New express train offers quicker ride time to Chicago
Quick and convenient is what the South Shore Sunrise Express strives to be.
Currently a train ride from South Bend to Chicago will take as long as two and a half hours.
St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Rea said that was just too long.
“Our desire was to see it be quicker,” Rea said.
So after years in the making, a new express train has arrived.
South Shore is now offering two express trains between South Bend and Chicago each week day.
One will leave South Bend at 6 a.m., the other will leave Chicago just before 4 p.m.
Both will get travelers to their destination in under two hours.
Rea says it's an improvement, but not the final goal.
“It's the first step in what I think is a longer term goal related to the South Shore. And that is to get it down to about 90 minutes. So if its get to 90 minutes it just becomes a much more viable business option and a better commuting option,” Rea explained.
The express train is currently in its test phase.
If successful, Michiana may see more express trains offered throughout the day.
“Ridership would dictate more so my hope is that people embrace it and ride it regularly,” said Rea.
But if ticket sales are low, the opposite can happen. The express train could be canceled all together.
Rea said it is bigger than getting people to and from Chicago.
He said this train is an example of yet another quick connection to a big city, setting South Bend apart from other Indiana cities.
“The New York connection is really critical. And that's a new connection into one of the busiest markets in the world. And then the train connection here to Chicago, quicker connection. And then the automobile connection. The upgrades to US 31 over the last year have made Indianapolis closer and made it easier for us to connect to our capital city. So the plane, train, automobile connections are key and help us differentiate ourselves from other cities,” Rea said.