All Aboard! South Shore Line double track complete

GARY, Ind. -- For the South Shore Line, two is better than one, as in, two tracks are better than one! The double track is complete, with Governor Holcomb and other elected officials celebrating the milestone with a ribbon-cutting before it starts running Tuesday.

Leaders, like South Shore Line President Mike Noland, boasted the project is on time and under budget, about $50 million below the $650 million budget.

Gov. Holcomb had the honor of cutting the ribbon at the Miller Station in Gary Monday morning, after taking the train in himself.

"I wanted to get a sense of what the commuter would feel as well," Holcomb said. "What they would see, what they could envision."

The milestone was a long time coming, leaders say, and sure to make a transformational impact on the region.

"I can even say 'Go Cubs,'" Holcomb said. "It's going to matter to the Cubs, it's going to have a positive impact from Chicago to South Bend."

"Now that we're double-tracked, we can run faster service out of South Bend," said Noland. "So we're going to do better out of South Bend, our best train's going to be an hour and 49 minutes."

Fourteen new train rides per day have been added to the schedule.

"We expect now, with a continuous train ride, way better service, more train frequency, less delay, that we're going to attract riders," Noland said.

The number of riders is about 50 percent of what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. That said, they were also making commuters get off the train and bus in active construction zones. Now, the work is finally over.

"We'll see, over the next six months, how we do," Noland said. "I'm expecting a significant uptick in ridership."

Commuters can expect shorter ride times.

"Our maximum authorized speed is 79, that's not changing," Noland said. "But we had a lot of places on the system where we were not running at maximum authorized speed. We had slow orders, but we have reduced a lot of those slow orders so that we can go faster within that 79-m.p.h. window."

The project also promises revitalization. Senator Todd Young (R-IN) said there's already been $800 million of economic development along the South Shore Line's corridors, saying these projects create thousands of new jobs.

"This is not puffery," he said. "This will yield material benefits for this generation and future generations."

"It's not a secret what's happening up here," Holcomb said. "The word is out, good things are happening. And that success attracts success. That investment attracts more investment."

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