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East Chicago
Home<Chicagoland<South Shore Line<East Chicago

East Chicago (Indianapolis Blvd) opened in 1956 when the South Shore Line was relocated from a street running section in the median of Chicago Avenue through downtown to a new grade-seperated right of way about a mile south of downtown East Chicago along the then new Indiana Toll Road. The South Shore Line here shares the same right of way, up a grassy embankment with the Indiana Toll Road (I-90), which is just north of the railway. Waiting passengers have great views of traffic moving along this road, with just a highway guard rail and a small dirt area separating the toll road form the train line. The station was rebuilt and rededicated in 2004-2005 into the current modern station with a high-level platform and home to NICTD's one Transit Police Station. The station's ticket office closed on March 3, 2017, due to rising TVM sales. This was the last station in Lake and Porter Counties to have an open ticket office. The previous station had a low-level platform and entrance closer to Indianapolis Blvd. A sealed area in the concrete is still visible where the previous platform enrance was.

The current station consists of a single high-level island platform with two gauntlet tracks allowing freight trains to pass through the station more easily. The platform has a silver canopy covering over it's entire length. Waiting passengers have a series of windscreens surrounding benches and a small indoor waiting shelter with customer activated heat in winter. At each end of the platform, a ramp at the western end, and a staircase at the eastern end just beyond the elevator lead down to a small low-level platform area that are not used in regular passenger service. Signs that say East Chicago line the track edges opposite the platform. These have a unique design with arrows and smaller text for South Bend and Chicago beneath the main text, and a secondary sign beneath in the standard South Shore Line brown with a white arrow saying "Station" for the platform's only exit.

To leave the platform, there is one exit at the station's eastern end. Doors lead into a small headhouse area. Here a staircase followed by an elevator (and door to the unused low-level platform area) lead down to street level below. A short tunnel leads under the eastbound track and to a bright and airy (with a double-vaulted glass ceiling) station house. Inside this station house along the eastern wall is NICTD's Transit Police Station, a two story facility. The western wall has passenger amenities with restrooms, the still intact and closed ticket counters (the station was built with 2, now replaced with ticket machines), Ticket Vending machines in one wall, and an odd area by the station exit that says vending. The vending machines are located through a small door to an area with an additional bench. This was perhaps originally designed for a concession but is now no longer being rented out. Small silver signs with black letters label these amenities.

Passengers leave the station to the middle of a large parking lot with over 1,100 parking spaces and multiple sections that stretches back to Michigan Street and Indianapolis Blvd. More than half of the parking lot is located east of the station building, with the farthest spots nearly a half-mile away from the platform entrance. Indianapolis Blvd crosses under the western end of the platform but no staircase has been built here (although the South Shore Line has studied adding one for easier station access). The main Park & Ride doesn't have enough spaces at all times, so there is an overflow parking lot across Indianopolis Blvd on the opposite side of the Toll Road in the Knights of Columbus Parking lot. Signs from the main parking lot direct commuters to this overflow lot via Indianapolis Blvd. A $7 million dollar project is planned (and partially funded by the FTA) to add a second staircase up to the platform from Indianapolis Blvd.
Photos 1-2: 5 May, 2018; 3-51: 10 June, 2018

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View of the eastern end of the station house from a train and the numerous accessible parking spaces, since the station's parking lot is so big
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View of the steps down to the emergency low-level platform area and the glass at the top of the central atrium of the station house
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Stepping off a train a the Park & Ride station
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MU #41 stops in the station
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MU #25 arrives leading the first Indiana-bound trip on a Sunday morning
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MU #45 at the back of a South Bend-bound train stopping at East Chicago
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MU #45 and the parking lot, relatively empty on a Saturday morning, beyond
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MU #45 leaves passing the station house beneath the platform
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MU #48 and the Chicago-bound Express train from South Bend leaves
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MU #48 continues following the Toll Road out of the station
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MU #48 fades into the distance
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Looking east from the platform as a South Bend-bound train fades into the distance following the toll road
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Approaching the on platform enclosed waiting area
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Looking down at an East Chicago Station parking lot entrance sign, including the Transit Police
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Inside an on platform waiting area
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East Chicago signs on the track edge, between the platform and the toll road
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Looking out at the large parking lot, only nearby buissinesses are gas stations
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View of the top of the station house from the platform
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Entrance to Station and to leave the platform
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The upper landing of the station entrance beyond the end of the platform with a staircase followed by an elevator down, into the station
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Home<Chicagoland<South Shore Line<East Chicago
South Shore Line

Last Updated: 22 August, 2018
All photos are by Jeremiah Cox
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