A street running South Shore Line train passes a church in Michigan City, Indiana.

(Drew Jacksich from San Jose, CA, The Republic of California, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)



Not to be confused with the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad.

The South Shore Line (reporting mark NICD) is an electrically powered interurban commuter rail line operated by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) between Millennium Station in downtown Chicago and the South Bend International Airport in South Bend, Indiana, United States. The name refers to both the physical line and the service operated over that route. The line was built in 1901–1908 by predecessors of the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad, which continues to operate freight service. Passenger operation was assumed by the NICTD in 1989. The South Shore Line is one of the last surviving interurban trains in the United States. In 2022, the system had a ridership of 1,406,400, or about 5,300 per weekday as of the third quarter of 2023.


Route map of the South Shore Line.

(Wikimedia | © OpenStreetMap)



Departing South Bend Airport, the South Shore Line heads south alongside Bendix Drive, then west along Westmoor Street, before connecting with the tracks that ran to its former terminus. Between that point and Hudson Lake, Indiana, the South Shore Line runs parallel to Norfolk Southern's Chicago Line, also used by Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited, on the north side of the tracks. Just before Hudson Lake, the line crosses from St. Joseph County into LaPorte County and enters the Central Time Zone.

From Hudson Lake, the South Shore continues straight west to Michigan City. In Michigan City, the track runs down the middle of 11th street from Michigan Boulevard to Tennessee Street, where it crosses over to Tenth Street, and has an at-grade diamond with Amtrak's Michigan Services. The track then runs down Tenth Street to Sheridan Avenue on the west side of Michigan City. Leaving Michigan City, the track travels through Indiana Dunes State Park, crosses over the Chicago Line and runs parallel to it, this time on the south side, past Long Lake. At Gary, Indiana, the route heads west to service the Gary Airport, at times running parallel to the Indiana Toll Road, as far as Hammond, Indiana. Just west of the Hammond station, the route crosses into Illinois and Chicago city limits, at which point the track curves northwest, through the Hegewisch neighborhood and, after crossing the Bishop Ford Freeway and the Calumet River, converges with the Metra Electric line south of Kensington/115th Street station. The South Shore Line then runs over the Metra Electric from Kensington/115th Street the rest of the way to Millennium Station.

The line is quadruple tracked along the section shared with the Metra Electric line from Millennium Station to Kensington/115th Street, double-tracked from Kensington/115th Street to east of Gary Metro Center. From there it is single-tracked with passing sidings to South Bend Airport, save for a 6.5-mile (10.5 km) stretch of double track around Ogden Dunes and the yard at Michigan City. On January 7, 2021, an agreement was announced between the Federal Transit Administration and the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District to double-track an additional 17 miles (27 km) between Gary and Michigan City at an estimated total cost of $491 million, including improvements to grade crossings and upgrades to five stations.



The public Monday-Friday timetable shows 22 eastbound trains operating; 20 of those originate at Millennium Station, and two at Carroll Avenue station. Of the eastbound trains, five terminate at Adam Benjamin Metro Center in Gary, ten at Carroll Avenue station in Michigan City, and seven at South Bend Airport.

There are 21 westbound departures, with 19 trains terminating at Millennium Station, and two at Carroll Avenue. Seven trains originate at South Bend Airport, and the rest originate at Carroll Avenue, Dune Park, or Gary Metro Center.


A Chicago, Lake Shore & South Bend limited train near the Indiana Dunes in the 1920s.

(See page for author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)



Private operation

Main article: Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad
The South Shore Line was constructed between 1901 and 1908 by the Chicago and Indiana Air Line Railway (reorganized as the Chicago, Lake Shore and South Bend Railway (CLS&SB) in 1904). Revenue service between Michigan City and South Bend began on July 1, 1908. The CLS&SB leased the Kensington and Eastern Railroad on April 4, 1909, giving it access to Chicago. That year the full line to Kensington on the Illinois Central was completed, and beginning on June 2, 1912, the electric cars were coupled to IC steam locomotives and run to downtown Chicago.

The Chicago, Lake Shore and South Bend entered bankruptcy in 1925 and was bought by Samuel Insull's Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad (CSS&SB). The line continued to handle both freight and passengers. Under Insull, the CSS&SB embarked on a major rehabilitation program. This included new ballast and ties, 100-pound (45 kg) rail in place of 70-pound (32 kg) rail, brush clearance, and an overhaul of the line's block signals. In 1949, the company acquired three Little Joe electric locomotives for freight service. These locomotives had originally been constructed for the Soviet Union, but changing attitudes due to the Cold War prevented them from being delivered. Although the exact same type as the Milwaukee Joes, the South Shore bought them before the Milwaukee did. These locomotives continued in freight service on the CSS&SB until 1983. No. 803, is preserved in operating condition at the Illinois Railway Museum.

