Aggressive Elimination Plan Reduces Slow Zones by 50% in 12 Months

July 22, 2008

Service Between O'Hare and Rosemont Stations Resumes July 24

Blue Line rail service between the O'Hare and Rosemont stations will resume ahead of schedule at 3 a.m. on Thursday, July 24, as CTA continues its aggressive efforts to eliminate slow zones. Crews were able to accelerate the replacement of deteriorated rail, tie plates and spikes and restore service four days earlier than anticipated.

"With the completion of this work, we now have reduced the number of slow zones on the CTA system to just over 11 percent, down from a high of 22.5 percent last Fall," said CTA President Ron Huberman. "Our efforts to eliminate slow zones continue to speed rail service for customers and improve commute times. Speeds in this area now can resume up to 55 miles per hour rather than the 15 miles per hour in place prior to this work."

"I want to thank our customers who travel along the O'Hare branch for their patience over the last two weeks as we worked to enhance their commutes. With the assistance of the Chicago Department of Aviation, airport customers and businesses were provided information about alternate service during the construction period."

"We commend the CTA for making this important project a priority," said Aviation Commissioner Richard L. Rodriguez. "Faster rail service to and from our airport will greatly benefit O'Hare travelers and employees."

"Our customers made it clear that slow zones were a major point of frustration. We set priorities and invested our limited capital resources to address their concerns and improve travel times," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown.

While work was under way, Blue Line trains made all stops to Rosemont station where customers transferred to bus shuttles to complete their trips to O'Hare. CTA personnel were at both locations directing customers to awaiting buses.

Work to eliminate slow zones on the O'Hare branch began last year with the elimination of 22,500 track feet of slow zones. The work completed on Thursday culminates the removal of 65,800 feet of slow zones between Jefferson Park and O'Hare with some work to continue. Work between Jefferson Park and Addison is scheduled to begin in August.

In addition, slow zone removal work continues on the Red and Brown Lines.


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