CTA Begins Next Phase of Major Upgrade of Brown, Purple Line Work

April 3, 2015

Construction will require occasional weekend-only reroutes of Brown Line trains to the Red Line subway; free bus shuttles to be provided at affected stations

The CTA this month will begin the next phase of a major project to rehabilitate the Ravenswood Connector, the elevated rail structure that carries Brown and Purple Line Express trains between Armitage and the Merchandise Mart.

The Ravenswood Connector Rehabilitation Project is eliminating slow zones and creating a smoother, more reliable ride for customers for the more than 40,000 customers who ride Purple and Brown Line trains to and from the Loop each weekday.

The CTA has completed a majority of the first phase of work, which entails extensive repairs and upgrades to fortify the more than 100-year-old elevated structure. Work that has been completed so far has already improved customer commutes -- with roughly 27 percent of slow zones removed since summer 2013. The second phase—which begins Friday, April 10—entails track replacement work atop the elevated structure and will remove all remaining slow zones along this stretch of track. That work requires the following weekend-only temporary service changes:

  • Brown Line trains will run on Red Line subway tracks between Fullerton and Roosevelt and make all Red Line stops.
  • For service to/from the Armitage, Sedgwick, Chicago and Merchandise Mart Brown Line stations, CTA will operate free shuttle buses 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 shuttle buses at Clark/Lake.


The first weekend service change runs from Friday, April 10, at 8 p.m. through Monday, April 13, at 4 a.m., before the start of the morning rush period.

A total of 13 weekends in 2015 will have these same temporary service changes. Work will not occur during large-scale events and summer festivals such as Taste of Chicago and Lollapalooza. CTA will issue reminders to customers at stations, online via service alerts and at transitchicago.com and through media advisories.

The track work beginning on April 10 includes replacing or repairing rails, ties and various track components on the elevated track structure between the Armitage and Merchandise Mart stops — a two-mile section of line that began operating service in 1900. 

The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2015, and the result of the two-year effort will be improved speed and reliability for Brown and Purple line trains.

The $90 million Ravenswood Connector Renovation Project is part of more than $5 billion in transit improvements announced by Mayor Emanuel since taking office in 2011, including projects to modernize existing rail stations and build new stations, purchase new buses and rail cars, and continue investments in technology to benefit customers and provide a better commuting experience.

For more information about the Ravenswood Connector, visit transitchicago.com/ravenswoodconnector.

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