CTA Red Line project update: Rail beds bare, station rehabs begun

Mayor Emanuel crunched his way through ballast on naked rail beds on the south CTA Red Line today to make a point – the $425 million project is “on time and on budget.”

Here’s the update from the CTA:

Six weeks into the project, nearly all of the tracks, ties, third rail and ballast have been removed from the 10 miles of railroad between Cermak-Chinatown and 95th Street. Crews have also begun the rehabilitation of eight of the nine stations that are part of the project, with work including lighting replacement or refurbishment, floor reglazing/repair, painting, cleaning and new elevators at the Garfield, 63rd and 87th stations. The ninth station, 95th Street Terminal, will be reconstructed in a separate, $240 million project next year.

The Red Line South reconstruction is one of the City’s largest current infrastructure projects, and one of the largest transit-related projects in the country. The reconstruction will generate around 1,500 jobs, including 1,000 construction jobs and more than 400 part-time, permanent bus operators. Many of those jobs are being filled by Chicagoans.

To serve customers during the Red Line South reconstruction, which runs through October 2013, the CTA is providing extensive alternative bus and rail service that’s being widely used each day. Free bus shuttles carry passengers between the 95th, 87th, 79th, 69th and 63rd Street station to the Garfield elevated station, where entry is free. Additionally, the CTA if offering a 50-cent discount on all bus rides south of 63rd Street.

Video report from the Chicago Tribune.


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  • "one of the City’s largest current infrastructure projects..."

    Is CDOT doing it? Or does the city take credit when Hyatt or Ricketts builds? CTA is not a part of city government, although Daley and Emanuel don't seem to understand that.

    At the moment, at least 2 of the 4 transit boards have no idea of governance. Probably the RTA, too.

    But I guess CTA is getting its money's worth paying $654 for a PR department, including $153K for the head flack, $122K for an assistant, Tammy Chase, and $94K for Stroger's buddy, and $71K for a "customer feedback programs manager" (public information on its website).

    We better hope that it is fixed to a high state of repair and opens as scheduled in mid October.

  • In reply to jack:


  • In reply to jack:

    OT, but since I'm not going to register at Chicago Bus:
    The Train Tracker signs at NB Garfield don't work correctly.
    Every time I've gone up to the platform, all it shows are NB Red Line trains.
    Example: To Howard in 1 minute & 11 minutes & no Green Line trains. But when the Red got to Indiana, it showed Red "Due" & Green - 5 minutes & the Red that was 10 minutes behind wasn't there anymore.
    I believe that the software can't figure out that a train is scheduled to leave Cottage Grove, but only registers the train when it's left Cottage.
    So Green Line trains don't seem to show up until they've passed King Dr.
    It's a glitch that needs correcting.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Someone had reported similar the first few days of the Red Line out of Ashland-63.

  • In another example of Sisyphus, the Tribune just reported that the Kimball station will have to be shut for 9 days for work on 50 year old tracks.

    Wasn't there a Brown Line project in 2007-9?

  • In reply to jack:

    Plus, the Kimball station & platforms were totally replaced far less than 50 years ago, maybe 30, so why weren't the tracks redone at the same time?
    Or were they & it's just more lies about the track structure from the CTA?

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    You guys need to stop. I would expect you and Jack to know that the Brown Line rehab was all about the stations - to extend them to accommodate 8-10 cars and make them accessible. There was no track work.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    I referred to Sisyphus, i.e. after $500 million in work, it would not be in a state of good repair. So, how many more billions of dollars is it going to take to put the Brown Line into a state of good repair? Ask Brian Steele that.

  • In reply to jack:

    If the $500 million was spent on track and rail work, then you would have every right to complain. But it wasn't, and you don't.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    Kevin, I'm referring to the 1974 rebuild of the station which changed from the old Insull Spanish design to the current on.
    1974 isn't 50 years ago, it's 40.

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