Your New Blue
Newly laid track on the Milwaukee Elevated as part of Your New Blue program

Station, Track & Infrastructure Improvements

Big improvements are in store for the more than 80,000 daily riders of the CTA’s Blue Line O’Hare branch. Among the benefits of the 4-year, $492-million Your New Blue project are a variety of station, track and infrastructure improvements.

The project has begun track work and is currently focusing on station renovations. Find specific improvements headed for your area of the Blue Line here:

 

As we upgrade the Blue Line, we will do our best to limit inconveniences. Riders will see temporary station closures and small delays overnight and on weekends. Check out the latest information on systemwide service changes, sign up for CTA Updates or follow @CTA on Twitter to stay up-to-speed on work that might affect your trip.

 


 

Station improvement work

Grand, Chicago & Division Stations

These stations opened with the Dearborn Subway in 1951. Many elements, including escalators, finishes and entrances were installed when the station opened.

The project’s scope for Grand, Chicago and Division includes:

Your New Blue: Grand
Artist's rendering of possible Grand entrance
  • Entry stairway improvements:
    • New entry kiosks at each stair opening
    • New granite stair treads and risers
    • New glazed wall tiles
    • Repainted ceilings
    • Lighting replacement
  • Mezzanine improvements:
    • Epoxy finish on concrete floor
    • New plaster ceilings
    • New, high-efficiency lighting
    • New stainless steel exit rotogates
  • Stairs to platform:
    • Replacement of escalators
    • Installation of new granite stair treads and risers
    • Repainted ceilings
    • Lighting replacement
  • Platform
    • New granite pavers on platform surface
    • New stainless steel over concrete block walls
    • Replace painted doors with stainless steel
    • New light fixtures in steel shroud over platform
    • Replacement of furniture

 

Damen, Western & California Stations

Completed January 2015: Station rehabilitation work began at the California station, followed by Western and Damen. Though the California and Damen stations were temporarily closed, they were not closed at the same time.

  • California was closed for 42 days, from Sept. 4 until Oct. 16, 2014.
  • Damen was closed for 63 days, from Oct. 20 until Dec. 22, 2014.
  • Western remained open throughout the improvements.
     

During the closures, additional #56 Milwaukee bus service was added during weekday rush hours, with “owl” service during overnight hours to link the closest stations in either direction of the closed station.

In addition, Divvy, a program of the Chicago Department of Transportation, is Chicago’s bike sharing system served as an alternative for customers during this period. There are Divvy docking stations located near the Damen and California train stations, their neighboring Blue Line stations and throughout the neighborhood. See a map of where Divvy stations are located or find more information about this CDOT program at divvybikes.com.

Some temporary street and alley closures were necessary, as well as parking restrictions, at various times during this project. In the months prior to work beginning and then throughout station work, CTA detailed this project information and impacts to service for Blue Line riders, as well as local elected officials, community members and business owners.
 

Damen Station

Damen Stairway Before and After Work
Damen stairway before and after project work

Damen Platform Before and After Work

Damen platform before and after project work

DamenPlatform Before and After Work
Addtional platform improvements at Damen

 

Completed December 2014

The Damen station first opened for service in 1895.

The project scope for Damen includes:

  • Station Exterior:
    • Restoring historic masonry walls and entrance canopy
    • New architectural lighting mounted to elevated structure
    • Installation of new roofing
    • Improve signage, wayfinding and other communications
    • Upgrade auxiliary exit to North Avenue, including stair repair
    • Installation of public art (installed after completion of station work)
  • Station House Entry:
    • Installation of additional turnstiles and wider gates
    • Repainting of elevated structure
    • Installation of new lighting on elevated structure to highlight historic station façade
    • Replacement of concrete paving
    • Installation of new bike racks
  • Station House:
    • Replacement of wood flooring with granite
    • Restoring historic masonry walls and entrance canopy
    • Renewal of interior wall and ceiling finishes
    • Improve electrical service, including LED lighting
    • Replacement of agent’s booth with pre-fabricated stainless steel booth
    • Upgrade water and sewer utilities
    • Repair mezzanine stairway (paint, repair balustrades, replace damaged treads/risers, etc.)
    • Remove concession space, increasing space for customers from 487 square feet to 660 square feet
  • Bike Storage Room:
    • Installation of finished flooring and ceiling
    • Replacement of lighting
    • Upgrades to bike storage system
  • Platform:
    • Repairs to historic platform stairs
    • Restore historic guardrails
    • Replacement of wood deck with new wood deck with tactile edge
    • Replacement of platform furniture (windbreaks, benches, trash containers, etc.)

