Work nears start on new commuter rail route

By The Associated Press

HAMMOND — Construction could start this fall on an eight-mile (12.9-kilometer) extension of northwestern Indiana's South Shore commuter rail line from Hammond into other Lake County communities.

South Shore officials anticipate receiving a potential $355 million federal grant by the end of September that would complete funding for the estimated $933 project to extend the rail line south from Hammond into Munster and Dyer, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

The extension will be the first new route for the rail line that now runs between downtown Chicago and South Bend.

Construction work could start in October, with train service expected to start on the new route in early 2025, South Shore Line President Mike Noland told the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission on Wednesday.

The project’s plans include two new boarding stations in Hammond, one in Munster and another on the Munster-Dyer town line. Trains will join the existing South Shore line in Hammond, with a trip from the southern-most stop to downtown Chicago expected to take 47 minutes.

South Shore officials are also planning a separate $420 million project that would add a second set of tracks between Gary and Michigan City to improve travel times. Construction on that project is expected to start in July 2021 and be completed in September 2023.

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