23.8.16

REDISCOVERING THE INTERURBAN.

There's affordable housing, with less burdensome taxation and less corrupt governance, along the South Shore.  Yes, as in Mike Pence's Indiana.
When Beth Doherty found her future home in Indiana, it was by mistake.

Visiting property her sister-in-law purchased in 2002, she discovered Beverly Shores, Ind., where she and her husband moved in 2010 after living in Bucktown for two decades.

"You can see the skyline from the shore, and there's all these really cool houses," she said.

Doherty, a real estate broker, said many clients have no idea that such lakeside gems are available.
Regular readers have known about Beverly Shores for years.


Chicago Tribune photo by Keri Wiginton.

Sure enough, the train service is contributing to the real estate boom.
Puzzled by why Indiana isn't drawing more people who work in Chicago, local officials are touting newly revitalized downtowns and pitching a new train track to slim commutes.

"This area is the best-kept secret," said Michael Noland, CEO of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District.
Sometimes, it's as simple as installing a second track (the line through the Dunelands was originally laid out with two tracks in mind.)


Ogden Dunes, December 1972.
Note the pole lines, and span brackets in place for a second track.

Keep the following in mind the next time some politician rails about crumbling infrastructure.
With some millennials attracted to the area's beach access and low-key lifestyle, officials hope a new generation of residents will flow into town.

The linchpin in their plan to draw more people? Adding another track to a segment of the South Shore Line, which officials hope will slash the commute from Michigan City to Chicago to just one hour.

"The double tracking, I think, is going to be a huge game changer," said Leah Konrady, president of One Region, a group that promotes growth and quality of life in Northwest Indiana. She is 30, and says many friends in their 20s and 30s have moved to the area. She's monitoring the way other cities reach out to millennials, like Atlanta's New Voices campaign, with an advisory panel of millennials.

But making Chicago workplaces accessible is key. Right now, just one track runs between Gary and Michigan City. "We've got two-way traffic on a one-way street," Noland said.

Two tracks, Noland said, will allow trains to run more quickly — and with more options. He would love to see more rush-hour trains, for example.
There used to be more rush-hour trains, plus hourly trains for and from Michigan City, and half-hourly frequencies for and from Gary. Yes, on the single track with passing tracks equipped with spring switches east of Michigan City.


Click to enlarge.  In those days, the Morning and Evening Hot Shots, plus one additional South Bend Limited for Chicago in the morning and from Chicago in the evening, added cars westward or cut cars eastward to offer riders in the Duneland a one-seat, faster service to the Loop.  Today's Hot Shots pick up or set down only at Dune Park and East Chicago.  New Federal Railroad Administration safety procedures delay the adding and cutting of cars, which defeats the purpose of what we call electric multiple unit cars, after all, leading to a lot of empty cars for and from South Bend.
State officials and brokers — and young people eager for more peers — hope the train transports people ready to hear their pitch. "People really want that small-town atmosphere," Landers said. "You're an hour from a world-class city. And from our house, we're a block away from the lake. We can walk down to the beach, and we can see Chicago."
But with the South Shore Line again carrying bicycles, with the double tracking in place, keep on praying to Our Lady of the Interurbans, or perhaps to the Patron Saint of Traction, for more sensible rules on adding and cutting cars, and increased train frequencies in Duneland.


South Bend, August 13, 1966.

The article alludes to other commuter train services in the South Shore.  Yes, for a while Amtrak operated a successor to The Pennsylvania Railroad's Valparaiso trains, which well into Conrail's era featured classic P70 coaches for the riders.

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