The Double Track Northwest Indiana Project (the Project) includes construction of 26.6 miles of new second track between Gary and Michigan City, Indiana, along NICTD’s existing South Shore Line (SSL). Elements include approximately two miles of completely new right-of-way in Michigan City, platform reconfigurations at five stations, construction of 1,475 additional parking spaces, a new overhead catenary power system, and reconstruction of 22 at-grade crossings and 20 culverts. The Project is expected to improve safety along the entire alignment, especially in Michigan City where the new alignment will remove the street-running track, eliminate 13 grade crossings, and provide a safer environment for passengers boarding trains.

The Project scope includes improvements at five stations, which will include the following:

· Gary/Miller Station: new station, two new high-level six-car platforms, one 8-car storage track, and one four-car storage track for additional rush hour trains, and an additional 519 parking spaces;

· Portage/Ogden Dunes Station: one new high-level six-car platform on the south side of the tracks and an additional 327 parking spaces;

· Dune Park Station: one new low-level four-car platform on the north side of the tracks, realignment of the Calumet Trail under the State Route (SR) 49 bridge, and an additional 84 parking spaces;

· Beverly Shores Station: two new low-level four-car platforms; and

· 11th Street (Michigan City) Station: removal of embedded street-running track along 10th and 11th Streets; two new tracks south of the 10th Street ROW from Sheridan Avenue to the Amtrak crossing near Chicago Street; two new tracks along 11th Street; one high-level four-car platform; one high-level eight-car platform; a new station house with a parking structure with 437 additional spaces and a new surface parking lot with 108 additional spaces; and conversion of 11th Street to one-way automobile traffic. 

In the opening year (2024), service is planned to operate every 16 minutes during weekday peak periods and approximately every 75 minutes during weekday off-peak periods and evenings. In the horizon year (2040), service is planned to operate every 14 minutes during weekday peak periods and approximately every 70 minutes during weekday off-peak periods and evenings. In both the opening and horizon years, service is planned to operate every 135 minutes on weekends.

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 temporarily CLOSED effective Saturday, May 1, 2021 to help facilitate pre-construction third-party utility work and the Double Track construction. As part of the Double Track project, the 11th Street Station will be reconstructed to include a multi-story station/parking/retail building, new high-level platforms, and track improvements. The 11th Street Station will have a new temporary stop for busing at 10th Street and Franklin Street starting in March 2022.

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.

The second track will generally run parallel to the existing track.

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 included an evaluation of any potential disproportionate impacts to minority or low-income persons in the corridor. In addition, the project included a Title VI analysis for the siting of the facilities to ensure that the site-specific impacts are not disparately borne by those protected under Title VI. After consideration of mitigation measures to be implemented with the project, it was determined that there would not be disproportionately high and adverse effects on minority or low-income persons, and that the project would not exclude those protected by Title VI from the benefits of the new rail service.


The project is expected to be completed and in operation in late 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: https://www.doubletrack-nwi.com/construction/next-steps.

We also encourage you to sign up for the email list by clicking the link in the upper right-hand corner of the home page: https://www.doubletrack-nwi.com/subscribe/.


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.



The estimated total project cost as of December 2021 is $649 million. This is subject to change due to project refinements.

The Federal Transit Administration executed a Full Funding Grant Agreement in January 2021, awarding $172,964,241 to the project. It is anticipated that the FTA’s Capital Investment Grant New Starts Program will provide approximately 26% 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, American Rescue Plan, and local counties and 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


NICTD is required to follow the federal 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. Real estate acquisitions began in Spring 2020 and will continue into 2022. For real estate questions about specific properties, please leave a message at: (800) 382-5206. 

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 23 min / Express: 1 hour 12 min

Dune Park:

Peak: 1 hour 3 min / Express: 59 min

Portage/Ogden Dunes:

Peak: 56 min / Express: 51 min

Gary (Miller): 

Peak: 53 min / Express: 49 min 

South Bend:

1 hour 50 min until Airport Reroute is complete.

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



Environmental and historic property considerations were 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. Efforts were made during all design phases to minimize environmental impacts. For the Environmental Assessment and FONSI, please go to https://www.doubletrack-nwi.com/docs.

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 Park, State Park, wetlands, and any historic sites and districts.