The project would add a second track to the commuter railroad and upgrade five stations between Gary and Michigan City in an effort to speed the trip to Chicago. The estimated cost of the project, dubbed Double Track NWI, is $210 million.Those are improvements. Nominal running times, Chicago to Michigan City, in 1959 were eighty minutes, with the Evening Hot Shot getting there in 69 minutes. Miller was a flag stop, about an hour from Chicago on trains that were allowed to stop on signal (burn a rolled-up newspaper at night.)
According to estimates included in a new Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority strategic plan, almost half an hour would be sliced off the ride from Michigan City, with total trip time dropping to an hour and 11 minutes compared to the current hour and 39 minutes. The ride from Miller would be cut by 18 minutes, with total trip time dropping to 49 minutes from the current hour and seven minutes.
The operator has set up a web site for the double tracking project, which will include new right-of-way in Michigan City, and the end of the interurban tradition of boarding the train in the street.
“We’ve been gaining significant traction” in earning support from state officials, [transit district president Michael] Noland said. Keep praying to the Patron Saint of Traction.