Thousands Stranded for Hours as South Shore Has No Contingency Plans

NICTD suspends South Shore operations indefinitely

A westbound South Shore train sits on the tracks outside the East Chicago Station

January 12, 2017-Just a day after NICTD President Mike Noland appeared on WJOB radio and declared that NICTD works closed with other public transit operators, thousands of South Shore customers were stuck without an alternative plan. Angry passengers sat on South Shore trains for hours this morning as trains became stuck because they could not make it up a grade in Hegewisch. Just before Noon we spoke with a passenger named Lanisha who said she got on a westbound train at Clark Road at 6:20 a.m. She explained that the train she was on stopped between Clark Road and East Chicago and passengers waited for hours as the train just sat on the tracks. Ultimately, passengers were dropped at the East Chicago Station without any direction or information on connecting transit. Lanisha stated “they don’t have any control over the weather, but they could at least provide buses or help passengers get back to their original destination . . .it’s a mess.” When she asked the ticket agent about a bus she was told “she could stand out in the cold and ask the bus driver. We spoke with numerous other passengers who had no idea where to get information on connecting transit or even if there was connecting transit. Several passengers awaited on the platform as the recording repeatedly stated “a westbound train is approaching the station.”

Despite Mr. Noland’s statement that South Shore works closely with other public transit agencies, we could find no information regarding East Chicago Public Transit or Gary Public Transit at the station. There were no schedules, route maps or even a telephone number to get information regarding connecting transit. When we asked the ticket agent, we were told that South Shore tickets would be honored on Metra Trains-which are running on schedule. The nearest Metra train would be in Homewood* so we asked if any information was available regarding transportation to Hegewisch. The response was “no.”

NICTD issued a statement that all service is suspended and they expect service after a diesel engine clears the lines. NICTD says it hopes to restore regular South Shore service by the end of the day.

*EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this stated that the nearest Metra station was in Hegweisch. We apologize for the error.


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