CTA’s Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project Begins Final Major Stage of North Belmont Red-Purple Reconstruction

December 4, 2023

RPM has so far built 1.4 miles of new track, providing more reliable service for CTA customers

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) today announced a major milestone for the Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project’s North Belmont Red-Purple Reconstruction project: The CTA has put into service two new Red and Purple elevated track structures between Belmont and Addison stations; and, the agency will now begin the final major phase of construction in this area, which includes fully rebuilding the remaining two, century-old Red and Purple elevated tracks.

Combined with other project improvements -- including the completion of the Red-Purple Bypass in November 2021 and new Red and Purple line track between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr avenues in July 2023 – the CTA’s RPM Phase One Project has now delivered nearly 1.4 miles of new track structure, provide smoother, more reliable service to CTA customers. Remaining project work, including four new Red Line stations at Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr, will be completed in 2025.

“We are bringing better transit to our customers by modernizing the CTA Red Line, which is the transportation backbone of our city and provides critical transportation to thousands of Chicagoans every day,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “With new track and four new, fully accessible Red Line stations to open in two years, I am pleased that the RPM project is delivering on its promise to provide world-class transportation to Chicago.”

Red and Purple line service will continue throughout the project through its completion in 2025.

Work completed since RPM project groundbreaking in 2019

CTA’s RPM project contractor, Walsh-Fluor, has completed two-thirds of the RPM project’s work in the area between Belmont and Addison, including three major milestones: 

  • The Red-Purple Bypass opened in November 2021 to reconstruct the Red, Purple and Brown Line train junction north of Belmont to increase CTA’s ability to add capacity (more trains) and reduce train delays.
  • Reconstruction of what will be the southbound tracks post-construction between Belmont and Addison stations began in late 2021 and has now been completed December 2023.
  • Upgrade of the Loop-bound Brown Line tracks between Southport and Belmont including foundation rehabilitation, lead abatement and steel rehabilitation, also now completed.
  • CTA now begins the reconstruction of what will be the northbound Red and Purple track structures.

In the project area between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr, the CTA is also on its final major construction phase:

  • CTA completed reconstruction in July 2023 of what will be the northbound Red and Purple line track structure and began the final major phase of work to rebuild the remaining two track structures that will carry southbound trains when construction is completed.
  • CTA is nearing completion demolition of the century-old track and embankment structure and has begun drilling new foundations for the new tracks
  • CTA has also begun the preliminary work to build the four new Red Line stations at Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr.

RPM Phase One Overview

RPM Phase One Project includes three major components:

  • Reconstruction of the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr Red Line stations into larger, 100 percent accessible stations; and replacement of track structure totaling six track-miles (ongoing).
  • New Red-Purple Bypass construction (completed in 2021) and the reconstruction of Red and Purple Line track structure between Belmont and Newport/Cornelia (ongoing).
  • Installation of a new signal system on 23 track miles between Howard and Belmont that, similar to roadway traffic signals, will improve train flow and service reliability (ongoing).

The Red Line and RPM

The CTA’s Red Line is CTA’s busiest rail line, historically providing more than 67 million rides a year and serving some of the most densely populated neighborhoods in U.S.

The RPM Program, which will be done in multiple phases, will rebuild the 9.6-mile stretch of Red and Purple Line track structure and stations on the North Side that are a century old. RPM will replace aging infrastructure; increase CTA’s capacity to increase train service as needed; and improve our service for customers with more reliable, comfortable service. Future phases of RPM have not yet been announced and are currently unfunded. For more information on RPM Next Phases, please visit transitchicago.com/rpm/next-phases.

Learn more about RPM online at transitchicago.com/RPM and sign up for project alerts at transitchicago.com/RPMalerts.

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