Ravenswood Connector Rehabilitation
Beginning in spring 2015, we’ll perform the final phase of a major project to rehabilitate the Ravenswood Connector—the elevated part of the 'L' between Armitage and the Loop, currently used by Brown Line and Purple Line Express service.
This part of the 'L' was originally built in the late 19th Century as part of a new 'L' line from the Loop to Wilson. Service began over this structure in 1900.
The rehabilitation project is a $90 million investment that will result in faster, safer and more reliable service on a key segment of the Brown and Purple Lines used by about 700 trains on a typical weekday. The work will eliminate over two miles of slow zones where trains slow to as little as 15 mph to ensure safe operation.
What work is being done?
Crews are now replacing worn rail ties and track components along the stretch of elevated track between the Armitage and Merchandise stations. This portion of project work will help eliminate slow zones and create a smoother, more reliable ride for the more than 40,000 customers who ride Purple and Brown line trains to and from the Loop each weekday.
Under the first phase of project work, which began in September 2013, crews repaired and replaced components on the steel structure between the Armitage and Merchandise Mart elevated stations. This work was necessary before we could tackle the culprit behind all the slow zones—replacement of deteriorated rail ties and track components.
Photo gallery from track work phase
What's included in the work?
Overall project work includes:
- Repair and replacement of well over a thousand steel, structural components
- Replacement of deteriorated rail ties
- Replacement and repair of track components
What will the impact on customers be?
Over the course of a number of select weekends, Brown Line trains will be rerouted to operate in the Red Line subway – between Fullerton and downtown. Work requiring the weekend-only reroutes will begin the weekend of April 10-13 and continue through fall 2015, but will not occur during large-scale events and summer festivals such as Taste of Chicago and Lollapalooza. (See below for the planned weekend work schedule).
During these weekend reroutes:
- Brown Line trains will stop at all Red Line subway stations between Fullerton and Roosevelt. (Brown Line riders will not need to change trains to continue into downtown.)
- For service to/from the Armitage, Sedgwick, Chicago and Merchandise Mart Brown Line stations, free shuttle buses will also operate between Fullerton and Clark/Lake, making stops at or near the affected stations.
- Additionally, a shuttle train will operate around the Loop, providing connections between Brown Line service in the subway to all Loop 'L’ stations, as well as to shuttle buses at Clark/Lake.
- Brown Line service between Kimball and Fullerton will not be affected.
Weekend Work Schedule
Weather permitting, the following is the proposed project schedule for weekend work; these dates are subject to change. We'll be issuing reminders for customers at stations, online via service alerts and through media advisories.
Unless otherwise noted, work will occur 8pm Friday thru 4am the following Monday morning on the following weekends:
- April 10-13
- April 17-20
- May 1-4
- May 8-11
- May 15-18
- May 29 - June 1
- June 5-8*
- July 17-20*
- July 24-27
- August 7-10
- August 21-24
- August 28-31
- September 11-14
- September 18-21*
- September 25-28*
*Weekend dates added following initial project announcement. Updated September 2015.
Visit the Brown Line page for current and upcoming service alerts, or subscribe to planned weekend service changes from CTA Updates to have advance notice of work e-mailed to you.
Purple Line Express service will not be affected, as it only operates during weekday rush periods, and work will not occur during these times.