Holiday Travel Times to O'Hare Improve Due to Slow Zone Elimination Project

December 8, 2008

Existing Slow Zones Along CTA’s Rail System Down to 6.8 percent

Chicago Transit Authority President Ron Huberman today announced travel time across the rail system has improved as a result of an aggressive plan to eliminate slow zones. Slow zones now exist on only 6.8 percent of the rail system, down from 22.3 percent in October 2007.
Since that time, a total of 183,000 feet of slow zones have been removed from a high of 263,526 feet. The CTA rail system contains 224.1 miles of track.
"I am pleased that we are fast closing in on our goal to eliminate slow zones from our rail system, which will make our train service faster, safer and more reliable," said Huberman. "Faster service is a tangible benefit our customers should appreciate particularly while heading to the airport during the holiday season."
On the O’Hare branch of the Blue Line, slow zones existed on 62 percent of the track. CTA renewed a total of 111,845 track feet and eliminated 95,414 feet of slow zones, resulting in a reduction of slow zones to three percent of the branch. 
Due to track conditions prior to the elimination project, trains along the O’Hare branch were under speed restrictions – in some areas trains operated as slow as 6 miles per hour. With the majority of the work completed, speeds will increase 19 percent – with trains traveling up to 58 miles per hour.
With removal of the speed restrictions, customers can travel to O’Hare from the Loop in under 45 minutes. A trip from the Loop to the Jefferson Park station can be made in under 30 minutes and from the Loop to Logan Square in under 20 minutes. Prior to the work a trip to O’Hare could take approximately one hour.
"Through an aggressive construction schedule, we are making good on our promise to eliminate the speed restrictions that were a source of frustration for so many customers," Huberman said. "There still is work to be done, but we will continue to be aggressive in our efforts and thank customers for their continued patience as we work to improve our infrastructure."
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