When CTA Tattler’s Kevin O’Neil and I launched CTA Station Watch a little over a month ago, we thought it would be a neat way to capture the news generated by the nine CTA station rebuilds planned along the North Red Line.
But as my daughter used to say, we didn’t know it was going to be this much fun.
Here’s what’s been going on:
- The Granville station, closed now for more than a month, is nearing completion of a major facelift of stationhouse, platform and stairwells. The CTA posted photos that show the work isn’t superficial. Crews have torn out and replaced concrete, cut out and re-welded rusty structural steel, and completely refinished the station interior.
- Work at Morse started with extensive track and viaduct work that involved unexpected street closures to make room for machinery, huge piles of stone ballast, and preassembled rail sections. This past weekend, as the station closed for six weeks, contractor Kiewit Infrastructure went wild, completely gutting the stationhouse, tearing down the wood platform, and gutting the storefronts on Lunt. Blogger Ms. Demeanor, a contributor to the crowdsourced CTA Station Watch, called it “Morse-pocalypse” – “lots of noise and mayhem, and it’s totally thrilling.” CTA posted some great photos, too.
- Often with short notice, work has begun on badly needed viaduct repairs and track replacement, first at Thorndale and Jarvis, and starting this weekend at Argyle. This is serious structural work, not simply cosmetic, that addresses the long-crumbling columns and failing parapets that cause all those slow zones. The Argyle viaduct is one of the most deteriorated in the system.
So that’s five projects at once, and that doesn’t even count the building demolition last month adjacent to the Loyola station, to clear space for a new station entrance and plaza paid for by Loyola University, alongside viaduct repairs funded via Sen. Dick Durbin. Later this year, we’ll see station closings and facelifts at Jarvis, Thorndale, Berwyn, Argyle and Lawrence, all part of the $86 million Red North Interim Station Improvements project, and further down the road, a major (very major) rebuild of the Wilson station.
Like I said, fun stuff.
It’s beyond my expectations, and seeing the quality of the work underway, I’m starting to feel really good about the “mighty Red Line” and the neighborhoods it serves. It’s the backbone of the CTA system and its finally getting the re-investment that it needs.
We’ll keep following the action at CTA Station Watch, but it’s too much to do without other photographers, bloggers, tweeters and contributors. Please tell us what you see, submit photos, or comment on the site and via Facebook. Tweet news and photos of the station projects with hashtags like this -- #granvillecta, #morsecta, etc – and they'll appear on the site.
There are 45,000 people riding trains through those stations every day, and 166,000 people in the three neighborhoods. Let’s keep them posted on what’s going on.
This post reprinted from CTA Station Watch. Patrick Barry is a guest blogger on CTA Tattler and co-editor of CTA Station Watch.