  

Western Station

Rendering of Western Main Entrance
Artist's rendering of improved Western main entrance

Completed January 2015

Work on the Western Station began in the fall of 2014. The station remained open throughout the project.

The Western station, which was rebuilt in 2000 - 01, is already a modern facility in a good state of repair. 

The project’s scope for Western included:

  • Upgrades of sewer and water utilities
  • Installation of public art (installed after completion of station work)
  • Addition of new bike racks
  • Installation of new canopy with LED lighting to highlight the station’s façade
  • Upgrades to auxiliary entrance and exit, including painting to stairs and decorated perforated panels

 

California Station

Califiornia Exterior After Work
Rehabilitated California station house exterior and repainted
infrastructure

California Interior After Work
Interior of the expanded and modernized station
house 

California Platform
Rehabilitated platform (i.e. new decking, tactile edging,
lighting, signage and railings)

Completed (October 2014)

The California station, like Damen, opened for service in 1895.

The project’s scope for California includes:

  • Station Exterior:
    • Upgrade lighting to include LED lights
    • Improve signage, wayfinding and other communications
    • Installation of public art (installed after completion of station work)
  • Station House Entry:
    • Repainting of elevated structure
    • Installation of new lighting on elevated structure to highlight the station’s historic façade
    • Replacement of concrete paving
    • Installation of new bike racks
  • Station House:
    • Replacement of concrete flooring with granite
    • Restore historic masonry walls and entrance canopy
    • Renewal of interior wall and ceiling finishes
    • Replacement of agent’s booth with prefabricated stainless steel booth
  • Platform:
    • Replacement of wood deck with new wood deck with tactile edge
    • Replacement of platform furniture (windbreaks, benches, trash containers, etc.)

   

Logan Square Station

Designed by famous Chicago architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the Logan Square subway station replaced an 1895 elevated station with a modern, airy, open, subway station underground.

The project’s scope for Logan Square includes:

  • Station upgrades:
    • Auxiliary entrance / plaza on south side of Milwaukee
    • Auxiliary entrances on Spaulding
    • Upgrade station electrical (power and lighting)
    • Refurbishment of two elevators
  • Transit-oriented development concepts around the station:
    • Potential mixed use (retail + residential)

Belmont Station

Belmont Canopy Night Rendering

Conceptual rendering of architectural canopy for the Belmont Blue Line station entrance. 

One of the busiest bus-to-rail transfer locations, serving both the #77 Belmont and the #82 Kimball/Homan routes, the Belmont station was constructed in 1970 and has only received minor repairs and upgrades since its opening.

The project's scope for Belmont includes:

  • Construction of new street level 'gateway' canopy designed by architectural firm Carol Ross Barney
  • New signage
  • Replace concrete in bus turnaround
  • Replace platform surface at track level
  • Paint interior surfaces
  • Electrical upgrades

Addison Station

Completed November 2016

Upgrades to the Addison station began in fall 2015 with the goal of improving the station and adding an elevator to make the station fully accessible.

The project's scope for Addison includes:

  • Elevator installation
  • Construction of a new stairway
  • Extension of the stationhouse to enclose new stairway
  • Repair of platform edge and replacement of tactile edge
  • Improvements to the platform and platform canopies
  • Repair and refurbishment of platform furniture (i.e. benches, windbreakers, trashbins, etc.)
  • New platform and stationhouse lighting and security cameras
  • Deep cleaning and painting of stationhouse and platform

Designed by famous Chicago architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the Addison station was part of the Kennedy Extension opened in 1970.

  

Jefferson Park Station

201809JeffPkRender
Proposed artist rendering of new Jefferson Park bus terminal

Designed by famous Chicago architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the Jefferson Park station was the terminus of the original Kennedy Extension of the Milwaukee ‘L’ and opened in 1970. Service would later be extended beyond this station to O’Hare International Airport.