The power system was changed from 6600 volts AC to 1500 volts DC on July 28, 1926, allowing trains to operate directly to the Illinois Central Railroad's Randolph Street Terminal (now Millennium Station) without an engine change. Trains began running to Randolph Street on August 29. That same year, the original line between East Chicago and Indiana Harbor was abandoned.

The Chicago South Shore and South Bend turned a profit during World War II due to the industrial nature of Northern Indiana. However, highway competition and suburban growth led to ridership declines. By the 1950s all interurban lines were seeing a decline in rail travel as automobile use increased. On September 16, 1956, a street running section in East Chicago was removed with the building of a new alignment alongside the Indiana Toll Road. A truncation to west of downtown South Bend removed street trackage in that city from July 1, 1970.

The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway acquired the CSS&SB on January 3, 1967 and continued the operation of passenger services. The Chicago South Shore and South Bend was one of six railroads with long-distance passenger services to decline joining Amtrak in 1971 and in 1976, they asked the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to abandon passenger service. The ICC gave the state of Indiana a chance to reply and subsequently, the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) was formed in 1977 to subsidize service.


A Pullman Company electric interurban unit heading west toward Michigan City in 1980. (Drew Jacksich from San Jose, CA, The Republic of California, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

Southbound NICTD South Shore train, led by car No. 109, seen entering the 55th–56th–57th Street station in Hyde Park (Chicago). (Robert J. McConnell (The Port of Authority at en.wikipedia), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Public operation

In the late 1980s, the Chicago South Shore and South Bend went bankrupt and on December 29, 1989, passenger service was assumed by NICTD. In December 1990, the track was sold to NICTD and freight service was taken over by the new Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad, a subsidiary of short line operator Anacostia & Pacific. On November 21, 1992, the line's South Bend terminus moved from the Amtrak station to the airport. On July 5, 1994, NICTD closed the Ambridge, Kemil Road, Willard Avenue, LaLumiere, Rolling Prairie, and New Carlisle flag stops. A seventh station, Dune Acres, closed around the same time once parking was expanded at nearby Dune Park.

The railroad began a 3-year project in 2009 to replace all catenary on its line between Michigan City and Gary, some of which was nearly 90 years old. The project cost $18 million and caused service disruptions on weekends while new wires were strung.

The Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE), replaced a bridge on the South Shore Line across 130th Street, Torrence Avenue, and Norfolk Southern tracks in the Hegewisch neighborhood of Chicago as a part of a four-year project lasting from 2011 to 2015. The 2,350 ton bridge would be put in place in August 2012.

In 2015 NICTD began an express service between South Bend and Chicago. Targeted at business travelers, the train makes just two intermediate stops: Dune Park and East Chicago. The total scheduled travel time is 1 hour 55 minutes, more than thirty minutes faster than existing services.

In July 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, NICTD implemented "mask optional cars" for riders choosing not to wear masks, as Indiana did not have a statewide mask mandate. This has received controversial reception, as it does not help slow down the spread of the coronavirus disease, and the "mask optional" car is also the only car with bike racks. On November 14, 2020, the "mask optional cars" were discontinued, requiring all passengers to wear a mask.


South Shore 29 in a classic street running scene at Michigan City, IN, August 3, 2008.

(Nate Beal, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)


Rolling stock


The South Shore Line operates with a fleet of 82 rail cars built between 1982 and 2009 by Nippon Sharyo. The fleet consists of 58 single-level self-propelled cars, 10 single-level unpowered trailers, and 14 bilevel self-propelled cars. The single level fleet's design shares commonalities with MARC's locomotive-hauled MARC II fleet, which were also built by Nippon Sharyo. An additional 26 cars are planned to be acquired, replacing those to be transferred to West Lake Corridor services.

