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South Shore trains delayed; rush hour may be a hassle

Passengers wait outside East Chicago South Shore Line statiafter service was suspended Monday due power outage. | Post-Tribune

Passengers wait outside the East Chicago South Shore Line station after service was suspended Monday due to a power outage. | Post-Tribune

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Updated: July 19, 2013 6:19AM

Train service on the South Shore Line was suspended for more than two hours Monday after a problem occurred with the equipment that transfers the energy from the overhead line to the trains.

John Parsons, planning and marketing director for the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, said that Train 116 was headed westbound just east of the East Chicago station when the equipment that touches the overhead power lines on the back two cars of the six-car train was damaged. That in turn set off a substation, and power was also cut to Train 107, which was in between the Miller and Ogden Dunes stations.

Parsons said the train that caused the damage was taken back to the East Chicago station.

Riders were upset with the lack of options to continue their trips.

Sabrina Haake of Gary’s Miller area, had an appointment downtown and shared a cab with four others to continue the trip.

“I’m disappointed they (South Shore) don’t have a backup taxi service. They could have called a taxi as soon as the power went down,” she said.

Liz and Dick Pilcher of Long Beach agreed there should have been a backup taxi or bus service.

“This is the second time happened to us at this stop,” Liz Pilcher said.

“We won’t do this anymore,” said Dick Pilcher, who was going to miss a dental appointment.

People milled about waiting for rides, taxis or limousines that they called, some to head to the city, others to go home.

By mid-afternoon, some westbound trains were running. Updates on NICTD’s website promised evening rush hour commuters that eastbound service would leave on time but could still experience delays due to only one track being in use. Later in the afternoon, the website was down, presumably due to the number of people trying to view it.

“It’s terrible,” said a woman who asked not to be named as she waited for a South Shore Line train at the Van Buren Street Station at 4:20 p.m. “I’m headed to East Chicago ... and they have the nerve to not even provide a bus or anything.”

The woman fanned herself with a useless train schedule as she waited.

“I had to leave work an hour early to try to make my daughter’s recital, and I don’t know if I’m going to make it. You try telling a 10-year-old why you missed her recital.”

Melisa Culbertson, a trader at the Board of Trade headed home to Westville in Porter County, rolled with punches. “It doesn’t thrill me, but what am I going to do? It still beats driving,” she said.

Sun-Times reporter Mitch Dudek contributed to this story

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