Aggressive Repairs Drive Slow Zones Down to 10 Percent

September 2, 2008

Customer Travel Times Improve Over Past Year

Chicago Transit Authority President Ron Huberman today announced that slow zones on CTA's rail system have been reduced to 10 percent. Last summer, the agency announced an ambitious plan to eliminate slow zones in the State Street and Dearborn subways and on the O'Hare branch of the Blue Line. A total of 141,577 feet of slow zones have been removed from a high point of 22.3 percent (263,526 feet). As of today, 121,949 feet of slow zones, or 10 percent, remain on the rail system. The CTA rail system contains 1,181,106 feet of track,  the equivalent of 224 miles.

"When I came to the CTA last year, by far the biggest frustration customers had was with the slow commute times. The CTA made eliminating these slow zones its top priority, despite the lack of new capital funds," said Huberman. Through an aggressive construction schedule, we have been able to eliminate more than half of the slow zones and speed up service.

"Allocating our limited resources to improve travel for our customers has been a very good investment," he added. "The need for new capital funding to continue similar repair and maintenance work across the rail system is very real and investments like this result in much improved service for our customers."

Work continues to eliminate 4,700 feet of slow zones on the Brown Line between the Belmont and Western stations, and 3,580 feet of slow zones on the Red Line between the Belmont and Sheridan stations. That work will be completed in summer 2009. Work on the O'Hare Blue Line will be complete by the end of 2008.

In addition, this week slow zone prevention work will resume on the Loop elevated tracks. Crews will replace track and rail ties that are 40 years old. A new signal and train control system will also be installed at the Loop junctions of Van Buren/Wabash (Tower 12) and Lake/Wells (Tower 18) to replace the existing system that is more than 30 years old. These are two of the busiest junctions on CTA's rail system. Approximately 115,000 customers travel through the junction at Lake/Wells on a typical weekday and 79,000 through the junction at Van Buren/Wabash. The new systems will help to improve the reliability of service by regulating train movement, speed and intervals at those junctions.

The most intense work will take place on the Lake Street and Wabash Avenue tracks on weekends starting September 5, with some work scheduled on select weeknights that will affect Brown and Green Line trains starting September 3. The work on the elevated lines is scheduled to continue through Thanksgiving 2008.

"By the end of the year we should be at about 7 percent on slow zone restrictions across the rail system," added Huberman. "This investment has resulted in significant travel time improvements for customers and taken the agency in the right direction. We plan to build on that momentum as we move forward."

Work on the slow zone initiatives has been paid for through federal capital funds.

 

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Details for upcoming Loop elevated work:

In preparation of the upcoming weekend work, CTA will temporarily reroute northbound Green Line trains and Brown Line trains to the VanBuren and Wells sections of track on Wednesday, September 3 and Thursday, September 4 from 10 p.m. each night until 4 a.m. the following morning. Reroutes for Wednesday and Thursday are:

Brown Line trains will be rerouted from the outer track to the inner Loop track, and travel clockwise. Entering the Loop, Brown Line trains will make their first stop at Clark/Lake, then State/Lake, Randolph/Wabash, Madison/Wabash, Adams/Wabash, Library, LaSalle/Van Buren, Quincy/Wells and Washington/Wells, then proceed to the Merchandise Mart and resume the normal route.

Northbound Green Line trains will be rerouted from the outer tracks along Wabash and Lake to the inner Loop tracks along Van Buren and Wells. Northbound Green Line trains will make their first stop at Library, then LaSalle/Van Buren, Quincy/Wells and Washington/Wells, then proceed to Clinton and resume the regular route. Southbound Green Line trains and Orange and Pink Line trains will operate normally on the inner track along Lake and Wabash streets.

WEEKEND WORK

Beginning at 10 p.m. Friday, September 5 until 4 a.m. Monday, September 8, Brown, Green, Pink and Orange Line trains operating on the elevated structure will be rerouted to the Wells and Van Buren sections of track.

Southbound Brown Line trains entering the Loop from the Merchandise Mart will operate normally on the outer Loop track until they leave Library station. From Library, they will operate as Orange Line trains and travel to Midway Airport.

Northbound Brown Line trains will operate from Roosevelt to the inner Loop track along Van Buren and Wells. Entering the Loop from Roosevelt, northbound Brown Line trains will stop at Library, then LaSalle/Van Buren, Quincy/Wells to Washington/Wells then operate the normal route to Belmont. At Belmont, CTA will operate Brown Line shuttle trains between Belmont and Kimball due to slow zone removal work on the Brown Line between Belmont and Western. Customers traveling north of Belmont will board Brown Line shuttle trains to complete their trips.

Orange Line trains from Midway will enter the Loop from Roosevelt and operate on the inner Loop track following their normal route to Washington/Wells. They will then operate as Brown Line trains to Belmont stopping at the Merchandise Mart, Chicago, Sedgwick, Armitage, Fullerton, Diversey and Belmont. Northbound trains will then turn back southbound at Belmont and resume normal Brown Line service to the Loop. Southbound from Belmont, trains will enter the Loop from the Merchandise Mart stopping at Washington/Wells, Quincy/Wells, LaSalle/Van Buren, Library and Roosevelt where they will resume normal southbound Orange Line service.

Green Line trains from 63rd entering the Loop from Roosevelt will be rerouted to the inner Loop track along Van Buren and Wells. Northbound Green Line trains will make their first stop at Library, then LaSalle/Van Buren, Quincy/Wells and Washington/Wells, then proceed to Clinton and resume the regular route. Green Line trains from Harlem/Lake will enter the Loop from Clinton and be rerouted to the outer Loop track along Wells and Van Buren. Southbound Green Line trains will make their first stop at Washington/Wells, Quincy/Wells, LaSalle/Van Buren and Library, then proceed to Roosevelt where they will resume normal southbound service.

Pink Line trains will enter the Loop from Clinton and be rerouted to the outer Loop track and travel counter-clockwise. Entering the Loop from Clinton, Pink Line trains will make their first stop at Washington/Wells, then Quincy/Wells, LaSalle/Van Buren and Library, where they will turn and resume normal westbound service on the inner Loop track with the first stop at Library/Van Buren.

 

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Reference Documents:

Weekend and Weekday Loop Project Reroutes

Eliminating CTA Slow Zones

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