The South Shore Line (SSL) proposes to construct a 25-mile second track for the South Shore Line between Gary and Michigan City. The SSL currently operates mostly on a single track that is shared with freight rail. Trains on the single track experience delays in multiple areas where they must stop at a station or on a siding and wait for other trains to pass. These delays also occur when crews perform routine track maintenance or if a train develops a mechanical issue en route. The continuous second track would allow trains and passengers to continue to their destination without stops and delays for passing trains, maintenance work or other track issues.

SSL rush hour trains are currently crowded. The SSL needs to be able to run more trains to accommodate all of its passengers. This problem will become even worse as ridership grows.

Travel time between Michigan City and Chicago on the SSL is longer than by car, making it a less desirable choice for travel. Double tracking will allow for quicker travel times.

Currently, the SSL from Gary to South Bend is mostly single track, except for one 6.5-mile section of double track and several passing sidings.The SSL and South Shore Freight Service share use of the same track. Without a continuous double track, SSL trains must wait for other passenger trains to pass before proceeding. Similarly, SSL trains heading in opposite directions must rely on the scheduled meet times and wait to proceed. If a delay occurs on the line, all of the trains behind it are affected.

There are several un-signalized, un-protected roadway crossings in Michigan City. The trains currently use embedded, street-running track in this area. Train speed in this section is limited to 15-25 mph, and safety is an issue for commuters, the freight service, pedestrians, cyclists, and automobiles.

Benefits of the project include:

  • Quicker travel times
  • Increased service frequency
  • Improved reliability
  • Less need for temporary busing to get around planned maintenance
  • Enhanced safety
  • Opportunity for private investment and economic development  resulting from faster and more frequent train service.

At Miller Station in Gary, the South Shore Line (SSL) would realign the existing track and construct a second track, a new station building, two new high-level platforms, and two storage tracks. The storage tracks will enable our exclusive Gary to Chicago service to depart from Miller. A key element of the double tracking project, is INDOT's relocation of US 12 to merge with US 20 east of Lake St. The City of Gary is planning an improved station building, transit-oriented development (TOD) around the station, and expanded parking, some of which will serve the SSL station.

At the Portage/Ogden Dunes Station, the SSL would construct a new high-level platform and related track improvements.

At the Dune Park Station, the SSL would construct a second low-level boarding platform (adjacent to the existing high-level platform) and related track improvements.

The Beverly Shores Station would be improved with a second low-level platform.

At 11th Street in Michigan City, the SSL would construct two new high-level platforms in addition to the track improvements. The SSL is collaborating extensively with Michigan City regarding a proposed station building and surrounding improvement. Michigan City is planning for TOD and expanded parking, some of which will serve the SSL station. 

Construction. The SSL received a Full Funding Grant Agreement from the Federal Transit Administration in January 2021. The SSL issued bids for Construction Contract 1, 2, and 3 on January 7, 2021. Contracts 3 and 4 will soon be released. This is a Design-Bid-Build project. The FTA will continue to provide oversight throughout the construction process.


The Michigan City 11th Street Station and parking lots will be CLOSED for an extended period of time effective Saturday, May 1, 2021. The 11th Street Station closure will be in effect to help facilitate pre-construction third-party utility work and the Double Track construction. As part of Double Track, the 11th Street Station will be reconstructed to include a multi-story station/parking/retail building, new high-level platforms, and track improvements. The closure is expected to last approximately two-and-a-half years, until the end of Double Track construction.  

As an alternative to 11th Street, the Michigan City Carroll Avenue Station will remain open and in service throughout the Double Track project. Further, Michigan City Transit bus services will continue to serve the Carroll Avenue Station as regularly scheduled. Please visit https://www.emichigancity.com/906/Routes for local bus routes and stop times.  

Preliminary plans show the second track generally running parallel to the existing track. The exact alignment will be refined during final design. Alternatives have been developed during the environmental review process and a preferred alternative has been selected and refined for preliminary design.

The FTA’s process for Capital Investment Grant Projects is a structured process with three phases: 

  1. Project Development. The FTA approved NICTD's request to enter into the project development process in 2016. The project development process included an environmental review that included completing environmental studies, developing and reviewing alternatives, and identifying a locally preferred alternative. The locally preferred alternative was documented in the Environmental Assessment, which was made available for public review and comment in September 2017. After reviewing public comments and identifying measures to mitigation impacts, the FTA issued a Finding of No Significant Impact in November 2018.  The SSL will request approval from the FTA to enter into the Engineering phase. At the end of the project development phase, NICTD will request approval from the FTA to enter into the Engineering phase in late June 2019.

