Rail Project Underway In Northwest Indiana
May 30, 2014 — TheStatehouseFile.com
INDIANAPOLIS – State and federal officials kicked off a $71.4 million rail project Thursday that’s meant to improve train service between the town of Porter and the Illinois state line.
The Indiana Gateway project will improve seven locations on Norfolk Southern’s Chicago Line and one on the Amtrak Michigan Line. Norfolk Southern will install universal crossovers at five locations and construct a third mainline track at three locations.
“When it comes to the three guiding principles of Indiana infrastructure — taking care of what we have, finishing what we started, and planning for the future — the Indiana Gateway project is a triple threat that underscores the importance of a multi-modal transportation system capable of efficiently moving both people and freight,” Gov. Mike Pence said in a statement about the project.
He said the project – funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – will reduce congestion where Lake Michigan “funnels rail traffic east of Chicago and improving the flow of goods and people by rail.”
The project could bolster economic development in the region, Pence said.
Norfolk Southern officials said the improvements should allow for more efficient movement of passenger and freight trains through the area.
Amtrak will build a new passing siding near the Porter Interlocking, where Norfolk Southern, Amtrak and two CSX lines intersect. The project will improve Amtrak passenger rail service for several routes that terminate in Michigan, Boston, New York and Washington, D.C.
“Fourteen daily Amtrak trains every day share these tracks with dozens of Norfolk Southern freight trains, all with time-sensitive customers,” said Michael Franke, chief of Amtrak state government contracts. “The Indiana Gateway Project will improve some of the busiest tracks in the country, adding capacity and increasing the fluidity of all trains.”
The project’s design is near completion and construction begins this spring. Construction is expected to be completed in 2016.