Numbers Model Built Builder
1–48 Single-level electric multiple unit 1982–83, 1992 Nippon Sharyo
201–210 Trailer 1992 Nippon Sharyo
101–110 Single-level electric multiple unit 2001 Nippon Sharyo
01–314 Highliner II 2009 Nippon Sharyo

South Shore Line Rolling Stock Overview

In service: 1982–present
Manufacturer: Nippon Sharyo
Constructed: 1982–1983, 1992, 2001
Number built: 68
Formation: Married-pair
Fleet numbers: 1–48, 201–210, 101–110
Capacity: 93
Operators: CSS&SB, NICTD
Lines served: South Shore Line
Car body construction: stainless steel
Car length: 85 ft (25.91 m)
Width: 10 ft 6 in (3.20 m)
Height: 15 ft 11 in (4.85 m)
Wheel diameter: 36 in (914 mm)
Wheelbase: 8 ft 2+1⁄2 in (2.502 m)
Maximum speed: 79 mph (127 km/h)
Weight: 118,000 lb (54,000 kg)
Traction system: IGBT-VVVF (Toshiba)
Traction motors: 3-phase AC induction motor (Toshiba)
HVAC: Electric heating, Air conditioning
Electric system: Overhead line, 1,500 V DC
Current collector: Pantograph
UIC classification: Bo’Bo’+Bo’Bo’
AAR wheel arrangement: B-B+B-B
Trucks: ND-312
Coupling system: Tomlinson
Track gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge


A bi-level unit in service in 2009. (Franklin Campbell from Chicago, Illinois, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)


A bi-level unit at Millennium Station in 2017. (にび三郎, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)


A CLS&SB wood-bodied interurban car at a siding. (See page for author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


CSS&SB No. 102, built by Pullman in 1926, street-running in South Bend in 1962. (Lawrence and David Barera, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)


CSS&SB No. 31, built by Standard Steel Car in 1929, at Randolph Street in 1968. (David Wilson from Oak Park, Illinois, USA, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

A South Shore Line Pullman electric train in Sheridan, Indiana in 1966. (David Wilson, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons, cropped)


Pullman and the Standard Steel Car Company delivered electric multiple units to the CSS&SB between 1926 and 1929. Many were lengthened in the 1940s and 1950s.

Numbers Model Built Builder Notes
1–11 62-seat coach 1908 Niles Two cars scrapped prior to 1923; the remainder scrapped in 1929
12–15 62-seat coach 1908 Niles Built as trailers. Rebuilt in 1915 with motors. Baggage compartments added in 1925. Scrapped in summer of 1929.
60–61 48-seat suburban car 1908 Kuhlman 60 wrecked prior to 1918. 61 scrapped in 1927
62–63 48-seat suburban car 1903 Brill Originally Chicago and Indiana Air Line Railway cars 1 and 2
64 48-seat suburban car 1918 Kuhlman Built as a replacement for car 60
70–71 54-seat coach 1908 Niles 71 rebuilt as CSS&SB 401 in 1927. 70 used as a yard office and scrapped in 1935.
72–74 46-seat combine 1908 Niles Rebuilt with larger baggage compartments. 72 rebuilt to line car 1101 in 1927. 73 Rebuilt to work motor 1126 in 1927. 74 used as trainmen's room at South Bend and scrapped in 1941.
75–77 54-seat coach 1908 Niles Scrapped in summer of 1929
101–110 52-seat coach 1908 Kuhlman Two cars rebuilt into CSS&SB 222 and 224 in 1927. The remainder were scrapped in 1929.
111–112 60-seat open vestibule car TBD TBD Purchased in 1917. Formerly AT&SF cars.
113–114 56-seat open vestibule car TBD TBD Purchased in 1917. Formerly AT&SF cars.
1–10 56-seat coach smoker 1926 Pullman
11–15 80-seat coach 1926 Pullman Lengthened in 1942–46
16–25 80-seat coach 1927 Pullman Lengthened in 1945–47
26–29 80-seat coach 1929 Standard Steel Lengthened in 1948
30–37; 39 48-seat coach smoker 1929 Standard Steel
38 56-seat coach 1929 Standard Steel
40 48-seat coach smoker 1938 Standard Steel Rebuilt from trailer no. 213
100–109 64–68 seat coach–baggage 1926 Pullman Lengthened in 1943–44 and modernized in 1949–50
110–111 64-seat coach–baggage 1951 Standard Steel Rebuilt from coaches nos. 10 and 29
201–206 80-seat coach trailer 1927 Pullman Lengthened in 1946–48
207–210 50-seat coach smoker trailer 1927 Pullman
211–212 50-seat coach smoker trailer 1929 Pullman
351–352 16-seat parlor–observation–buffet trailer 1927 Originally 20 fixed chairs; rebuilt with 16 rotating chairs in 1929; rebuilt as coaches in 1942
353–354 56-seat coach trailer 1938–39 Standard Steel Rebuilt from parlors built in 1929

South Shore train at 11th street stop in Michigan City, Indiana.