  2. Engineering. Project design will be completed with enough detail to allow the FTA to evaluate, rate, and approve the designs. If the FTA approves the project as designed and provides a favorable ratings decision, it will commit the funding and the SSL will request a Full Funding Grant Agreement. The timeline is dependent on federal approvals. 

  3. Construction. Following a signed Full Funding Grant Agreement, the SSL will advertise the project for bid construction. This will be a Design-Bid-Build project. The FTA will continue to provide oversight throughout the construction process. 


As a recipient of federal funding (e.g., federal fuel tax funds), the Project must comply with several federal laws and regulations before it can be implemented, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in programs or activities which receive federal financial assistance. NICTD, as operator of the SSL, is required to have an FTA-approved Title VI Program in place to receive federal funding.

Capital funds to NICTD to expand commuter rail service require that NICTD provide service equitably along the corridor to “ensure that the level and quality of public transportation service is provided in a nondiscriminatory manner” (FTA Circular 4702.1B).

The Environmental Assessment includes an evaluation of any potential disproportionate impacts to minority or low-income persons in the corridor, and show that the project would not exclude those protected by Title VI from the benefits of the new rail service. In addition, the project must include a Title VI analysis for the siting of the operations and maintenance facilities to ensure that the site-specific impacts are not disparately borne by those protected under Title VI.


The project is expected to be completed and in operation by September 2023 using the without contingency schedule. Using the with contingency schedule, operations would begin in mid-2024.

Getting Involved

The South Shore Line (SSL) hosted three public workshops in October 2016 and two public hearings in October 2017 for the purpose of informing the public and collecting comments. Anyone can visit the Contact Us page on this website at any time to comment, submit questions, or join the mailing list.

Comments received before or during the formal comment periods informed decision-making related to the milestones.

Comments submitted before and after formal comment periods were/will be reviewed by the South Shore Line (SSL) and the project team and will help provide an understanding of public and stakeholder sentiment regarding the project.

The South Shore Line (SSL) relies heavily on email and the project website to communicate with those who have shown interest in the project. The best way to stay informed about construction is to check the construction page on this website. We encourage you to sign up for the email list by clicking the link in the upper right-hand corner of the home page. 

The South Shore Line (SSL) staff is available to meet with your organization or community group to discuss this project. Send us an email at: DoubleTrackNWI@nictd.com

Although the formal comment periods have closed, the public and agencies are encouraged to comment on the Project. Submit a comment by:

Email: DoubleTrackNWI@nictd.com

Complete a comment form

Mail in your comments:

South Shore Line

Attn: Double Track NWI

33 East U.S. Highway 12

Chesterton, IN 46304

Leave a message at the project hotline:  (219) 850-4457

Comments submitted after the formal comment periods are reviewed by the SSL and the Project team and help provide an understanding of public and stakeholder ideas and concerns. The project has reached final design, but comments are still welcome.



In June 2019, NICTD submitted a request for a project rating and a request to enter the Engineering phase to the Federal Transit Administration. FTA sent formal approval for Double Track to enter the Engineering phase of the project, and provided a positive project Rating (Medium-High) on February 11, 2020.

It is anticipated that the FTA’s New Starts program will provide 35 percent of the Project’s capital cost. The non-New Starts costs will be covered by a combination of funding sources, including the State of Indiana, Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority, and local communities. 

For more information on the FTA’s New Starts program and process, visit: https://www.transit.dot.gov/funding/grant-programs/capital-investments/about-program

In June 2019, NICTD submitted a request for a project rating and a request to enter the Engineering phase to the Federal Transit Administration. NICTD expects to hear from the FTA in early 2020. Then modify paragraph two to say “It is anticipated that FTA’s New Starts Program will cover 35% of the Project’s capital cost.

It is anticipated that the FTA’s New Starts program will provide up to 50 percent of the Project’s capital cost. The non-New Starts costs will be covered by a combination of funding sources, including the State of Indiana, Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority, and local communities. 

FTA’s New Starts Program will cover 35% of the Project’s capital cost through the Capital Investment Grant New Starts Program.

The non-New Starts costs will be covered by a combination of funding sources, including the State of Indiana, Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority, and local communities. 

For more information on the FTA’s New Starts program and process, visit: https://www.transit.dot.gov/funding/grant-programs/capital-investments/about-program.    

As part of the FTA Grant Process, the South Shore Line is preparing a financial plan to evaluate different funding strategies and identify if changes to fare structures are needed.

