Chesterton Tribune



South Shore bans esmokes as part of no smoking policy

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“Vaping” may be acceptable in some circles, but not on South Shore trains.

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation Distrct on Friday voted unanimously not to allow the use of battery-powered electronic cigarettes on trains. The e-smokes emit a vapor instead of the traditional smoke from tobacco.

NICTD general manager Gerald Hanas said nine commuter lines around the nation including Metra in Illinois ban the use of e-cigarettes. For the South Shore, he said they create an environment of uneasiness among passengers and he recommended including e-cigarettes in the railroad’s non-smoking policy to maintain order.

Lake County Council member Christine Cid supported the ban saying the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes are not known. Porter County Council member Sylvia Graham agreed saying, “This is a line that should remain firm.”

In other business, Hanas highlighted improvements nearing completion at the adjacent Dune Park passenger station, where the former veranda has been converted into a high-boarding platform that extends east of the station with warming shelters.

Hanas said dwell time at Dune Park when trains are being boarded has been shortened to 30 or 40 seconds because all train doors open.

Electronic heating elements have been incorporated in the platform for winter to deter snow accumulation so the use of salt can be reduced to avoid corrosion.

Being installed Friday were sections of a new sidewalk from the east parking lot to the station and the boarding platform. Light structures are installed along the walkway, and landscaping was planted.

The NICTD board also:

*  Accepted a negotiated $300,000 bid from Knorr, the sole source to perform a brake overhaul on 10 of the 1992 passenger cars.

*  Learned the new train bridge over Trail Creek east of the Michigan City shops is completed and in use; South Bend passengers were bused during construction.

*  Adopted a resolution supporting NICTD employees who are members of a military guard or reserve unit.

*  Heard a request that Dune Park have a payphone available to the public.

*  Heard marketing director John Parsons announce on Thanksgiving Thursday NICTD will operate a weekend/holiday schedule, and a weekday schedule for Black Friday the following day. An extra eastbound train will depart Millennium Station this Wednesday at 2 p.m. and Saturday at 4:25 p.m.

*  Parsons said more than 3,000 subscribers have signed up for new email and text alerts that notify them trains are running 10 minutes or more late.



Posted 11/25/2013




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