This year, we’re launching FastTracks, a comprehensive program of track repairs and maintenance designed to provide you with a faster commute and smoother 'L' ride.
Work performed as part of the FastTracks program will reduce up to six minutes off a typical round-trip commute on the Red, Blue, Brown and Green lines, by repairing and upgrading rail, rail ties and electrical power in multiple locations throughout the system.
This program is the latest step in Mayor Emanuel's unprecedented investment toward modernizing and improving our rail and bus service. Since 2011, we've completed, begun or announced more than $8 billion in modernization projects, ranging from new and completely rebuilt rail stations to new buses and railcars.
What work is being done?
FastTracks will address numerous “slow zones” where trains travel lower than optimal speed—fixing current slow zones and helping prevent others from occurring. To achieve this, crews will replace worn rail, rail ties and ballast, which are important to maintain the gauge of the track and support the trains’ weight, which will make rides smoother, more comfortable and more reliable.
Also, electrical power improvements will be made along the Blue Line O’Hare branch, which when complete will allow us to run additional trains during high-ridership times – like the morning rush period on weekdays – to help address crowded trains and reduce the amount of time you have to wait on platforms.
Which rail line branches will receive improvements?
- Green Line - South Side main line and branches (between 18th and 35th Streets; between 35th and 59th Street; and along both the Cottage Grove and Ashland branches)
- Green and Pink lines on Lake Street 'L' (between Clinton and Ashland)
- Blue Line - O’Hare branch (electrical power improvements)
- Red Line subway (downtown State Street Subway)
- Blue Line subway (downtown Dearborn Subway)
- Blue Line - Forest Park Branch (Clinton to Forest Park)
- Brown Line - Ravenswood Branch (Western to Kimball)
Work will be performed in phases and will begin in early 2018 and continue through 2021. A more detailed schedule will be announced shortly.
How will this affect my commute?
We will work closely with local communities and elected officials to communicate any potential impacts throughout the project. Work will be completed outside of weekday peak-ridership hours to minimize the impact to customers.
This $179 million investment is being funded through a small increase in fees charged to app-based ride-hailing companies operating in Chicago. The fee, proposed by the Mayor and approved by City Council in November, is the first of its kind in the country to directly support investment in public transportation.