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> NICTD to rent double deckers from Metra
post Jan 25 2021, 03:20 PM
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South Shore Line passengers could start riding more double-decker cars in two years.

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District board authorized an agreement Monday with Metra, the Chicago-area commuter rail service, to lease 26 of Metra’s double-deckers for 15 years for $3.5 million a year, starting in 2023.

The 14 double-deckers now on the South Shore Line are “probably our most popular cars,” South Shore President Michael Noland said.

The 26 additional cars come from a 2003 car order and are “excess” now for Metra, which is planning to buy up to 500 new multi-level cars for $1.8 billion.

The cars for the South Shore will be “like new” after Metra rehabilitates each car for $1 million, Noland said.

The South Shore had budgeted $8 million a year, through 2026, to buy new rail cars. Cutting that to $3.5 million during that time will allow the South Shore to make improvements in other aspects of the railroad, Noland said.

“We do think that this is a very positive opportunity for NICTD and for our riders,” he said.

He said he will send a revised capital plan to the NICTD board this year.

Also Monday, Noland reviewed the Federal Transit Administration’s Jan. 7 agreement to complete the funding for the South Shore’s Double Track project between Gary and Michigan City.

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