Study to look at reviving rail passenger service to Chicago with stops in Valparaiso, Gary
ssenger rail service between Valparaiso and Chicago could be revived after a 25-year hiatus if a proposal generated in eastern Indiana keeps rolling.
Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry announced in the last week that a new study will look at the possibility of re-establishing rail passenger service between northwestern Ohio and Chicago. Officials from cities and towns along the route joined Henry for the announcement.
Valparaiso and Gary could be among the stops on that service.
A $350,000 study, called an alternatives analysis and public process, will begin early next year and could be completed by fall. Communities, including Valparaiso, Plymouth, Warsaw and Fort Wayne, and some companies along the route are paying for the work.
The last train on Amtrak's Calumet service, between Valparaiso and Chicago with stops in Gary and Hammond/Whiting, ran on May 3, 1991. It was one of Amtrak's last commuter services but was losing money.
Freight trains operated by the Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern Railroad run on the line between Chicago and northwestern Ohio. Northwest Indiana is served by Amtrak trains running between Chicago and cities in Michigan, with stops in Hammond and Michigan City, and between Indianapolis and Chicago, with stops in Rensselaer and Dyer.
BrianLM007 wrote:The biggest problem with this route, as doepack pointed out, is that there is little between Valpo and Fort Wayne. If South Bend was where Plymouth is, that might make a difference.
mtuandrew wrote:There is an abandoned PRR branch from Fort Wayne to the ex-NYC Water Level Route at Kendallville if transportation planners really want to connect that city to South Bend.
mtuandrew wrote:But why? Valpo is within commuting distance of Chicago, but Ft. Wayne isn't, whether via SOB or directly. FWA (the likely three-letter Amtrak code) deserves intercity rail service, and doesn't need to be part of the same line as South Bend.
mtuandrew wrote:I don't think Valpo will get electric railroading though - too high a cost for too little benefit to NICTD. They could roll the substation and transmission money into track upgrades and purchasing the railroad all the way out to Fort Wayne for future use. Let CFE pay NICTD for trackage, not CSX.
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