Last week, officials from Amtrak, Norfolk Southern and the Federal Railroad Administration and Indiana Governor Mike Pence gathered to celebrate commencement of construction on the Indiana Gateway Project.

The $71.4 million project, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will upgrade the rail line and right-of-way between Porter, Ind. and the Illinois state line.  Norfolk Southern will install universal crossovers at five locations and construct additional mainline track at three locations. 

Most significantly, NS will construct a new passing track at Porter Junction, where NS, Amtrak and two CSX lines intersect.  Porter Junction handles 14 Amtrak trains and 90 freight trains daily and is the one of the nation’s most congested rail junctions.

With other capital projects in Illinois and Michigan, the Indiana Gateway Project will improve Amtrak passenger rail service on several routes, including the Lake Shore Limited, the Capitol Limited, and the three Michigan services (the Pere Marquette, Blue Water and Wolverine routes).

“This project significantly strengthens the Midwest Regional Rail Network, eliminates chokepoints, and creates an environment where intercity passenger trains and freight service can operate fluidly without prolonged delays,” said Deputy Federal Railroad Administrator Karen Hedlund.

Construction is expected to be completed in 2016.