West Lake Corridor Project to give Lansing and Munster easier train access to Chicago

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Planned West Lake Corridor station in Munster will be located near Ridge Road and Manor Avenue

By Katie Arvia

MUNSTER, Ind. (April 5, 2022) – For over three decades, the West Lake Corridor train line project has been in various stages of the planning process. This proposed development will be a southern branch extension of the existing South Shore Line intended to reach high-growth areas in Lake County, Indiana. The West Lake Corridor Project will bring four new train stations to the area, with stops located in Hammond, Munster, and Dyer.

Connecting Indiana to Chicago

Mike Noland, President of the South Shore Line, explained that the land being used for the new stations is a remnant of the old Monon Railroad. A six-mile portion of land was abandoned by CSX in the late 80s and early 90s, which was then purchased by Hammond, Munster, and the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) and preserved for a potential future commuter rail corridor.

The Old Monon Trail will run directly adjacent to the planned elevated Munster train station. The West Lake Corridor will run on the same line as CSX trains did decades ago. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

“For the last 30 years or so, [the West Lake Corridor Project] has been in various stages of the planning process and ultimately, over the last three, four, or five years, we’ve been pursuing federal funding and state funding to build this line,” Noland said.

Construction is expected to begin soon, with service expected to begin in the spring of 2025. The $852 million project will bring stations to the Hammond Gateway, South Hammond, Munster Ridge Road, and Munster/Dyer Main Street.

Local train stations on the West Lake Corridor

The South Hammond station will be located near the intersection of 173rd Street and Lyman Avenue. The Munster station will be located near Ridge Road and Manor Avenue, less than half a mile from the Lansing border. The Munster-Dyer Main Street station will be located near the intersection of Main Street and Sheffield Avenue. Proposed maps of each of the stations can be viewed at www.nictdwestlake.com.

West Lake Corridor
The above graphic shows the locations of the anticipated Munster Station of the West Lake Corridor train line. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Additionally, the current South Shore Line station in Hammond will be demolished. According to NICTD’s website, “a new center platform will be constructed at the Hammond Gateway Station to facilitate transfers between West Lake Service and South Shore Line Service.”

A work in progress

“There’s always been a lot of interest in the region to get this done, but it takes [efforts] from local civic organizations, the business community, and governmental officials at all levels to come together at the same time,” Noland said, pointing out that former Indiana Congressman Pete Visclosky was a champion for the project.

This support began happening in 2015, when the Indiana General Assembly provided funding for the project, which was backed by funding from 15 different towns in Lake County, Indiana as well as Lake County itself.

The project will be built with the environment in mind, said Noland. An environmental impact statement was required, and the Federal Transit Administration required an engineering review, a process that took three to four years.

West Lake Corridor
The train line will cross Ridge Road and continue south to the last station on the border of Munster and Dyer. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Lansing’s nearest train access

“A fast-growing county like Lake County was underserved from a train perspective. Expanding the commuter rail offerings here in Lake County and northwest Indiana will really allow for continued growth and support of that region economically, [as well as] providing good access for regular commuter service in and out of Chicago,” Noland said.

Currently, the Homewood Metra Electric station and the Hammond South Shore Line station are the closest train access points for Lansing residents to travel to Chicago. Access to the Munster Ridge Road station will likely cut down on travel time to train stations and the city.

West Lake Corridor
A sign near Manor Avenue and Ridge Road promises a new train station in Munster. The station will give Munster and Lansing residents easier access to Chicago via train. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

The Munster station will include a 100-space parking lot, an elevated platform, a warming shelter, and other features. The elevated station will run along the Old Monon Trail and Manor Avenue on the east side of the road, while the parking lot will be located immediately west of Manor Avenue.

To stay up-to-date with project updates and news, visit the West Lake Corridor Project on Facebook or visit NICTD’s West Lake Corridor Project web page.

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Katie is a lifelong Lansing native who currently works full-time in marketing while also freelance reporting for The Lansing Journal. In 2015, she graduated with high honors from Saint Xavier University in Chicago with a BA in English, and she plans to pursue a Master's degree in the near future. Her favorite Lansing Journal assignments include coverage of TF South High School's walkout ("Demonstrating the possibilities") and her St. Patrick's Day interview with her grandma ("St. Patrick's Day traditions: reflections of an Irish granddaughter").