Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad (NICTD)

The Gauntlet Bridge

The box bridge in the foreground was once served in gauntlet fashion. Trains traveling opposite directions ran over this bridge on overlapped tracks. On January 18, 1993, the operator of Train 7 from Chicago ran a red signal on the western approach to the gauntlet bridge, went into emergency stop, and paused for 5 to 30 seconds before being hit by Train 12 from South Bend. The lead cars, Car 27 eastbound and Car 36 westbound, sliced into each other killing 7 passengers, including a 10 year old boy. 95 people were injured. The NTSB held both engineers at fault, Train 7 for running the red light and Train 12 for failing to react.

NTSB Report (1.46m PDF)

A second bridge was added at the site in 1997 and the gauntlet is no longer in operation. The box bridge itself was replaced in 2002.

This bridge carries the South Shore over two railroad lines. One is the former Penn Central line to Valparaiso and Fort Wayne. This line is abandonded from a point 2 miles northwest of this bridge to a point 1.75 miles southeast on the south side of Gary. The remainder of the line is operated by the Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern. Before abandonment this line was used by Amtrak, Conrail and Penn Central for commuter passenger service between Chicago and Valparaiso. This line may be reinstated for use for High Speed Rail or NICTD service to Valparaiso.

The second line is the Norfolk Southern "Sugar Track" and runs from the CSX Toledo line north of this bridge south for about 3.9 miles to serve the Indiana Sugars warehouse on Virginia St in Gary.

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