Three-Track Operation to Begin on Monday, April 2 at Belmont and Fullerton Stations

April 1, 2007
04/01/07

Southport Brown Line Station Temporarily Closes Monday, April 2

Today CTA officials reminded customers that starting Monday, April 2, Red, Brown and Purple Express trains will operate on three tracks instead of four at the Belmont and Fullerton stations on the City's North Side. 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.

The construction is part of the Brown Line capacity expansion project which, when completed, will allow the CTA to accommodate more customers in this busy and growing corridor and will make all Brown Line stations accessible to people with disabilities.

?We are encouraging customers to consider adjusting their travel patterns ? maybe switching to bus service, or leaving earlier or later, or making a connection that would help speed their trips, or a combination of all of these," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?The work we have done to upgrade signals and switches, and add crossovers throughout the Clark Junction corridor has laid the groundwork to safely operate rail service on one less track than normal, however, losing one track will result in more crowded trains and increased commute times regardless of the operational adjustments that will be made."

Operating trains on one less track at Belmont and Fullerton will allow the CTA to keep both stations open and maintain rail service during construction but will result in more crowded trains and longer commutes for customers on the Brown Line, Purple Line Express and north branch of the Red Line, particularly during the evening commute when 24 fewer northbound trains will operate during the evening rush period. During the morning rush period, nine fewer trains will operate.

"Although there will be some increase in travel time while trains operate through the construction zone, it is the wait time to board a train that will increase significantly. Thus, it is the wait time for an available train that will add to the length of the commute," explained Kruesi. ?There will be fewer trains operating and additional customers using bus service."

To help support the additional demand that is expected to be placed on the bus system, CTA will boost bus service at those points where rail customers are expected to migrate. There are more than 40 bus routes that could be used as alternate transportation, including nine lakefront express routes that provide direct service to and from the Loop during rush periods and CTA will increase bus service on several routes.

Although fewer trains will operate, CTA will stage additional Brown Line trains that will travel only along the heaviest used portion of the rail route during rush hour in order to provide some room for customers who board at stations closer to the Loop. In addition, rail service on the Blue Line, which is a convenient option for many, will be supplemented by adding service along the heaviest traveled portion of the rail routes during rush hour.

?This past week we completed the final preparations for three-track operation," said Kruesi. ?It has been the culmination of more than a year of work and even more in planning, to put the infrastructure in place to make this effort succeed. Over the last few months, we have been testing the reliability of the signals and switches throughout Clark Junction and operating on three tracks during off-peak hours. We are satisfied that all the pieces are in place for this next phase of the Brown Line project."

CTA will continue to staff Brown, Red, Purple and Loop rail stations with Information Specialists who are available to provide customers with maps, brochures and information on alternate service throughout the initial launch of three-track operation. In addition, rail stations as well as trains and buses serving the North Side, have alternate service signs to help customers plan their routes. Increased numbers of Customer Assistants, switchmen, supervisors, repairers and managers have been scheduled to monitor and adjust service during three-track operation, as well as to respond to service disruptions.

CTA's Customer Service department has extended its hours and representatives will be available between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. to assist customers at 1-888-YOUR-CTA (968-7282).

The CTA also reminds customers that common commuter courtesies will help contribute to a faster, more efficient ride for everyone. These include:

  • Have your fare ready.
  • Board quickly. On rail cars, move to the center. On buses, move to the rear.
  • Customers waiting to board should allow passengers to exit first.
  • On buses, exit through the rear doors.
  • Avoid blocking doors as they close.
Officials also reminded customers that the Southport station on the Brown Line will temporarily close for 12 months on Monday, April 2. Construction crews will work to upgrade and extend platforms, rebuild the stationhouse and make the station accessible to customers with disabilities.

Customers can continue to access Brown Line service via the Paulina and Belmont stations which are adjacent to the Southport station. In addition, six CTA bus routes provide service near the Southport station on weekdays and weekends.

Station specific information related to three-track operation and details on the Brown Line capacity expansion project is also available on CTA's web site, www.transitchicago.com, and the Brown Line web site, www.ctabrownline.com

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Three Track Service Details

CTA will boost bus service at those points where rail customers are expected to migrate. Because buses and trains are more crowded the closer they are to the Loop, CTA would add buses to several routes at key segments to add capacity where and when it is most needed.

During the evening rush period (3 to 6:30 p.m.), CTA will increase service northbound from the Loop on the:

  • #11 Lincoln/Sedgwick
  • #22 Clark
  • #147 Outer Drive Express
  • #148 Clarendon/Michigan Express
During the morning rush period (6 to 9:30 a.m.), CTA will increase service southbound on the:
  • #11 Lincoln/Sedgwick
  • #22 Clark
  • #134 Stockton/LaSalle Express
  • #135 Clarendon/LaSalle Express
  • #151 Sheridan
The area impacted by three-track operation has an extensive bus network that complements rail service with more than 40 bus routes that could be used as alternate transportation, including nine lakefront express routes that provide direct service to and from the Loop during rush periods. Additional bus routes that provide service or connections between the Loop and the North Side include:
  • #8 Halsted
  • #9 Ashland
  • #X9 Ashland Express
  • #20 Madison
  • #X20 Washington/Madison Express
  • #36 Broadway
  • #49 Western
  • #X49 Western Express
  • #50 Damen
  • #52 Kedzie/California
  • #53 Pulaski
  • #56 Milwaukee
  • #66 Chicago
  • #65 Grand
  • #70 Division
  • #72 North
  • #73 Armitage
  • #74 Fullerton
  • #76 Diversey
  • #77 Belmont
  • #78 Montrose
  • #80 Irving Park
  • #X80 Irving Park Express
  • #81 Lawrence
  • #82 Kimball/Homan
  • #84 Peterson
  • #92 Foster
  • #136 Sheridan/LaSalle Express
  • #143 Stockton/Michigan Express
  • #144 Marine/Michigan Express
  • #145 Wilson/Michigan Express
  • #146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express
  • #152 Addison
  • #155 Devon
  • #156 LaSalle
CTA will stage additional buses at key locations to supplement these routes as necessary. Where and when additional buses may be added is expected to change regularly as demand dictates throughout each rush period.

Because rail service levels will be reduced and trains will fill up early in the route, the agency will stage additional Brown Line trains that will travel only along the heaviest used portion of the rail route in order to provide some room for customers who board at stations closer to the Loop. In addition, rail service on the Blue Line, which is a convenient option for many, will be supplemented by adding service along the heaviest traveled portion of the rail routes.

- Select Blue Line trains will operate between Jefferson Park and UIC/Halsted at key rush periods to accommodate the highest concentration of customers on that segment of the route.

- Select Brown Line trains will operate between Belmont and the Loop during key rush periods.

- Purple Line Express trains will operate on the outer track in the Loop ? the same side currently used by the Brown Line ? to make it easier for customers to board either route and exit the Loop at the first opportunity.

CTA will monitor and adjust supplemental service as needed throughout three-track operation.

Metra Service

On April 2, Metra service increases on the Union Pacific North Line, providing another alternative for CTA customers. The UP-North schedule includes six new weekday trains and additional stops in North Side communities on five existing runs. The adjusted service adds more than 1,000 seats to Metra's capacity on the UP-North Line. Schedule information can be found on Metra's web site at www.metrarail.com.

Station specific information related to three-track operation and details on the Brown Line capacity expansion project is also available on CTA's web site, www.transitchicago.com, and the Brown Line web site, www.ctabrownline.com.

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