CTA slow zone report: Progress on Brown, Blue lines

Everyone hates CTA rail slow zones. Especially the CTA.

Slow zones delay trains and cause people to complain. Slow zones are near the top of the list of complaints I get, and I’m sure for the CTA too.

Fighting slow zones is a never-ending battle for the CTA, especially with a rail system more than 100 years old on some stretches. So it’s news when the CTA has some progress to report.

On Tuesday the CTA posted on its Facebook page that it had removed 10 miles of slow zones in a one-month period from June 9 to July 9.:

For example, we eliminated almost four miles of slow zones through Wicker Park and Logan Square as part of track renewal work related to the Your New Blue project.

In July we continued work on the $71M project to eliminate slow zones on and speed up Brown & Purple Line service on the Ravenswood-Loop Connector, which was built in the 1890s and hosts around 700 trains/day.

Learn more about our efforts to eliminate slow zones and speed up service at http://transitchicago.com/sze.

Slow zone improvement Blue Line


Slow zone improvement Brown Line

I’ve heard plenty of complaints about the south Brown Line slow zones. And the CTA is little bit on defensive about the Brown Line slow zones after a critical RedEye story, that prompted a letter to the editor by the CTA.

Bottom line: We’re seeing progress in this sisyphean task. And that’s a good thing.

If you like this post, please like my Facebook page, and follow me on Twitter.

And, never miss a post! Subscribe now to receive CTA Tattler via email. Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.


Leave a comment
  • fb_avatar

    Making good progress. Red line slow zone between Wellington & Belmont seems to have been eliminated this week.

  • In reply to Seth:

    Good to know. Thanks Seth.

  • As Aquinas Wired would say, indeed a Sisyphean task. While in the spirit of the Facebook pr, they moved the slow zone maps to the link indicated, the July map starts out with that 9% is still slow zoned, including pretty much of the north main north of Wilson, although some now is denoted as "construction." Southbound between Wilson and Clark Jct. isn't much better. One would guess that that affects a disproportionate share of riders.

    At least the south Red, Orange, and Pink are fairly clean,including the longstanding slow zone on the Pink ramp at Kostner no longer on the map.South Green is also pretty clean, but apparently not near 63rd and Halsted, even though that was supposed to be fixed as part of the reroute of the Red Line.

    Finally, the Milwaukee elevated doesn't show as much progress on the map as they claimed on FB.

  • In reply to jack:

    Work is still on going on the Milwaukee elevated, but anecdotally I have noticed slightly faster speeds on my trip home. Before the work started, I had run a timer from Addison to LaSalle. Was running between 24:30 and 26:30 coming and going. I'll have to re-clock these times again as much work has been done since I last checked them.

  • It took me 31 mins 42 seconds to get from Madison/Wabash to Fullerton today on the brown line. Progress indeed.

  • Doug Ruhl in the article is an idiot. His commute takes 30 minutes so he drives? How much time/money is he saving? Maybe he should live in River North or West Loop if sitting on a train is such a big deal.

  • And still, nothing done about the wretched slow zone from Granville to Loyola!
    Even if they get the cash to rebuild the entire line, it will be 10 years before anything is done.
    Fix the damn thing already on the busiest line in the city!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Durbin is already taking credit for the paltry amount awarded for planning. If one really wants construction, take that into account when voting this fall.

  • The west section of the Blue line is a perpetual mess. I take it out from downtown to the Medical District, and it creeps along at 10 mph past UIC. It's been this was for the past several years. I see equipment out there, but never anyone working on it.

  • fb_avatar

    Can you clear something up for me? California and Damen blue line stations will be closed in the near future for construction. Will the blue line train bypass those stations or will there we shuttle bus service to downtown?

  • In reply to Eve Runnels:

    Eve, I will do a separate post on this story later tonight. But here is what the CTA says about additional service - no shuttles:

    To assist customers affected by station closures, the CTA will add additional #56 Milwaukee bus service during weekday morning and evening rush periods, and add “owl” service during the overnight hours to link the closest stations in either direction of the shuttered station.

    In addition, Divvy, a program of the Chicago Department of Transportation, is Chicago’s bike sharing system and may be a great alternative for customers during this period. There are Divvy stations located near California, including California-Milwaukee and Rockwell-Milwaukee; and Damen, including Milwaukee-Wabansia, Damen-Pierce and Leavitt-North. For more Divvy information and locations, visit https://www.divvybikes.com/.

Leave a comment