Slow zones on CTA rail lines reached almost 16 percent, according to the most recent map by the CTA. That's the most since the spring of 2008.
But recent announcements give hope - including one on Tuesday about a $66 million track rehab project on the Brown and Purple Lines between the Merchandise Mart and Armitage Avenue, known as the Ravenswood Connector.
Percentage-wise, the most slow zones can be found on:
- The Purple Line (both in Evanston and on the express portion): 23.9%.
- The Brown Line: 23.3%.
- The Red Line: 20.8%
- The Green Line: 20%
The lines with the fewest slow zones are the Orange (1.7%) and Yellow (3.5%).
There also is some hope for Red Line. Within a year, you would expect that the 31.5% of slow zones currently found on the Dan Ryan branch should be just about zero percent, with the completion of the completion of the Red South Track Renewal project. Similarly, by early next year many of the slow zones north of Wilson should be eliminated with the additional $15 million to be spent on North Red Line slow zone and viaduct repair.
On the Loop "L," the Loop Track Renewal project should be complete in spring 2013, eliminating a good chunk of slow zones.
The other big news Tuesday about the Brown Line project is that the CTA and Iron Workers Union Local 1 agreed to work rule changes that will provide more flexibility and costs savings for the CTA.
The agreement will reduce overtime costs. And work rule changes will lower the number of workers required on the afternoon shift, which the CTA said is "typically the least-efficient shift." The union workers will get an hourly wage increase of $1.04, and CTA contributions to the union’s health and pension funds.