South Shore weekend trains will begin running on a new schedule Sunday, with a morning express added from South Bend to Chicago and an additional late-night train running from Chicago to South Bend.
The new weekend/holiday schedule will mean the end of the railroad's "memory schedule" for weekends and holidays, where Chicago arrivals and departures are spaced exactly two hours apart during the day. The new weekend schedule would stagger train times to meet demand, including the addition of a morning express train from South Bend to Chicago and a late-night train running from Chicago to South Bend.
The South Shore is reminding Bears fans going to Sunday's game at Soldier Field to pay particular attention to the new schedule, as times for trains have changed.
The new weekend schedules are available at nictd.com. The weekday schedule remains the same.
In addition to the schedule changes, weekend/holiday fares will revert to regular weekday fares. Discounts on weekend and holiday fares, ranging from 80 cents to $1.75 per ride, had been in place since 2003.
Having trains run every two hours on weekends has led to numerous delays, said South Shore planning and marketing director John Parsons. In large part that's because under the current schedule, a slightly late train meets an oncoming train on single tracks outside Michigan City. One of those trains must pull off onto a siding and wait for the other train to pass.
The situation had become so bad that barely half of South Shore trains were arriving and departing on schedule on weekends, Parsons said.