Slow zone work to send Brown Line to subway for 13 weekends

The next phase of work to eliminate slow zones in the Ravenswood Corridor begins this weekend, when the Brown Line will travel in the Red Line subway from  8 p.m. Friday till 4 a.m. Monday.

From the CTA news release:

The CTA has completed a majority of the first phase of work, which entails extensive repairs and upgrades to fortify the more than 100-year-old elevated structure. Work that has been completed so far has removed roughly 27 percent of slow zones since summer 2013. The second phase—which begins Friday, April 10—entails track replacement work atop the elevated structure and will remove all remaining slow zones along this stretch of track. That work requires the following weekend-only temporary service changes:

  • Brown Line trains will run on Red Line subway tracks between Fullerton and Roosevelt and make all Red Line stops.
  • For service to/from the Armitage, Sedgwick, Chicago and Merchandise Mart Brown Line stations, CTA will operate free shuttle buses between Fullerton and Clark/Lake, making stops at or near the affected stations.
  • Additionally, a shuttle train will operate around the Loop, providing connections between Brown Line service in the subway to all Loop “L’ stations, as well as shuttle buses at Clark/Lake.

This reroute will occur for a total of 13 weekends, excluding weekends featuring large-scale events and summer festivals such as Taste of Chicago and Lollapalooza. Work is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

The $90 million Ravenswood Connector Renovation Project includes replacing or repairing rails, ties and various track components on the elevated track structure between the Armitage and Merchandise Mart stops — a two-mile section of line that began operating service in 1900.

As they say, it’s a temporary inconvenience for a permanent improvement.


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  • Anyone know if there is a speed limit for trains passing through a crossover? It's annoying as heck when northbound Brown/Purple trains come out of the Hubbard curve, and on to a perfectly straight stretch of track over Franklin St., but crawl along at 10 mph until they reach Ontario. At that point they accelerate to speed for 2 blocks before braking for the Chicago Ave station. I checked the "slow zone" map, and there's no slow zone in this stretch of the connector.

    The only thing I can think of for the slow speed is the Grand Ave crossover. However, there are other crossovers in the system that aren't taken at 10 mph.

  • The CTA press release was apparently not prepared by the Engineering Department. The stretch of track is closer to 3 miles actually.

    The work is going to take 15 weekends. I guess I'll never quite understand why track work takes so long on the CTA. The Class 1 railroads can lay 2 miles of track a day, Mind you, the 'L' operates on elevated track, but still.

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