Updated: February 12, 2014 6:10AM
CHESTERTON — Ridership dropped slightly last year on the South Shore commuter railroad for its sixth consecutive annual decline.
South Shore officials are blaming the drop partly on fewer riders going to festivals and other entertainment in Chicago. Marketing director John Parsons said that job growth has also been slow in downtown Chicago, which is the primary destination for most South Shore riders.
The line says it boarded 3.61 million passengers in 2013 between South Bend and Chicago, down 1.7 percent from 2012.
The ridership decline comes as a push is on to extend the South Shore rail line into southern Lake County.
The South Shore had 4.25 million riders in 2007 before the declines began.