The project’s scope for Jefferson Park includes:

  • Bus turnaround improvements:
    • Replacement of entry canopy
    • New LED lighting
    • Installation of public art
    • New HD cameras and public announcement speakers
    • Reconfigured layout for improved accessibility
    • Refinished furniture (i.e. benches, trash bins, windbreaks, etc.)
    • New signage, wayfinding and digital displays
    • Repair/replace concrete
  • Station improvements:
    • Repair to roof and deteriorated curtain wall
    • Electrical upgrades
    • Repainting of the station exterior
    • Replacement of the escalators and stairs
    • Replacement of lighting
    • Repair and refinishing of all surfaces
  • Platform improvements:
    • Replacement of platform edge and topping
    • Replacement of the canopy skylight system
    • Replacement of lighting
    • Repair and refinishing of all surfaces
    • Repair/replace furniture (i.e. benches, windbreaks, etc.)
    • New signage
    • New HD cameras


InfoSeptember 2018 update

Work is beginning at this station and the following major work events begin Monday, October 1 at the Jefferson Park Transit Center:

Beginning 4am Mon, Oct 1 (thru Fri, Oct 19)
O’Hare-bound Trains Bypass Jefferson Park Station
O’Hare-bound trains will not stop at Jefferson Park station.

  • For O'Hare-bound service from Jefferson Park station, take a Forest Park-bound train to Montrose and transfer to an O’Hare-bound train.
  • For O'Hare-bound service to Jefferson Park station, stay on an O’Hare-bound train to Harlem (O’Hare branch) and transfer to a Forest Park-bound train.

Consider using the adjacent stations at Montrose or Harlem, where trains in both directions continue to stop.
See alert for full details, including additional bus alternative information

 

Beginning 9am Mon, Oct 1 
Jefferson Park North Bus Terminal Temporary Closure

To renovate the Jefferson Park Blue Line Station bus terminal and rebuild the bus bays, temporary closure of the north terminal will be required. While the north terminal is closed, the south terminal will remain open at all times.

During the closure, the boarding locations for bus routes will be moved; some routes will board at a temporary stop on Milwaukee Avenue.

Map showing north terminal bus closures (check stops table below for detailed route-stop info), most routes in South Terminal areas, but routes 68, 81W, 85A and 88 will call at Stop Z, located on northbound Milwaukee Avenue in front of the station

See alert for full details, including bus boarding location information

Other alerts and more: 

 

Irving Park thru Cumberland Stations

Completed November 2016

These stations opened either as part of hte Kennedy extension via subway and expressway median from Logan Square ro Jefferson Park, or as part of the extension toward O'Hare, which was completed in 1984.

The project’s scope for these stations included:

  • Renewal work of each stationhouse and platform, which includes painting and new lighting
  • Platform canopy repairs at all locations
  • Rehab platform furniture (i.e. benches, windbreakers, trash bins, etc.) at all locations
  • Repair platform edges at all locations
  • New concrete platform topping and tactile edging at Addison, Irving Park, Montrose and Cumberland
  • Repair and replace damaged platform granite pavers and new tactile edging at Harlem
  • Replacement and rehabilitation of curtain walls of stationhouse, platform, and walkways at Cumberland and Harlem, respectively
  • Walkway railing and edge plate replacement at Irving Park and Montrose
  • Improved lighting and security
     

 


Your New BlueYour New BlueYour New BlueYour New Blue

Track & infrastructure work

Milwaukee Elevated Improvements

Major improvement work on the Milwaukee Blue Line tracks occurred in 2014, improving the elevated tracks near Milwaukee Ave., from south of the Logan Square stop through the Damen stop. This section of the line opened in 1895 and the structure that supports the tracks was also built during that era.

The project's scope for the Milwaukee Elevated includes:

  • Replacement of wooden track ties atop the structure
  • Replacement of tie plates and fasteners
  • Replacement of foot walks
     

More information: Milwaukee Blue Line Track Renewal

 

Dearborn Subway Improvements

The Dearborn Subway was largely built in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and opened in 1951. Blue Line service operates through the Dearborn Subway from near Division to near Clinton, through the downtown area .

The project’s scope for the Dearborn Subway includes:

  • Installation of water management system in the subway tubes/tunnels
  • Replacement of damaged concrete rail ties
  • Repairs to station caused by water infiltration, including:
    • Repairing and repainting walls in tube/tunnel
    • Repairing, cleaning and refinishing platform surfaces
    • Installing new platform lighting
    • Replacing signage

 

Kimball Subway Improvements

The Kimball Subway, inside which the Belmont and Logan Square stations are situated, opened in 1970 as part of an extension of the old elevated to Logan Square through a subway and expressway median line out to Jefferson Park (before the line was extended to O’Hare).

The project’s scope for the Kimball Subway includes:

  • Installation of a water management system within the tunnels
  • Replacement of damaged rail ties
  • Repairs to station caused by water infiltration, including:
    • Cleaning masonry walls in tunnels
    • Repairing, cleaning and refinishing platform surfaces 
    • Replacing signage at platform