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Train Tracker by Text (SMS)

How-to guide:
CTA Train Tracker by Text

CTA Train Tracker SM by Text allows you to get estimated arrivals from CTA Train Tracker on a wide range of phones and mobile devices. This service is a public beta test and your feedback is both welcome and encouraged.

We'll be improving the service based on your feedback and also evaluating places where we can post this information at stations, at a later date.

Using this service

It's easy as 1-2-3:
 

  1. Find your stopcode in the list or get instructions from any page showing arrivals in CTA Train Tracker online.

     
  2. Text ctatrain [stopcode] to 41411
    Be sure to text the word "ctatrain", a space, and then the actual stop code, such as "ctatrain hwrd" (without the quotes).
     
  3. Receive estimated arrival times.

 

Note: Message and data rates may apply. Check with your mobile carrier first. If you need help, e-mail us at feedback@transitchicago.com.

 

Example

Here's how the text message you send might look if you wanted to see the next trains at Chicago on the Red Line. The stop code for that station is CHIR, so you'd text "ctatrain chir" to 41411.

Try it!

Send ctatrain chir to 41411, like this:

Example image of text being sent to 41411 with message "ctatrain chir"

After your message is received, you'll get a message like this:

Example of response showing Red Line arrivals. 


This example response above indicates that a Red Line train to Howard is due, and one to 95th/Dan Ryan is in two minutes. Responses are abbreviated so you can get to the information you need in as few messages as possible. 

Note that abbreviated destinations in results do not necessarily coincide with stop codes. For what to send to us for arrivals, find your station's code here.

Response Abbreviations
Here's a quick list of abbreviations you'll see in response texts from this service:

Routes Abbreviated Destinations in Responses
Rd = Red Line Hwrd = to Howard
Bl = Blue Line 95th = to 95th/Dan Ryan
Br = Brown Line Kmbl = to Kimball
Gr = Green Line Loop = to Loop
Or = Orange Line 54/Cer = to 54th/Cermak
Pk = Pink Line Harlm = to Harlem/Lake
Pu = Purple Line CottG = to Cottage Grove
Yl = Yellow Line Ash63 = to Ashland/63rd
  O'Hare = to O'Hare
  FrstPk = to Forest Park
  JeffPk = to Jefferson Park
  UIC = to UIC-Halsted
  Midw = to Midway
   

 

 

Other ways to find stop codes

If you need to look up a stop while on-the-go, you can also text "ctatrain [route]" to 41411 to get a list of stop codes via text message.

 

Additional Commands

Also, you can also reply to this message with "R" to get the latest, most updated result for the same stop.

If your stop has multiple routes serving it, your results may not fit in one text message. In that case, you can also reply with "N" to see the next result for the stop you requested.

If there are alerts, you'll see "A)lerts" at the end of texts you receive, and you can reply with "A" to retrieve them.

Note: If you have subscribed to receive text messages for service alerts or arrivals at scheduled times from the CTA Bus Tracker website, you can always reply with (or send a new text with) "STOP" to unsubscribe. (There are no subscriptions related to the CTA Train Tracker by Text service.) And remember: Message and data rates may apply. Check with your mobile carrier first.)

 

Narrowing your results

To get just the routes you're interested (and potentially reduce the number of texts you need to send or receive to get the information you want), you can also specify a route color in your request. Add the color after the stop code in your request. For example, to get only Orange Line results at Clark/Lake (stop code: CLKL) send this:

ctatrain clkl orange

 

Plan a trip

 
Start (e.g. O'Hare Airport)

End (e.g. 1 N State St, Chicago, IL)


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System Status

 

Trains:

Red Line Normal Service
Blue Line Minor Delays
Brown Line Normal Service
Green Line Normal Service
Orange Line Normal Service
Purple Line Normal Service
Pink Line Normal Service
Yellow Line Normal Service

Buses:

Routes with Current Alerts (View All):
 
 
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