Todd's Railfan Guide to

In General
How to get here



In General

CSX, Amtrak, the South Shore, and the commuter road, NICTD (Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District) all have a presence here - not too shabby for a small town.  In addition, the shops for the later two are located here.  The power plant also has a couple of old engines to shove the coal cars around.

I've always enjoyed visiting Michigan City ever since my best friend John and I stopped here on the way to EMD's 50th anniversary in 1972.  Back then, the South Shore's Little Joe's were roaming the streets.  Not much has changed in the way of the infrastructure, as simple overhead wire is still in use.  The yellow on the map below indicates where the South Shore and commuter trains run through town in the middle of the street.  Not too many places like that left.  I believe they still run in the street in Erie PA.... there's a town in California where they do (name escapes me ), and Ashland VA doesn't count because it's not in the street, it runs between the two sides of the street, each side being one way (if you know of more, let me know and let's get a list going!). 

Correction, since the sale of Conrail to CSX in Erie, the trains no longer run down the street, they now run parallel to the street... Thanks to Jim Mihalek of  MN for the tip... He also adds that there is one block of street running in Warsaw IN on the NS Marion Branch, just north of the crossing with the old Pennsy.... Anyways, back to our regularly scheduled programming :-)....

Please Note:  Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.

And speaking of hobbies, check out the two following sources of model railroad equipment from the South Shore and other northern Indiana railroads:

Aerial shots were taken from either Google Maps or www.bing.com/maps as noted, once in a great while maybe MapQuest.  The screen captures are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it! 

How to get here

Michigan city is convenient to two interstates and US12, which runs pretty much along the coast line of Lake Michigan.

Chicago's downtown is about 45 miles away, Gary IN is about 15 miles to the west, and Benton Harbor MI is about 35 miles up the coast.

I-94 is the closest interstate and runs from Chicago to Kalamazoo, with I-196 splitting off at Benton Harbor to head up to Grand Rapids.

For going east and west, exit 49 off I-80/I-90, the Indiana Tollway, is the most convenient exit.

The closest north-south interstate is I-65 over in Gary.


The above map in PDF format

NICTD Route map


    1       the Amtrak Station


Two views of the Amtrak Station,  and info from their website.

    2       Swing Bridge

Two views of the swing bridge just east of the Amtrak Station.


WB Amtrak signals guarding the swing bridge.

And a little further east of the swing bridge signals are the interlocking signals where the Amtrak line goes down to a single track.

    3       South Shore Shops

The picture below shows you the majority of the South Shore and NICTD shops.

    4       Carroll Ave NICTD Station

The Carroll Avenue NICTD station, along with a diamond and additional shops.

    5       South Shore / Amtrak Crossing

This where the South Shore crosses over from 10th to 11th St.... The South Shore line also crosses Amtrak here.

    6       11th St Station NICTD Station

NICTD's 11th St station is this "invisible" stop in the middle of the street, with the parking lot on the north side.  The info for this stop tells you to get here early, as the 37 spots fill up quick.

    7       the East end of street running

The entrance/exit on the east end of 11th Street.

    8       the West end of street running

This is the western end of the street running.  It looks like a visiting UP and SP pair of Dash-9's in the small yard above.


Close-up of the interlocking signals just off the end of 10th St.

    9       Coal Tipple

From days gone by, a leftover (I think) Michigan Central coal tipple on the Amtrak line.


    10       CSX Crossings

CSX crosses other lines in two places, neither are easily accessible without a little walking...... the bridge in the first picture is only about 800ft from either Michigan Blvd or Warnke Road.

  xing 1 on the map

  xing 2 on the map

    11       at the Power Plant

The power plant is powered by coal, and it looks like they have an older SW and GP unit to shove cars around.


Historical USGS Maps

Courtesy of the University of Texas Library, click here for their index page.

The map below is part of the index map for Indiana circa 1925.  Not much of Indiana had been mapped by the USGS in the early 1900's, therefore, we don't have any detail maps of Michigan City to present here.  :-(




I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page.  This is something I have fun with while trying to help others.  My webpages are an attempt at putting everything I can find of the subject in one convenient place.  There are plenty of other good websites to help me in this effort, and they are listed in the links section on my indexa page, or as needed on individual pages.  Please do not write to me about something that may be incorrect, and then hound the heck out of me if I do not respond to you in the manner you would like.  I operate on the "Golden Rule Principle", and if you are not familiar with it, please acquaint yourself with how to treat people by reading Mathew 7:12 (among others, the principle exists in almost every religion).  If you contact me (like some do, hi Paul) and try to make it a "non-fun" thing and start with the name calling, your name will go into my spambox list! :-)

If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in, especially if restaurants or gas stations open, close, or change names.  Most of my maps are a result of personal observation after visiting these locations.  I have always felt that a picture is worth a thousand words", and I feel annotated maps such as the ones I work up do the same justice for the railfan over a simple text description of the area.  Since the main focus of my website is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  Since most of us railheads don't have just trains as a hobby, I have also tried to point out where other interesting sites of the area are.... things like fire stations, neat bridges, or other significant historical or geographical feature.  While some may feel they shouldn't be included, these other things tend to make MY trips a lot more interesting.... stuff like where the C&O Canal has a bridge going over a river (the Monocacy Aqueduct) between Point of Rocks and Gaithersburg MD, it's way cool to realize this bridge to support a water "road" over a river was built in the 1830's!!!  

My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.  Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given! BE NICE!!! Contact info is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.


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NEW 07/09/2009
Last Modified 27-Apr-2014