(No machine-readable author provided. LHOON assumed (based on copyright claims).,

CC BY-SA 2.5 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5>, via Wikimedia Commons)


Fare policies

The South Shore Line uses a zone-based fare system, with prices based on the distance traveled and stations' proximity to Millennium Station. There are a total of eleven zones (1–11). Tickets may be purchased at stations, online, and through the South Shore mobile app. Ticket options include one-way, 10-ride, 25-ride, and monthly passes. One-way tickets may also be purchased on trains, but will incur a $1.00 penalty fee if a ticket agent was present at the departure station. Children aged 13 years and under, seniors aged 65 and over, passengers with disabilities, students, active-duty military personnel, and those holding RTA Reduced Fare Permits are eligible for reduced fares. NICTD accepts cash aboard trains, cash and checks at ticket offices, and credit cards online and at Millennium Station's ticket office. Most stations have ticket machines which only accept credit cards. For travel to Hegewisch station (zone 3), fares are set by Metra.


Expansions and realignments under construction

Michigan City realignment

Since 2005, there has been an ongoing debate pertaining to plans to relocate trackage off the streets of Michigan City. In July 2009, NICTD announced its intention to relocate the Michigan City track south of its current location in order to smooth out the curves, cut down the number of grade crossings, increase speed and reduce maintenance costs. The plan also calls for the replacement of both current stations with a single new station located a block west of the current 11th Street boarding location (between Franklin and Washington streets) with a modern, high-level platform and parking lot. The plan would require a demolition of residential and retail buildings currently located on the south side of 11th Street.

The relocation effort faced a setback in March 2010 when NICTD announced that it was short necessary funds to complete the preliminary engineering study. Unless the funding was found, the relocation would have been postponed indefinitely since, without the engineering study, NICTD would not be able to get state and federal funds necessary to complete the relocation. NICTD and the city continued to work on obtaining the funds needed. In 2011 NICTD accepted bids for a $1 million study, expected to take 18 months. The study was completed in October 2013. The preferred alternative identified by the study preserves an alignment similar to the current route but relocates the tracks alongside the street. It proposes replacing the two existing stations with a new station near the center of Michigan City. The realignment would be done as a part of the double track project from Gary to Michigan City.

Street running ended on February 27, 2022. Currently, buses are to replace trains within this section until the opening of the new alignment. Service between Dune Park and Carroll Avenue resumed on October 25, 2023.

West Lake Corridor
NICTD planned to apply for federal funding for a preliminary engineering study and environmental survey of a Hammond-to-Lowell leg in 2009. As of 2008, that leg had a projected price tag of $551 million. As of 2019, the cost has increased to $665 million. NICTD was awarded funding in the spring of 2020 and the line broke ground in October 2020. The project is estimated to open to revenue service in 2025.

The new line will run through Munster to Dyer, with a possible later extension to St. John, and trains will run as shuttles between Hammond and Dyer during off-peak hours. The alignment of the new branch leaves the old CSS&SB main immediately before the current Hammond station. Hence, the NICTD has decided to build a new station in Hammond to serve both branches.


Proposed expansions and realignments

To see proposed expansions and realignments, and proposed stations, click HERE.


The South Shore Line and the Metra system.

(User:S3raph,User:RedWordSmith,User:A435(m), CC BY 2.5 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5>, via Wikimedia Commons)


Station listing

The South Shore Line and the Metra system
The line operates over the tracks of the Metra Electric Line from Millennium Station to Kensington-115th Street. Metra owns the track in this territory. Per a long-standing non-compete clause with Metra, outbound South Shore Line trains to Indiana only stop at Metra Electric stations to receive passengers; inbound trains to Millennium Station only stop at Metra Electric stations to discharge passengers.

To see a list of stations, click HERE.


Tail end of a South Shore train.

(Chris Light at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)



Locale: Chicago, Illinois to South Bend, Indiana
Termini: Millennium Station / South Bend Airport
Stations: 19
Website: mysouthshoreline.com
Type: Commuter rail, Interurban
Services: 1
Operator: Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District
Daily ridership: 5,300 (weekdays, Q3 2023)
Ridership: 1,406,400 (2022)
Opened: 1903
Line length: 90 miles (140 km)
Track gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Electrification: Overhead line, 1,500 V DC