A New Train Station and Neighborhood Stewardship in Hammond, Indiana

This home sits just outside a section of parcels in Hammond, Indiana acquired over the last several years by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD), which operates the South Shore Line commuter rail system. To the west of here along Gostlin Street, Brunswick Street, Hanover Street, Marble Street, Wabash Avenue, and Sheffield Avenue, several dozen homes and a handful of commercial facilities were purchased and demolished by the railroad for construction of the new Hammond Gateway Station, anticipated to open in 2025 of 2026.


Hammond Gateway Station is a key component of the West Lake Corridor, a major NICTD project to add a new branch of their service terminating south of Hammond in Dyer. The South Shore Line has its roots in a true electric "interurban" service between Chicago and South Bend, a type of rail travel largely replaced by auto trips and flights during the 20th century, and its current commuter-centric form doesn't quite align with the shape of recent suburban growth in northwest Indiana. The West Lake Corridor project hopes to augment the existing South Shore Line route with a new service in areas that have recently grown in population, and the two NICTD branches will meet at the new Hammond Gateway Station before continuing into Chicago. The under-construction track segment seen in these photos is part of the southbound alignment for the new corridor.


Locally, the City of Hammond hopes to use the new station as a starting point to stabilize a surrounding neighborhood that has seen significant population loss in recent decades. The city plans to encourage new development nearby that adheres to dominant current urban planning norms for dense, walkable neighborhoods oriented around transit, including redevelopment of the soon-to-be disused site of the existing Hammond South Shore Line station to the east. But in this interim period, the immediate impact of the project while under construction has been to entrench population loss via property acquisition and demolition, a challenging gamble for the city to permit NICTD to make in the hopes of stewarding a healthier neighborhood and better transit in the long run.