MICHIGAN CITY | The South Shore Line is operated by Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District and runs between downtown Chicago and the South Bend Regional Airport.
From its beginnings, over 100 years ago, the line has always held itself to high standards. It can cover the 90 miles between Chicago and South Bend in a little over 2 hours. When you leave the Chicago stations and head to Gary, the South Shore really feels like a suburban commuter line. However, when you get to Michigan City, the train still runs down the middle of 10th and 11th streets. In Michigan City, passengers still board streetcar-style, the only place in the United States where this is still done according to John Parsons, South Shore marketing manager.
You can really get the flavor of the old rural Midwestern trains once you leave Michigan City, heading to South Bend. This is where the single-track goes through fields and farmland. Part of the charm of the South Shore Line is riding between Michigan City and South Bend. And that is what attracts tourists from all over the world to the rail line.
I talked with Parsons and he told me that many families like to stay at the Indiana Dunes State Park so they can take their children and ride the train because they want the children to have that unique experience of riding the last electrically powered interurban commuter rail line still operating in the United States. Parsons said, “Once in your lifetime you have to ride the South Shore Line, no matter where you are from in the world”.
Parsons told us “the secret is out”; more people are parking in Michigan City to attend events in Chicago. Also, they are parking for free in Michigan City, and then riding into Chicago where they take the Chicago Transit Authority’s Blue Line train to O’Hare Airport, or the Orange Line to Midway Airport.
Since taxi service in Michigan City has improved and you can find the cab phone numbers on the South Shore website, we expect to see more people coming to Michigan City for downtown and lakefront events this season, so get ready.