South Shore file photo

A South Shore train arrives in Portage. The station, and others along the route, will see significant upgrades as part of the Double Track Northwest Indiana project.

MICHIGAN CITY — State, local and federal officials were heralding a final piece of federal funding Thursday that will allow the start of a long-awaited expansion of the South Shore rail line, a decades-long priority for northwest Indiana.

The $491 million project is expected to speed passenger rail service between Gary and Michigan City as well as make critical safety improvements at grade crossings and platform improvements at five stations.

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