New Red-Purple choices: No subway, modernization with and without station closings

Forget about a new subway north of Addison. But station closings are still possible as part of the revised CTA's Red Purple Modernization plans.

Where once there were six alternatives, three of them have been eliminated, and a fourth one added basic on public input from meetings last year. The CTA this week held two open houses to release these new alternatives and get new rider input. (Ironically, the Tuesday meeting at the Broadway Armory was accessible from the Thorndale Red Line station, which is slated for closed under one of the alternatives under consideration.)

The alternatives were laid out on presentation boards at the meetings, and summarized in a handout:

The original alternatives were:

  1. No Action
  2. Basic Rehabilitation
  3. Basic Rehabilitation with Transfer Stations
  4. Modernization 4-track (includes station consolidation)
  5. Modernization 3-track (includes station consolidation)
  6. Modernization 2-track Underground (includes station consolidation)

Current alternatives:

  1. No Action
  2. Basic Rehabilitation with Transfer Stations, now called “Basic Rehabilitation”
  3. Modernization 4-Track (includes station consolidation), now called “Modernization” and includes consolidated stations
  4. New! Modernization 4-Track without consolidation, called “Modernization without Consolidation”

Essentially, we're down to two alternatives to consider, after throwing out No Action and Basic Rehabilitation.

Read other posts on details of Modernization without Consolidation and Modernization including Consolidation of stations.


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  • I like both plans of these, they both seem realistic. I'm happy to see both include eliminating a lot of the curves.

    I'm really excited though about the Brown line flyover & the 10 car capacity on the Red line. Were Belmont & Fullerton even re-built to accommodate 10 cars?

  • In reply to joeconey:

    Yes Joe, I'm fairly certain Belmont and Fullerton can handle 10 cars.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    No, they can't.

  • A couple of things:

    - With the Loyola and Wilson Express stations, will this mean a full time express service? If they're going to run 10 car red line trains, why do they need the Purple to stop more often? Talk about providing too much capacity.

    - I do like the elimination or curves. Sheridan is a KILLER. It seems as if Sheridan/ Irving Park will become a local only station, eliminating the possibility of purple lines stopping there for cubs games.

    - Wait. Brown Line flyover? Probably the best idea out of them all. I am waiting to hear how they're going to pull that off. Just a few possibilities in my head would require property acquisition to keep all four tracks running up to Howard, if not, then the nb purple would have to jump over to the red line track, still causing the same problem as the brown today (but only during rush).

    And um, isn't the RFP that was just sent out basically the new alternative? Modernization without consolidation?

  • In reply to ibright05:

    ibright: The RFP was strictly cosmetic. Fix-up the stations so they can survive till the CTA gets the cash to do this major rehab.

  • In reply to ibright05:

    Regarding the flyover, I think it can be done within the width of the existing Red/Brown/Purple 'L' structure. From the south, Track 4 (the easternmost one) slowly goes up to a level necessary to provide clearance for the other 3 tracks under the flyover, then slowly comes down to the level of the other tracks on the north side.

    The grading of Track 4 from both directions (and the NB Brown Line track outbound of Clark Junction) can be very minimal, as there is no station within 1/4 mile of Clark Junction, which makes me think this could be feasible from an engineering perspective, and possibly avoid any possible demolition of nearby structures.

  • Sorry to see the subway being knocked from consideration. I had been looking forward to a new park and bike path in the abandoned elevated right-of-way. Oh, well.

  • In reply to emglatstein:

    I don't think that would have worked. Most likely, it would have wound up like the old Kenwood branch with the embankments staying while the bridges were taken out. A lot of those bridges are falling apart and it is only a matter of time before someone going under one gets hit with debris.

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