Trains Return to Normal Speeds as Work to Eliminate Slow Zones in the Blue Line Subway is Completed

September 11, 2007

Blue Line riders headed into or out of the Loop should notice significant improvement in their travel times through the subway. The CTA today announced that both northbound and southbound slow zones have been eliminated on the Blue Line subway tracks from Damen to Clark/Lake. Customers can expect to see an improvement in travel times to about a 6 minute trip along that section of track compared to July when trains took about 10 minutes to travel from Damen to Clark/Lake. Since July, crews have been working to replace more than 5,000 deteriorated wooden rail ties with concrete rail ties.

The announcement comes approximately two months after CTA announced an aggressive schedule to eliminate eight miles of slow zones on branches of two of its busiest rail lines ? the north branch of the Red Line and the subway portion of the O'Hare branch of the Blue Line.

?We completed the slow zone elimination in the Blue Line subway ahead of schedule and have returned trains in the subway to normal speeds following the final work that was done over the weekend. We believe that riders will be very pleased with this milestone. They have repeatedly expressed their frustration with the service and this shows our riders that we have heard their dissatisfaction and are serious about backing up our words with actions," said CTA President Ron Huberman. ?I want to thank everyone for their patience throughout the overnight and weekend work that resulted in service disruptions. I hope that our continued progress in eliminating slow zones will reduce their frustration with the service and improve their commute."

CTA is currently out to bid for work on the Blue Line tracks from Addison to O'Hare. Work on the subway portion of the Red Line from Grand to Clark/Division and from Armitage to Diversey along the tracks shared by Brown, Red and Purple Express trains is also underway and will be completed in December.

In July, the Chicago Transit Board approved modifying existing contracts to accomplish more work and allocating existing bond revenue to cover the cost of the necessary repairs. By using vendors already in place and already experienced with this type of work, CTA is able to get more work done in a shorter amount of time than if the work was re-bid.

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