Jarvis rehab to start a week early; new CTA power substation could speed up trains

Because Red Line north station reconstruction is running ahead of schedule, the CTA will close the Jarvis station eight days earlier than originally planned.

Also, next week the CTA will begin construction of a power substation on the embankment about a block south of the Morse station. Both news items come courtesy of an email from 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore.

The Jarvis station will close at 10 p.m. next Thursday, Nov. 1, with reopening set for Dec. 13. Alderman Moore notes this is good news, because the station now will reopen almost two weeks before the Christmas holiday.

To me, the really good news regards the construction of the substation. It will help boost the power on the track and probably reduce slow zones in that area.

The CTA will demolish the retaining wall east of the track between Pratt and Farwell and build the substation and new wall. The new substation will rise about 35 feet as measured from the street, Alderman Moore reports. View architecture renderings of the substation here, here and here.


Leave a comment
  • I fail to see how the substation will reduce slow zones as the trains go way too slow even in off hours when there is only Red Line service every 10-12 minutes or even less.
    Is it replacing the Ardmore substation, or is it in addition to Ardmore?
    Is it in addition to Chicago Ave. in Evanston at the open cut for the Swift,
    or is it replacing that one?

  • I forgot to add that trains ran for decades without slow zones due to power problems up here.
    So why the need for an additional one?

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Scooter, Joe Moore mentioned the slow zones in his email. We're trying to confirm.

  • fb_avatar

    Hi Kevin,

    I created a new blog since I was permanently banned from
    Everyblock. I borrowed a bit of your dialogue for the new
    substation going up at farwell and glenwood. (I gave you credit for it and I wont be doing that very often) That is going to very
    interesting to watch being built. Feel free to borrow any photos
    I may take of it on my blog. Please check out my blog
    I would be interested to hear what you think of it
    as you are a seasoned pro. Glad you made it to the bigs.

    Fellow Neighbor Jeff O.


  • In reply to Jeffrey Olson:

    No worries Jeff. Congrats on the new blog! Always happy to see folks putting their opinions out there in a constructive way.

  • I don't see how a substation can reduce slow zones, but I do see how it will allow more trains to ride on the line like they are planning to add soon... Then again, I'm not a civic engineer that has worked with the CTA system. Better to leave this one to the experts, if we need a substation to fix it, that sounds good to me.

  • In reply to Rob M:

    civil engineer*

  • In reply to Rob M:

    This seems similar to CTA Construction Reports saying in 2005-2007 that they cured slow zones on the Dan Ryan and replaced a couple of substations. No one knows if the two were linked in the sense that the slow zones fixed were electrical ones (Sam92 at first thought so, then not), but obviously not much of anything, and certainly not the slow zones, was permanently fixed on the Dan Ryan. At least those substations also serve the Green Line, so it probably will have enough power to run the replacement service to 63rd.

    There seems to be a correlation (based on Sprague's initial tests on the Richmond trolley system) between the number of cars and ability of the substations to serve them, but I don't know if that actually causes a slow zone.

  • In reply to jack:

    Richmond's trolley system used overhead cables, which probably would not be able to safely carry the amperage that a third rail can. It is also likely that the 5000 series cars are drawing more current than the older cars due to the fact that until the entire system can be converted to AC power they have to use an inverter. As far as I know, Chicago is the only major city using DC power for mass transit trains.

  • In reply to eBob:

    There are no AC third rails, so everyone using AC traction has to use inverters. Same for overhead, such as the South Shore.

    The Metra Electric is running mixed--DC on the 1970s era cars, AC motors on the 1200s.

  • In reply to jack:

    I stand corrected. I looked it up and sure enough all third rail systems worldwide use DC.

Leave a comment