In General
Getting Here


In General

Location / Name:
South Bend IN, St Joseph County

What's Here:
Notre Dame University
Amtrak Station
Former NYC Union Station
Former Vandalia Rwy Station
NICTD Commuter Railroad
Bus Transportation Center that had planned to be the new Amtrak station, but never happened
the Studebaker National Museum

GPS Coordinates: 41.676377, -86.250360 (downtown at Michigan/Washington Sts)
Phone A/C: 574
ZIP: 46601

Access by train/transit:
Amtrak, via 2 trains, the Lake Shore Limited and the Capitol Limited
The commuter railroad NICTD, brings you in from the west, originating in Chicago.  The NICTD commuter service was formerly part of the South Shore, or more properly, the Chicago, South Shore & South Bend.

The Scoop:

South Bend's main action is the Norfolk Southern mainline, formerly the New York Central, coming through E/W, and splitting WB to go to either Michigan City or Chicago via Valparaiso.

The majority of crossings with the R-O-W are separated, with the roads going under the tracks - this doesn't offer the railfan many good opportunities for pictures, since the tracks appear to be behind tree lines most of the time :-(

Along W. South St in the downtown area are some of the few places you have a clear sight line, but the sun will never be behind you since you're on the north side of the tracks.

For a town of its size, South Bend had many more (real) stations than many larger towns.  There are three active stations in South Bend, one for Amtrak, the two for NICTD.  In addition, South Bend is lucky to have two former railroad stations still around: the New York Central's (and Grand Trunk) Union Station, and the Vandalia RR depot.  No longer with us is the older station for the Grand Trunk, and South Shore's downtown terminus.

NICTD trains have their eastern most station here at the airport, see the pictures and schedules below.

In 1958, as can be seen in the USGS map below, South bend used to host:
     the New York Central, a lot of this trackage is gone
     the Grand Trunk
     the Chicago, South Shore & South Bend
     the New Jersey, Indiana, and Illinois

At the turn of the century circa 1905, South Bend had:
     the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Rwy (became part of the NYC in 1914)
     The Grand Trunk Rwy
     the Vandalia Rwy (was part of the Pennsy family, but most trackage not abandoned until the Conrail era)
     the Michigan Central RR

Denver Todd
Tim Vermande
David Wilson
Paul Flaherty
Chad Malinovsky
Eugene Van Dusen / Harry Zillmer / MD McCarter
John Strombeck
Tom Kempshire (
George M Stupar
Google Images / Google Maps / Bing Maps
USGS Maps: University of Texas Library and the University of Indiana
Library of Congress (1890 pictorial map):

Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area:

Getting Here

South Bend is pretty easy to get to, at least for those of us traveling east and west along the northern parts of OH, IN, PA, and IL.  Interstate 1-80/90 brushes by the northern side of South Bend, although it is a toll road called the Indiana Toll Road.

US 31 comes down from the Benton Harbor area of Michigan, although getting from there and I-94 is messy since it looks like they didn't connect I-94 and US 31 very well, having to take local roads to complete the journey.

US 20 comes in from the west, and then circles around the south side of town, picking up where US 31 ends where they come together.  US 20 also crosses the two "westward" rail lines as seen below.



1) the Amtrak Station
2) Union Station
3) Mainline Split
4) NS South Bend Yard
5) Former Vandalia Rwy Depot
6) NICTD South Bend Airport Station
7) Former Grand Trunk Depot
8) Former Michigan Central Depot
9) the Downtown South Shore Station
10) the Bus Transportation Center

Amtrak Schedules
NICTD Schedules

the Amtrak Station

GPS Coordinates: 41.669361, -86.254822

Located on the west side of town, the station area and platforms offers a fairly good vantage point to take pictures from - it's much like Depew NY where you have good sight lines in both directions, and no obstructions in the way, like fences.  On the aerial shots, notice the fancy trackwork, maybe something to put on your model pike!  The TLA (three letter acronym) for South Bend is SOB.

The next Amtrak stop west is Chicago IL, and to the east, Elkhart IN.

Indiana has 11 Amtrak stations, and supposedly, South Bend has the 4th highest number of train boardings.

The South Shore used this station until November of 1992, when they built the current station at the airport.

Trains stopping here are the Lake Shore Limited and the Capitol Limited, and will take you to Chicago's Union Station (CHI) going WB.

Sometimes I wish Google would bring back the "old" way of doing things.... the train looks like it's in the Twilight Zone :-)

The Meade Street crossing next to the Amtrak Station

  Union Station

GPS Coordinates: 41.669361, -86.254822
West South St between Lafayette and Taylor

Opened in 1929, the depot served the New York Central and the Grand Trunk Western.  It saw it's last passenger train in 1971, before Amtrak took over passenger service.  The depot is located at 326 West South Street.  It had 3 platforms, and 5 tracks.  Nice detail on the 1865 map, it even shows the telegraph line.  In the 25 years between the two pictorial maps, another three railroads popped up, a trolley line appeared, and the Studebaker complex had been built!

