Train Tracker ready for prime time; coming to all rail lines in January

The CTA is giving rail commuters the best New Year’s gift ever: Train Tracker is set to debut on all eight rail lines in January.

Here’s how it will work, according to the CTA press release:

Estimated arrival times will be generated through a combination of scheduling information and data collected by the CTA’s QuickTrak program, which monitors signaling systems and indicates when a portion of track is occupied by a train. An average transit time is determined by measuring how long it takes a train to travel a portion of track. By averaging the travel times of the last five trains to move across a portion of track, the CTA can calculate the estimated arrival times for trains at each station.

To view estimated arrival times, customers will simply have to go to the dedicated website, select their preferred rail line and then choose a station. Arrival times of approaching trains within a 15-minute timeframe will be provided for the selected station, and results will refresh approximately every 20-30 seconds. Customers will have the option to choose the number of results displayed and how they are sorted – either by track or route if the station is served by multiple rail lines; or by time to arrival.

Electronic signs displaying next-train information will remain at 10 rail stations. Details on stations will be released next month.

The CTA also is cautious in noting that this “preliminary release of a beta Train Tracker website and it will not have
the accuracy of programs such as CTA Bus Tracker, which uses global
positioning system (GPS) technology. In the months ahead, the CTA will
be making adjustments to improve information accuracy.”

That’s fine. We’re just happy about the broad release of Train Tracker. Yippee!

Train Tracker preview.jpg


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  • Excellent news! Anything to cut down on the irritation of arriving at the platform just as the train is pulling away, especially in the middle of winter in the middle of 290.

  • Sweet. Looking forward to the API.

  • they could still add gps later for above ground trains and add more sensors underground. good start though. they are trying.

  • So glad to hear! This is also good for those of us who live in good transit areas. I can now check both TrainTracker and BusTracker to decide which to take.

    As to the accuracy, if the program is as accurate as the screens at Belmont/Fullerton/etc., I don't anticipate any problems.

  • yay, finally chicago gets something that every major city in the world has already had for years!

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