Gary/Chicago Airport
Gary Metro
Home<Chicagoland<South Shore Line<Gary Metro Center

The Gary/Adam Benjamin Jr. Metro Center Station opened in 1984 when the South Shore tracks were elevated through downtown Gary on a new alignment following the Indiana Toll Road (I-90). The station replaced the former, ground-level Broadway Station. The station is named after the Indiana congressman who funded helped provide funding for the project (and died of a heart attack in office at age 47 in 1982). The line returns to a grade shortly after at each side of the station. For a relatively new South Shore Line station, the stop is poorly designed since the station has a low-level island platform for the elevated two-track line, meaning bikes can't board or detrain bike trains and the station and wheelchairs need to be hoisted up and down using a mobile-lift.

The station is also the current easternmost point of the fully two-tracked South Shore line, with the line the rest of the way to Michigan City and South Bend a single track railway with long passing sidings. Although funding has been found and preliminary engineering has begun to double track the line to Michigan City. This means a some trains from Chicago short-turn at the station. The short-turning trains eastbound include three AM reverse peak trains that terminate at the station (including one that runs non-stop from Van Buren Street to the station). These trains then originate in Gary as additional Chicago-bound midday trains. Although one of these train sets has a layover in Gary of up to 3 and a half hours (from 8:52 to 12:22), no trains overnight at Gary Metro center due to the lack of a secure train yard. All train sets return to the Michigan City yard overnight. Two additional trains during the PM rush hour short-turn at Gary, meaning Gary is the furthest extent of frequent reverse-peak train service.

The station's fully canopied with green support beams island platform begins near a staircase up from the east side of Broadway at it's eastern end. This staircase leads up to a set of double doors on the platform. A sign says entry is only permitted from 4:38am to 8pm when the gate is open but exit is always permitted through a turnstile. This turnstile has been removed along with the gate so I assume the doors at the top of this staircase (it isn't fully enclosed, there are no stairs at the bottom) are always unlocked (except perhaps between 1:42am and 4:44am weekdays, 6:04am weekends and holidays when no trains stop in the middle of the night). The platform has a couple of benches built into windscreens but otherwise no other amenities for waiting passengers.

The extreme western end of the platform has the 'Exit to Terminal Building' as the sign says. This consists of doors that lead down to a small landing where a single escalator (out of service when I was there), elevator and staircase lead down nearly to street level. At the lower landing an additional set of doors lead out to a long, fully enclosed and gradual uphill skywalk/ramp (that has been retrofitted to make the slope on one side ADA compliant) up to the second floor of the Gary Metro Center building (ending at another set of doors). The entrance to the bridge has a big To South Shore Trains sign beneath two boxes that are designed to light up (probably by track circuits) when an Eastbound or Westbound train is arriving. A further pedestrian enclosed skybridge from this level leads across 4th Avenue to a parking garage and the Genesis Convention Center. The rest of the concrete brutalist-style building contains the Gary PTC Bus system administrative offices on the third floor. A concession stand on the 2nd floor (and some other concession areas that appear vacant with tape covering the station's poor wayfinding signs). The ground-floor is smaller than the two stories above above and contains the Greyhound ticket counter (the station just south of the Indiana Toll Road is served by a number of Greyhound buses), along with the station's outdoor bus loop used by both Greyhound buses and the bus transfer center for the Gary PTC (although the actual stops for buses are poorly marked). The levels of the station are connected by staircases, elevators and an escalator (that was off when I visited), the escalator down to the bus plaza is outside the small bus/greyhound waiting area ands leads to it's own entrance. There is also additional station parking surrounding the bus loops.

Across the Broadway along the south side of the tracks from the station is Gateway Park. This park contains Eliot, Joliet, and Eastern Railway (EJ&E) Locomotive #765 on a static display.

Just north of the station on the opposite side of the Indiana Toll Road, beyond it's Gary-Broadway exit, is the abandoned Gary Union Station, who's ornate facade is visible from South Shore trains. The former New York Central tracks are still used by the Lake Shore Limited, Capitol Limited, Wolverine, Blue Water, and Pere Marquette trains. This station I don't believe has ever seen service in the Amtrak-era, closing with the creation of Amtrak in 1971.
Photos 1-54 taken on 30 December, 2017; 55: 5 May, 2018;

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Gary Metro Signs across from the platform on the overpass above Broadway
The wheelchair lift is in this structure in the middle of the platform
EMUs of a Chicago-bound South Shore train preparing to leave
This car is wrapped in an ad for the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
The platform gets narrow around the staircase down to Broadway
The snowy back of a Chicago-bound train from South Bend (which has much more snow due to the lake effect
The back of a snowy train departing for Chicago from Gary Metro
A Chicago-bound train continues departing Gary Metro
The snowy rear cab of a departing South Shore train
A Chicago-bound train fades into the distance
Looking across the viaduct of the Indiana Toll Road to the abandoned New York Central Gary Station (also on a viaduct)
Wind-screened benches for waiting passengers
The Gary Metro Center building is off in the distance from the platform
The Wheel Chair Lift enclosure
Another view across the tollroad viaduct to the ex-New York Central Gary Station blocked by some hopper cars
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Home<Chicagoland<South Shore Line<Gary Metro Center
South Shore Line

Last Updated: 30 December, 2017
All photos are by Jeremiah Cox
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