The South Shore passenger line is tweaking its schedule again, this time to
increase on-time performance as well as to better distribute ridership,
crews and equipment.
The current schedule took effect June 1; the latest changes, which affect
nine trains, likely will become effective Sept. 5. The new schedule was
approved Friday by directors of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation
District, the public agency that owns and operates the South Bend-to-Chicago
This month a major media campaign is planned to inform riders of the
changes, said NICTD marketing director John Parsons.
Specifically, Train 114 and Train 14 will be consolidated and restore all
2009 stops Train 14 previously had, now arriving in Chicago at 10:28 a.m.
Train 20 will depart South Bend 10 minutes later, and Train 220 will depart
Gary Metro Center 10 minutes later. All are westbound trains.
Regarding eastbound trains, Train 211 added last May and Train 11 will be
consolidated and restore Train 11’s previous stopping pattern, also moving
Train 11’s departure to 4:02 p.m. making it an official rush-hour train.
Trains 115 and 215 will be flipped with 115 departing Chicago at 5:28 p.m.
and running non-stop from Van Buren Street to East Chicago. Train 215 will
depart Chicago at 5:32 p.m., making all stops except East Chicago.
Lastly, eastbound Train 107’s departure time will be changed from 10:10 a.m.
to 10:45 a.m.
Responding to a question from the audience, NICTD general manager Gerald
Hanas said the schedule change will not result in layoffs as of now. He
noted 7 to 8 percent of the workforce has been reduced through attrition,
and hiring is and will be lean; the railroad is looking at eliminating two
ticket-agent positions and making administrative changes.
There was good news for passengers in that a planned temporary weekend
service outage Aug. 7-9 has been cancelled. Normal weekend train service at
all stations will be available. However, additional weekend outages still
are planned between South Bend and Gary Metro Center for Aug. 28-30; Sept.
18-20; Oct. 2-4; Oct. 23-25; and Nov. 6-8.
Beverly Shores, Dune Park and Portage/Ogden Dunes stations in Porter County
are among those affected. Passengers are encouraged to drive to the East
Chicago station and board there during the outage weekends, which are needed
to change out wires during the ongoing $18 million modernization of the
1920s overhead catenary system that supplies electricity for train
Parsons said NICTD also is gearing up for this season’s Notre Dame home
football games kicking off against Purdue Sept. 4. This season is under
NICTD’s new weekend train schedule so he urged fans to be aware of the
changes, including a special westbound train departing South Bend exactly
two hours after the conclusion of the football game even if an overtime
Overall South Shore ridership at 1,823,086 through June is down 3.5 percent
total passengers over year-to-date 2009. Average weekday, peak and off-peak
ridership all slumped by 2.3 percent and average weekend/holiday ridership
slid by 10.9 percent.
Parsons said the exception to the statistics was the June 11 Blackhawks
celebration in downtown Chicago. South Shore trains typically carry about
13,900 riders on a Friday but 21,000 people rode to celebrate with their
Stanley Cup heroes. “Everybody was up-close and personal on those train,” he