Ridership on the South Shore commuter railroad is flat from last year and freight railroads also are seeing mixed results.
Overall ridership on the South Shore is down about 0.3 percent so far this year as compared to last, with weekday peak ridership seeing the largest drop while about 2.5 percent more people have rode the trains on weekends and holidays this year.
The NATO summit held in May and the shortening of the Taste of Chicago festival also affected ridership.
"Those are two factors we know impacted it, but we don't know if the economy continues to have an effect," said John Parsons, Northern Indiana Transportation District planning and marketing director.
Total freight carloads originated on U.S. Class I railroads are down 3 percent so far this year as compared to last, while intermodal traffic is up 3.4 percent, according to Progressive Railroading.
In a hopeful sign, railroads transported 10.9 percent more carloads of lumber and wood products in the first half of 2012 as compared to the same period last year, a fact Progressive Railroading attributes to a recovering housing market.