Property Acquisition

Following scoping, the project study identified and evaluated alternative alignment concepts. As part of this process, the need to acquire additional property has been determined. Wherever possible, the project has been designed to stay within the existing railroad or roadway right-of-way; however, some property acquisitions will occur especially in Michigan City and Miller section of Gary. All property acquisition will follow the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, as amended, which is a law passed by Congress to promote uniformity and fairness when a local transit agency must acquire property.

The property acquisition process began in Spring 2020 and will continue through mid-2021.

Each property to be acquired would undergo an appraisal and a review appraisal. Based on the results, an offer of purchase would be provided reflecting the fair market value of the property.

For more information on Acquisition and Relocation, visit: General Acquisition and Relocation Information

In order to construct, operate, and maintain the proposed Project, it will be necessary for the South Shore Line (SSL) NICTD to purchase private property.

The Project design has not yet been finalized; therefore, property needs could change as the design develops, particularly as the SSL seeks to minimize property impacts. Federal and state regulations and laws govern the acquisition of private property for public use and define when acquisition would be required.

If a property purchase is required, the acquisition process would generally be as follows:

•                The SSL will contact the real property owner or owner’s representative to explain the acquisition process, including the right to accompany the appraiser during inspection of the property, and would provide the owner with a written notice of NICTD’s intent to acquire the property.

•                The SSL will provide the owner with a written offer of the approved estimate of just compensation for the real property to be acquired and a summary statement of the basis for the offer.

•                The SSL will give the property owner an opportunity to consider the offer for at least 30 days.

•                The SSL will conduct negotiations without any attempt to coerce the property owner into reaching an agreement.

•                The SSL will provide the property owner or tenant with at least 90 days’ written notice to vacate the property before NICTD takes possession.

If negotiations with property owners are not successful, the SSL may acquire the property through eminent domain. If eminent domain is necessary, the SSL would follow the procedures set forth under state laws including Indiana Eminent Domain (Indiana Code § 32-24) and Relocation Assistance (Indiana Code § 8-23-17).

Potential Property Acquisitions as of March 9, 2018 are shown at: https://www.doubletrack-nwi.com/docs/real-estate

*subject to change as designs are further developed and finalized

For real estate questions about specific properties, please leave a message at:  (219) 841-9974.

Property values are affected by many factors including a variety of market conditions. Research has shown that major transit investments such as commuter rail generally yield positive effects on property values. There is potential for an increase in property values in the areas surrounding proposed commuter rail stations, as commuter rail access can increase the convenience and desirability of nearby residential, commercial, and office properties. Commuter rail transit can also contribute to existing market forces that can increase the potential for TOD or redevelopment. Development and redevelopment are managed by the local jurisdictions in the Project Area and are driven predominantly by regional and local economic conditions and land uses as defined in locally adopted comprehensive plans and zoning laws. Transit projects, including commuter rail lines, can advance the timing and increase the intensity of development, especially in areas near proposed stations, as allowed by local comprehensive plans. The direct impacts of a rail project on property values are difficult to assess conclusively because there are so many other factors that also affect property values. Continuing population growth and a strengthening of the local economy within the Project Area would also contribute to redevelopment and increased property values.

Studies on transit investments and property values include:

"Impacts of Rail Transit on Property Values"

Roderick B. Diaz Booze | Allen & Hamilton Inc. Mclean, VA

"Effects of Light and Commuter Rail Transit on Land Prices: Experiences in San Diego County"

Roberto Cervero

"The Effect of Rail Transit on Property Values: A Summary of Studies"

Parsons Brinckerhoff

Estimated Travel Times


Michigan City:  1 hour 41 min

Dune Park: 1 hour 21 min

Portage/Ogden Dunes: 1 hour 16 min

Gary (Miller): 1 hour 9 min


Michigan City:

Peak: 1 hour 15 min / Express: 67 min

Dune Park:

Peak: 61 min / Express: 52 min

Portage/Ogden Dunes:

Peak: 55 min / Express: 47 min

Gary (Miller): 

Peak: 50 min / Express: 43 min 

South Bend:

1 hour 45 min until Aiport Reroute is complete (then will be approx. 90min)


Please note: Exact times will be refined as future operational timetables are further developed. 



Environmental considerations are an important part of the development and evaluation of the alternatives. Environmental data were collected and analyzed with regard to wetlands, water quality, endangered species, parklands, historic resources, and hazardous material sites. Field surveys were conducted to determine the locations of these resources, and the information will be used to inform the design process. Efforts were and will continue to be made during design to minimize environmental impacts.

The South Shore Line (SSL) has been and will continue to coordinate with appropriate federal, state and local agencies to review and mitigate any potential impacts to existing resources such as the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, wetlands, and any historic sites and districts.