CTA Red Line Change is Dramatic for the South Loop

CTA Red Line Change is Dramatic for the South Loop
The Red Line going down into the tunnel at Roosevelt photo/Bonnie McGrath

Yes, the first minute I could yesterday, I took a ride on the "new" Red Line out of the South Loop.  I couldn't wait to see what it would be like to come up out of the tunnel just slightly south of Roosevelt, inching up and up and up until the train joined its new tracks on the Green Line/Orange Line  route.

I travelled from Roosevelt to the 35th street stop.  And back again--because I couldn't wait to see what it would be like to go down into the tunnel slightly south of Roosevelt, inching down and down and down again until the train joined its old tracks on its regular route to Howard.

This route is historical in Chicago--that's how the old "Red Line" trains to Howard/Englewood and Howard/Jackson Park use to go, the old tracks refurbished in recent weeks to make this dramatic, albeit temporary change.  Yesterday, of course, was a lazy hazy Sunday and a good tryout day for the new changes to the Red Line.

For all practical purposes, the Red Line, for the next few months, will start and end at Roosevelt.  The tracks and stations from Cermak to 95th Street are being rebuilt, in case you haven't heard.  Unless you want to go to 63rd and Ashland--or somewhere along the Green Line Route on the way to 63rd and Ashland--you have to exit the Red Line and make other arrangements or skip it altogether and come up with a new route.  Or use the shuttles provided by the CTA to make up for the disruption.  It's all very complicated--although the CTA is trying to smooth the way for its South Side riders.

One interesting aspect to the change is for riders who want to go to or from Cermak in Chinatown.  There is a short-trip free shuttle--R22--to and from Roosevelt and State.  Which begs the question.  Let's say you want to go to Chinatown for dinner and you don't want to walk from Roosevelt and State--where I live.  Because it's raining or something.  Can you hop the free shuttle for a free ride over there and back?  Or is there some way you have to prove you are using the shuttle as an extension--or pre-extension--of a Red Line ride?

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