. Retrieved 18 July 2020.