It has all come full circle

After three years, Double Track NWI is coming to a close. While most other interurban lines in the United States bit the dust decades ago, the South Shore Line has survived all these years, and now is getting a well-deserved upgrade. The most notable feature of this upgrade was the loss of the street-running track in Michigan City, but this also included double tracking the entire route from Gary to Michigan City that used to be mostly single-track and building several entirely new stations.

So, of course I took the train out to see for myself everything that happened. I already covered the work between Dune Park and Michigan City that wrapped up last fall, so let’s jump into the other segment of the project.

First, Miller. The station used to be a single-track low platform station with a sheltered but open-air waiting area. The second track was a connection to another line, not a passing track and was not electrified.

Platform at Miller, looking east
Old platform at Miller
Miller shelter from across the street
Old shelter at Miller

Now, the station has two tracks, high platforms, and an entirely new station building. The station building contains seating, ticket machines, restrooms, and a currently unoccupied space for a snack bar or coffee stand.

Outbound platform at Miller, looking east
One of the platforms
Miller station building
Station building exterior
Waiting room at Miller
Station building interior

Portage also saw an upgrade, though not quite as major. It used to be a single low-level platform to the north of the tracks with an adjacent parking lot. They kept everything that was there but also added a high-level platform to the south and a new parking lot to the south of the Dunes Highway (with a signaled pedestrian crossing).

Looking west at Portage/Ogden Dunes
Old station at Portage/Ogden Dunes
High-level platform at Portage/Ogden Dunes, looking east
New high-level platform
Secondary parking lot at Portage/Ogden Dunes
Secondary parking lot

So, overall a pretty sweet project. The South Shore Line in many ways is the last of its kind, and I’m glad to see it’s not only continuing to operate, but being upgrade so it can provide even better service. This will provide clean, fast, reliable, and comfortable transportation for the people of Northwest Indiana for generations to come.