Digest: South Shore Double Track project advances with demolition contract

News Wire Digest second section for Dec. 1: FTA awards $1.37 million in grants for technology programs; VIA gets $188 million in government pandemic relief
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The South Shore has taken another step toward the start of its Double Track project, which will drastically revamp the current street running in Michigan City, Ind.
TRAINS: David Lassen

More Tuesday morning rail news:

South Shore moves closer to start of Double Track project with demolition agreement

In another step toward the start of the South Shore Line’s Double Track project, the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District Board of Trustees on Monday approved a $2.7 million contract for demolition work in Michigan City, Ind. The Times of Northwest Indiana reports the contract went to Green Demolition of Chicago as part of preparation for the project which will add 17 miles of second main and remake Michigan City’s signature street running, closing 21 grade crossings. The double tracking between Gary, Ind., and Michigan City, which also will require four new bridges and eight new station platforms, is on track to start in summer 2021, if the district gets a Federal Transit Administration grant early in the year, as anticipated.

Five rail projects receive FTA grants for technology research
Five rail-related projects were among six receiving grants announced Monday by the Federal Transit Administration as part of its Real-Time Asset Management Program. The six projects will receive a total of $1.37 million in research funding. Funds awarded are:

— $395,000 to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which will partner with four transit agencies to demonstrate smart sensing technology to provide real-time monitoring of rail transit infrastructure and rolling stock.

— $338,155 to the Utah Transit Authority to develop an optical imaging system to monitor the condition of its rail system.

— $184,000 to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority to demonstrate real-time digital technology to monitor stations, track, bridges, tunnels, and grade crossings.

— $170,000 to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority to deploy automated scanning technology to assess the condition of overhead wires on its 262-mile regional rail network.

— $150,000 to the Maryland Transit Administration for an electronic inventory to monitor and detect track deficiencies in its light rail system.

Also receiving funding was the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, Nev., which will partner with the University of Nevada to demonstrate real-time transit infrastructure monitoring in Reno.

VIA Rail Canada to receive $188 million in pandemic aid
The Canadian government will provide C$188 million over two years for VIA Rail Canada as part of a package of pandemic relief funds for the travel, tourism and hospitality industries. BNN Bloomberg reports the airline industry received the largest share of the funding, with $957 million for regional air transportation and airports, plus $229 million in rent relief for major airports.


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