Leave No Station Unphotographed: The Blog of SubwayNut.com


A Day of Train Spotting: the South Shore in Hudson Lake to Michigan City to the Pere Marquette at Sunset in St. Joe

This trip took place on June 3, 2017

Last month, my one other good railfan friend Robbie was visiting me in South Bend. He arrived on Friday on a 3 hour late Capitol Limited. On Saturday, we rented a car for 24 hours (I still don’t have my own vehicle in South Bend) and we went exploring and train spotting, photographing pretty much every South Shore Line and Amtrak train we could within an hours drive of South Bend.

The day began on Transpo Bus Route 4 out to South Bend Airport where we rented the car. From there we started driving west on US-20 towards Michigan City and I realized the first South Bend-bound train of the day was going to stop in Hudson Lake(11 Photos) within 15 minutes. We entered Central Time and stopped there. The train came in on time and stopped since a few people were getting off.

From there we continued driving west and went around Michigan City to Beverly Shores, where we first checked out the National Lake Shore and then the Century of Progress Houses that were relocated there from the World’s Fair. We then headed to the Beverly Shores Station(11 Photos)  and got the next Eastbound train.


From there we got back in the car and started driving to Michigan City where I was curious if we could “beat the train” and photograph the same train there running down the middle of the street. We got there and failed. We did manage to see the train in the distance down 11 Street(31 Photos) but other traffic and traffic lights prevented us from catching up to it. Governor Holcomb had been in Michigan City the previous week singing a bill to double track the South Shore Line (to Michigan City) and the historic abandoned station had it’s for rent sign removed and got a Welcome Governor Holcomb banner.


After parking on a side street, the next Chicago-bound train soon passed through and we photographed it making the station stop in the middle of the street.

We then stopped for lunch at a really good Italian Sandwich place along the tracks. We walked west towards the crossover where the South Shore tracks cross the Amtrak Michigan Line at a grade. There we photographed to next Michigan City-bound Westbound train, running down 10th Street and across the short section of private ROW over the Amtrak tracks towards 11th Street.


Next we photographed the midday Pontiac-bound Amtrak Wolverine, it was running about 15 minutes late.

We then walked down towards the Michigan City Amtrak Station(15 Photos) and the Waterfront. First we got to a decision point for train station options.

Then we continued to the Waterfront Amtrak Station. With a train not for half an hour we headed over Trail Creek to the Outer Basin to poke around a little. We made it back to the Amtrak Station just in time before the drawbridge went up, and got the Midday Westbound Wolverine passing through, a train that skips Michigan City, nearly on time.


We then walked back towards 11th Street, where a South Bend-bound South Shore Train was due, we got it rounding the curve and hill east of the station.


With a train due to soon originate at Michigan City Carroll Avenue we got in the car and started driving there.

Unforchunately a South Shore Line Freight train (two locomotives and one car) was blocking the grade-crossing to the overflow parking lot. I wonder if any missed the train.

Unable to find parking in the limited parking spaces at the train station, we parked a few blocks away and got the train leaving Carroll Avenue(9 Photos)

At that point we drove the 10 miles and re-entered Eastern Time heading to New Buffalo. The first stop was to photograph the remains of the station on the Pere Marquette(12 Photos). Across the street was the free New Buffalo Railroad Museum, unforchunately we got there at 5:00pm ET right after it closed for the day.


We then drove down Whittaker Street into downtown New Buffalo(18 Photos) and parked. As we walked towards the Amtrak Station, we noticed a couple of Shuttle buses from the Four Winds-New Buffalo Casino dropping off passengers for the Port Huron-bound Blue Water. Although the Blue Water wasn’t due for half-an-hour, the platform became crowded with people spilling down the ramp off the very short platform.

We took a little walk and soon the Blue Water arrived with a P42 on each end of the train. The train stopped for 8 minutes while the crowd from the casino got on and climbed onto the train at just two open doors. Two bicyclists were let out directly onto the ballast from the cafe car which has had a bike rack installed since the cafe car hadn’t platformed. We got back to the platform in time for the train to leave. Followed by a crowd of pedestrians and cars crossing Whittaker Street.


Our final goal of the day was getting the Superliner Pere Marquette stopping in St. Joseph(27 Photos) at Sunset. After a quick stop for dinner at my go to place in St. Joe, a Silver Harbor Brewery, we headed down to Silver Beach. The Grand Rapids-bound Pere Marquette arrived at dusk 6 minutes early, blocking all access to the beach (as the sun set some more) before leaving on time at 9:15pm.


At that point we drove back to my apartment – stopping to put a quarter tank of gas in our rental – in South Bend for an early start tomorrow on the 9:01am South Shore Line Weekend Express.