CTA to Place New Northbound Track and Platform at Fullerton Station into Service Over Weekend

January 23, 2007
1/23/07

Temporary Station Entrance Opens at Sedgwick Brown Line Monday Morning

Chicago Transit Authority officials gathered today at the Fullerton station on the Brown Line to announce that crews will be placing the newly constructed northbound platform and tracks into service over the weekend. The new platform and tracks are located east of the current platform and tracks.

Starting early Saturday and continuing through the weekend, northbound Brown Line trains will share the same track with northbound Red Line trains at Fullerton station while construction crews connect the existing platform to the new platform and connect the new northbound Brown Line tracks to the existing northbound tracks at both ends of the platform.

Normal northbound service will resume Monday morning at Fullerton, but Brown and Purple Express trains will use the new track and customers will board from the newly constructed platform. The new platform will connect to the old platform so customers will continue to have an accessible transfer between Red, Brown and Purple Express trains. When three-track operation begins at Fullerton in April, northbound Red, Brown and Purple Express trains will all operate on the new northbound track served by the new platform.

?Having the new platform and new track at Fullerton in place prior to beginning three-track operations throughout this corridor is key to keeping this station open to customers during the remaining construction work for the Brown Line capacity expansion project," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?Coordinating construction work at 18 stations while maintaining service for customers throughout is no small feat. We have committed a great deal of time and effort developing and implementing plans for this project so we can simultaneously operate service and increase capacity. Although we have asked our customers to make adjustments to their travel patterns because of the work, the most important thing is that trains are continuing to run and provide service for our customers."

In addition to the work at Fullerton, a temporary station entrance will open for customers at the Brown Line's Sedgwick station on Monday morning so crews may rebuild the existing entry. The temporary entrance is located on Hudson, approximately one block west of the existing Sedgwick stationhouse. Customers may walk from North Avenue to Hudson, and continue one-quarter block south to the temporary station entrance. The temporary entrance will provide the same amenities as the existing entrance, including a Customer Assistant and farecard vending machines.

Crews are currently completing work to configure the newly installed signal system at Clark Junction that will help to manage train traffic when Red, Brown and Purple Express train operations are reduced from four tracks to three. Earlier this month CTA provided preliminary details of the rail operations plan when three-track operations are scheduled to begin at the Belmont and Fullerton stations on April 2. The start date will not be finalized until all work is completed and passes tests for reliability.

Although trains will continue to stop at the stations, one of the four tracks along the platforms at each station must be taken out of service while the platform is rebuilt and tracks are reconfigured to allow room for elevators to be installed. The specific track to be taken out of service will vary during the course of the project.

At the end of 2006, crews completed work to add crossover tracks throughout the rail junction that runs from Armitage to Addison laying the groundwork for CTA to safely operate rail service on one less track than normal. The additional crossovers and upgraded signal systems provide more locations where CTA can move trains from one track to another as needed throughout three-track operation and will improve the efficiency of operations once construction along the Brown Line is completed at the end of 2009.

?Although we have known that we would have to reduce track operations at these stations since the project's inception in 1998 and we have taken a number of steps to prepare for that, losing one track will result in more crowded trains and increased commute times regardless of the preparatory steps we have taken," added Kruesi. ?Between now and April 2, customers have the opportunity to plan ahead for their commutes under three track. We suggest they consider leaving earlier or later than they do now, or consider alternatives such as the Blue Line or other CTA rail or bus routes, or other regional transit such as Metra."

With 25 percent less track capacity, CTA will operate fewer Red, Brown and Purple Express trains. During the first phase of work, which is expected to last nine months, the greatest impact will be evident during evening rush hour because three northbound lines will share one track at Fullerton and Belmont.

As a result, during evening rush hours (3 ? 6:30 p.m.), the CTA will have approximately 25 percent less capacity ? the equivalent of more than 17,400 customers if trains were fully loaded. Thirty-one fewer northbound Purple Express, Red and Brown Line trains will operate during this time.

Morning rush will also be congested because the number of southbound Purple Express, Red and Brown Line trains will be reduced by 16 trains. In terms of customer capacity, it translates to approximately 13 percent less capacity, or space for 8,600 fewer rail customers.

?When the Brown Line project is completed and platforms are long enough to accommodate eight-car trains, customers will benefit by being able to get on a train rather than wait for the next, hopefully less crowded train to arrive so they can board," stated Kruesi. "All of the stations along the line will be accessible with elevators or ramps and wheelchair accessible turnstiles, and the renovated stations with wider stairways and more turnstiles will be a much needed and welcome change."

Complete service details are as follows:

1 a.m. Saturday, January 27 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 29
At Fullerton station, northbound Brown Line trains will share the same track with northbound Red Line trains. Northbound Brown Line customers will board on the same side of the platform (west) as northbound Red Line customers.

Northbound Brown Line trains will be unable to stop at the Diversey station during these hours. Northbound customers who wish to exit at the station should travel to Wellington, board a southbound Brown Line train and ride back to Diversey. Northbound customers who want to board at the Diversey station should board a southbound train at Diversey and travel to Fullerton station to board a northbound Brown Line train.

Southbound service is not affected. Normal northbound Brown Line service will resume at 5 a.m. Monday, January 29.

5 a.m. Monday, January 29 ? Sedgwick Temporary Station Entrance Opens at Hudson

On Monday, January 29 at 5 a.m., the temporary Brown Line Sedgwick station entrance will open for service. The temporary station entrance is located on Hudson, approximately one block west of the existing Sedgwick stationhouse. Customers may walk from North Avenue to Hudson, and continue one-quarter block south to the temporary station entrance. The temporary entrance will provide the same amenities as the existing one, including a Customer Assistant and farecard vending machines.

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