Saturday, December 6, 2008

Positive Train Control May Push South Shore Line Off the Streets

For railfans, street running in Michigan City, IN, is one of the most appealing features of the NICTD's South Shore Line between Chicago and South Bend. However, positive train control (PTC), which must be in place by 2015 on all U.S. passenger rail lines may force the South Shore Line to find another route through Michigan City, according to a story in the Michigan City News-Dispatch, and the cost won't be cheap. Congress mandated PTC shortly after the head-on collision in Chatsworth, CA, between a Metrolink commuter train and a Union Pacific freight train in which 25 people were killed.

The South Shore's problem is that PTC will not work on track paved over the asphalt. At a public forum in Michigan City, NICTD officials said they would prefer to continue on the current route down 11th Street, but it would cost around $65 million to upgrade the line. Relocated to nearby CSX tracks would cost around $70 million and an elevated 8,000-foot segment to use an Amtrak route would cost $200 million. NICTD has to have a plan in place by 2010.

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