Signal Improvement Work to Benefit Blue Line O’Hare Branch Service

May 2, 2019

CTA beginning significant upgrade to rail signal system between Jefferson Park and O’Hare as part of Your New Blue project to improve service

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is moving forward with track signal and related track work improvements along the Blue Line O’Hare branch, between Jefferson Park and O’Hare. The work is part of Mayor Emanuel’s Your New Blue (YNB), a $492 million modernization program to provide faster, smoother and more reliable commutes along the O’Hare branch of the Blue Line – one of the city’s busiest rail lines.

As part of this work, CTA will replace a nearly four-decade-old signal system, marking the first major upgrade to this section of the Blue Line since it was extended by eight miles, from Jefferson Park to O’Hare, in the early 1980s. This $207 million project will help improve Blue Line service by allowing CTA to add trains to meet increased demand, and will help improve the reliability of service.

The track signal improvement work will require seven, temporary, weekend-only and two extended service disruptions along a small section of the Blue Line (known as line-cuts), between May and November. The first line-cut is scheduled for this weekend:

  • Friday, May 3, 2019, 10 p.m. – Monday, May 6, 2019, 4 a.m.
    Affecting service between Jefferson Park and Harlem

During this time, CTA will provide free bus shuttle service between the Jefferson Park and Harlem Blue Line stations. Shuttles will operate approximately every 3 to 6 minutes from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m., and approximately every 7 to 15 minutes overnight.

Rail riders who use the free shuttle bus service will be granted a free transfer, upon re-entering the rail system at either the Jefferson Park or Harlem stations. Passengers will need to re-tap their Ventra payment devices on rail station fare machines, but they will not be charged for a second fare.

As with all major construction projects, every effort is being made to minimize the impact of work on both commuters and the community as CTA works to improve Blue Line service for the long term.

The next weekend line-cut is currently scheduled for the weekend of May 17-20, affecting service between the Jefferson Park and Harlem stations on the O’Hare branch. This track and signal work follows a number of other projects that are either completed or underway as part of the historic YNB program, which was announced in 2013. Other projects include the modernization of 14 rail stations, of which nine are complete, as well as track renewal and infrastructure work. YNB is part of more than $8 billion of transit investment begun under Mayor Emanuel since 2011. To learn more, visit: transitchicago.com/yournewblue/.

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