CTA completes slow-zone repairs on Orange Line

Orange Line riders should see their commuting times improve, now that the CTA has finished slow-zone repairs on the crucial rail link to Midway Airport.

“As a result of CTA personnel working diligently and
collaboratively with the system manufacturer to test and implement the
necessary short-term solution, Orange Line service is being restored to
normal operation two-weeks ahead of schedule,” said CTA President
Richard Rodriguez in a statement.
In a press release, the CTA explained what happened:

While performing inspections last April, the CTA discovered a
potential defect in a component of the Orange Line’s signal system.
Under certain circumstances the defect could have potentially resulted
in a rail operator not being properly alerted to a train ahead via their
in-cab signal system. There have been no malfunctions with the signal

The CTA said the slow zones three minutes to travel times between Roosevelt and Midway. My sources said it was more than that. But the good news is the repairs are done and everything should be back to normal now.

Red, Purple Line “scoping” meetings this week. Don’t forget about the four meetings this week to kick off the first phase of the environmental study of the Red and
Purple Modernization Project. More details here.

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  • I really hope the CTA didn't have to pay for this, given that it was a defect in the system. The manufacturer should be paying for both this short-term solution and the eventual long-term solution.

  • In other, related news, the Tribune published this from Hilkevitch today:

    "First on Emanuel's to-do list, which totals billions of dollars, is overhauling 10 miles of deteriorated Red Line track on the South Side from 18th to 95th streets, where slow zones cause long travel times."

    Is Hilkevitch that clueless (he refers to the Red and Purple Line project later in the article)? Or, is Emanuel getting that bad briefing?

  • In reply to jack:

    Exactly why is the Red Line in need of repairs from 18th to 95th?
    It was totally rebuilt less than 5 years ago!
    Shoefly tracks were built on the inner shoulder of the Dan Ryan while the tracks were torn up & relaid with new ties, rails & ballast.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    That's the question I had too.

    However, someone from chicagobus.org said there were slow zones on the south Red Line, and that prompted me to check the Jan. 2011 Slow Zone map, which indicates 22% slow, mostly southbound.

    So, notwithstanding that we all agree that it was totally rebuilt less than 5 years ago, there might, in fact, be something fishy going on there. One can't tell if the Tribune is purveying fiction, or, after 5 years, it really does need another $300 million of work. Neither take looks good.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Your comment about the Ryan rehab being a band-aid goes back to my question.
    The entire Ryan section was rebuilt, with all new materials.
    So are those materials bad?
    If they are, why isn't the CTA suing the hell out of their suppliers?
    Fishy is way too soft a word for this one!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    To Ed and all: Yes, I am getting some clarification from the CTA on the problems on the Red Line south and plan to post their reply on Tuesday. So stay tuned.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Thanks, Kevin. Would be very useful.

  • I seem to recall reading the same thing a while back. If that is the case, then someone needs to go back to the drawing board and redesign how these expressway median lines are laid down.

  • I rode the subway into the Dan Ryan line & there were several serious problems.
    1. In the newer subway tunnel from Roosevelt south to the 16th St. portal, the train rocked sideways almost the entire distance extremely hard.
    2. There are serious problems with the signal system. I sat in the first car & the motorman's cab chime went off constantly, forcing the train to slow to 5MPH for numerous stretches.
    From Cermak to 26th St., 32nd. to 36th. & 43rd to 47th.
    These slow downs didn't happen the last time I rode this stretch a few weeks ago.
    3. When I got off at Garfield, I looked down at the wood ties, they are severely deteriorated as seen from the south side of the Garfield bridge looking down.
    I looked south on both tracks & they appear to be perfectly straight, but I know my eyes aren't accurate in this regard.
    4. However, there is an additional problem, flat spots on the wheels. The car I was in was particularly bad. There's no doubt it was flat spots, the slight bumping increased or decreased depending on speed.
    This isn't just a CTA problem, Metra also has a large number of coaches with even worse flat spotting on their wheels. This must be a cost cutting measure, as removing wheels to put on the lathe is expensive & time consuming, plus the wheels can have a limited amount of steel that can be removed before they must be scrapped.

  • Speaking of slow zones, does anyone know what's happening on the Blue Line between Western and Logan Square? It's not listed as a slow zone, but rather construction. Nevertheless, the result is that every train to/from O'Hare crawls through this zone. Any idea as to the timeframe of this work?

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