Excessive heat causes "track defects," delays on Dan Ryan Red Line

The oppressive heat affected man and machine Thursday.

The heat caused "track defects" on the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line Thursday, which prompted delays during the evening rush. Trains had to operate on a single track between Cermak-Chinatown and Sox-35th.

That same area is currently designated a slow zone, with overnight repairs under way nearly every weeknight in the last few weeks.

During this past winter, the CTA cautiously issued press releases about how it was preparing for the early February blizzard. In fact, I found 26 news releases mentioning snow on the CTA site.

But I haven't seen any similar missive about hot weather. Of course, Mother Nature attacked where the CTA is most vulnerable - in the slow zones.

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  • Stuff expands in the heat, and my air conditioner couldn't get my condo under 80 degrees yesterday afternoon, but there weren't any reports that the adjacent Dan Ryan Expressway--which was rebuilt at the same time as the Cermak to 47th stretch of the rapid transit supposedly was--had buckling problems.

    Maybe it is time to go back to Forrest and ask what really is wrong with that stretch, and why an investigation has not occurred into whether that work was misrepresented or shoddily done. Saying that he needs another $300 million or so on account of the south Red Line isn't sufficient.

  • When I look at the tracks, it appears that the CTA is getting a lower quality of limestone for the ballast lately & that stone is breaking down from the weight of the trains.
    There also may be too many 'fines' in the stone. That's very small particles, while will prevent proper drainage & since they pay by the ton, that adds up.
    Maybe the CTA should try using the granite ballast used on the Class 1 railroads around here for their trains.
    While more expensive, it certainly won't breakdown under the much lighter L trains.

  • Please be aware all of the Red Line Extension Open House on Aug. 2nd; I will be there to interrogate CTA on the cost/benefits ratio of the RLE vs other alternatives:

    http://www.transitchicago.com/redeis/

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