Photo: Derek Jensen, 2005, from Wikipedia

  Mainline Split

The split seems fairly accessible off of Chapin St  to the east of the split, and S. Arnold St on the west side of the split.  Before the split, the 5 tracks coming in from the east go down to 2, with 2 tracks heading off to Michigan City, and 3 to Valparaiso.

  NS South Bend Yard

Doesn't look like it is used a whole lot except to stage freight for local service.  The yard is located south of Ford St, not too far from the split.  The yard office  is easy to get to off of West Sample St.

  Former Vandalia RR Depot

GPS Coordinates: 41.668118, -86.252104
701 South Main Street

The Vandalia Railroad was part of the Pennsy.  They constructed this brick station on the corner of Main and Bronson Streets on 1900.

The South Bend sign below, according to Paul: "was displayed typically 1500 feet from the station and used to herald the trainís approach to the station.  So there would be 2 signs, one on both sides, and possibly one at the station itself".

  Collection of and photo courtesy Paul Flaherty

Other Vandalia RR Pictures

  Camden IN

     Camden IN

One of the pages I happened upon said there were no known pictures of Vandalia equipment, but this comes kinda close.....  from the Maplogs page

     Wreck in Flora IN

  Culver IN

  NICTD South Bend Airport Station

A couple of shots of NICTD's stop at the airport.... Looks like a pleasant ride along the property edge coming into the airport.

  David Wilson photo

  David Wilson photo

NICTD Route maps

  Former Grand Trunk Depot

GPS Coordinates: 41.672481, -86.249992

  John Strombeck photo via

  Former Michigan Central RR Depot

  the Downtown South Shore Station

GPS Coordinates: 41.679090, -86.250421 (approx - it's the middle of the intersection)
Located at Michigan and LaSalle Streets, this station began operation in 1903, and came down in 1974, four years after service to downtown was discontinued.

  picture from the page

  Bus Transportation Center

GPS Coordinates: 41.668954, -86.251095
Originally designed to accommodate both busses and Amtrak, an agreement for use with Amtrak could not be reached, so it never saw train service.


A couple of pictures from Tim Vermande from the mid to late 60's of GTW #4950 coming into South Bend


  Bridge over Lincoln Way, Northside Blvd, and the River

GPS Coordinates west side: 44.663926, -86.235867
GPS Coordinates east side: 44.664779, -86.234342
Looks like the better of the two sides is the western shore, where you can climb the embankment to catch WB freights coming through.

  Former GTW Bridge

GPS Coordinates: 44.672546, -86.243381

A pedestrian walkway now occupies what used to be the Grand Trunk's main line bridge over the St Joseph River, off the east end of Western Ave.

Amtrak Schedules

Lakeshore Limited Service.....


Capitol Limited Service.....


NICTD Schedules




The biggest tourist draw in Town is the 150 year old University of Notre Dame, with their 800,000 seat stadium.  There are numerous other things to come by the campus to see besides a Fighting Irish game.... Numerous works of art, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, and the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.


South Bend is also home to the College Football Hall of Fame, and the Studebaker National Museum, which are pretty close to each other.


There is also the South Bend Regional Museum of Art, the Northern Indiana Center for History, a complex of four museums, and the South Bend Chocolate Company.  South Bend also hosts the Silver Hawks, a Class A minor league baseball team.
Some of the above info comes from Amtrak's website.

This is a section of the USGS maps of South bend from 1958, east and west.
This should help to dispel any rumor as to whose railroad the Notre Dame branch came off of.

If you want the detail I used for the above screen captures, you will have to download the 312meg TIFF file from the LOC.....

Other snippets of useless info :-)

In 1925, the South Shore Interurban company started service between here and Chicago.

The Studebaker plant was located in town until it closed in 1963... it was the world's largest wagon manufacturer, and the only one to succeed in the automobile business. 

Those of you who are into machining should be familiar with the South Bend name because they were located here.

On June 30, 1934 The Merchants National Bank in South Bend was the last bank to be robbed by the notorious "Dillinger gang".

The Singer Sewing Machine Company and the Oliver Chilled Plow Company were driving forces in the development of South Bend in the early 1900's.

Other businesses that had a presence here were Bendix, Honeywell, Allied Signal, and the O'Brien Paint Company.

Historical USGS Maps


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. 

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.

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 :-)

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.


NEW 07/09/2009, 04/27/2014, 11/13/2017
Last Modified 30-Jul-2019