Recently in CTA Category

The stretch of Red Line along the Dan Ryan Expressway that will undergo construction beginning May 19 has more slow zones -- a total of 45.2 percent -- than any other CTA rail line branch. Use this map to see where the slow zones are located:

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Red Line riders are on the South Side are in for a painful five months when the line is shut down for a complete overhaul May 19. | Sun-Times file

With the months-long overhaul of the Red Line from Cermak to 95th less than two weeks from starting, May 19, discussion of the work is ramping up.

While the inconvenience of the Wells Street bridge on Brown and Purple Line riders has been well documented, that work only took two weeks, spread over about a month. The entire Red Line south will be down for five months in both directions.

Richard Steele dedicated most of his weekly Barber Shop Show on Friday to discussion the Red Line project - along with some other transportation issues, like Ventra and West Side bus service.

The overhaul work on the Welles Street Bridge that shut down CTA and road service over parts of the last two months is complete. You can find the complete story here, and this graphic explains the work done (click to enlarge):

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UPDATE (12:30 p.m.): A couple of hours after power had been restored to the CTA Blue Line after a body was removed from the subway at a Loop station, power was cut again as police returned to the scene.


UPDATE (10:35 a.m.): Per the CTA, service has resumed on the Blue Line but residual delays should be expected.


PREVIOUSLY: CTA Blue Line service to and from O'Hare Airport is temporarily suspended as Chicago Police investigate a body under the tracks.

Power has been removed to a portion of the CTA's Blue Line on Friday morning after a person was reported on the tracks.

Power was removed to the Blue Line between the Damen and Racine stations following a report of a person on the right of way, according to CTA spokeswoman Lambrini Lukidis.


View CTA Blue Line service disrupted in a larger map


An unconfirmed report said a body was found on the tracks near Clark and Lake.

Chicago Fire Department personnel have been called to the scene for a person down, according to Fire Media Affairs.

Blue Line trains are operating only between O'Hare and Damen; and Racine and Forest Park, according to a CTA rider alert.

The No. 7 Harrison or No. 20 Madison buses, or Pink Line trains are recommended for service between downtown and the West Side; while the No. 56 Milwaukee train is suggested towards O'Hare.

The CTA is putting together shuttle bus service for affected customers, Lukidis said.

The CTA is advising alternate routes.

CTA Red and Brown line trains are experiencing "significant" delays Tuesday morning.

95th-bound Red Line and Roosevelt-bound Brown Line trains are moving with delays due to "congestion in the subway," according to a CTA alert.

As of 9 a.m., riders are advised to alllow extra travel time while workers restore normal service.

Sun-Times News Wire

MORE: Well Street Bridge construction shuts down Brown Line service to Loop

Thumbnail image for CTA-CST-060512_4_27010253.JPGThe CTA has launched a site specifically to deal with the pending upheaval known as the Red Line reconstruction project.

The Red Line Trip Planner is aimed at helping commuters figure out their way around the 5-month track overhaul project slated to begin May 19. The project amounts to a gut rehab for everything from Chinatown-Cermak to 95th-Dan Ryan:

From just north of the Cermak-Chinatown station to the 95th Street station, crews will replace everything in the track bed: ties, rail, third rail, ballast (the stone material that holds the ties in place) and drainage systems. Some stations will also receive improvements ranging from new canopies, paint and lighting upgrades to new benches and bike racks. Additionally, the stations at Garfield, 63rd and 87th will get new elevators, making all stations on the South Side Red Line accessible.

The CTA is promising expanded shuttle bus and Green Line service to accomodate South Side commuters, though travel times and routes are still expected to cause delays and the need for more planning on route choices.

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MORE: Race the Red Line - Sun-Times reporters time trip

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Getting a cell signal in underground Red and Blue Line stations could soon get easier if planned CTA work goes through. | Sun-Times file

Chicago Transit Authority officials want to make it easier for travelers to use their cellphones in its underground subway tunnels.

The agency said Wednesday that it's researching how to improve its network so passengers can get "continuous, reliable wireless service" in the more than 11 miles of underground tunnels and stations.

Two of the transit system's train lines -- the Red Line and the Blue Line -- have partial underground operations.
The CTA already owns and leases its subway cellular network to six major wireless providers. Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the wireless access is important, especially between the city's downtown and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, so travelers can move around the city efficiently and productively.

A press release quotes CTA President Forrest Claypool:

"CTA is committed to making critical technology investments on our transit system. By taking steps to begin the process of modernizing our wireless capabilities, we are better serving our customers, including customers traveling between downtown and O'Hare International Airport as well as providing more reliable service for CTA personnel and emergency responders."

CTA plans cellular service upgrades

AP contributing

Time lapse: Breaking down the Wells Street bridge in Chicago from Craig Newman on Vimeo.

As Brown and Purple Line CTA riders are all too aware, the Wells Street bridge is undergoing some major construction and upgrades this week.

Iron workers, CTA personnel and others are working around the clock to tear down the 90-year-old bridge for upgrades and repairs. This video, unedited and in its entirety, was shot over just more than 48 hours from Friday night to Sunday night.

At about the 4:10 mark you can see an older section of bridge being detached and moved away by barge and tug boat - the iron workers can be see, sparks flying, cutting that section away leading up to the separation.

Thousands of frames - an image was made every 30 seconds from about 7 p.m. Friday through about 10:30 p.m. Sunday - were captured during the course of work as weekend life in Chicago buzzed by the bridge work.

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The new train car smell of the CTA's new(ish) 5000 series cars hasn't yet been replaced by the stench of urine and vomit and the floors aren't yet fully sticky with spilt soda and covered with sunflower seed shells and already the agency is looking to drop some big cash on a bunch of even newer cars. The call has gone out that the agency is looking for bids to build up to 846 new cars for somewhere north of $2 billion. Math tells me that the totals break down to around $2.4 million per train car because apparently these things are made out of solid gold and moon rocks.

By comparison, those 5000 series cars which half the city doesn't get to use anyway cost only $1.6 million per car (706 cars at $1.137 billion). As for other cities, recent bids for new BART train cars in San Francisco came in around $2.5 million while the cost of New York City's subway cars seem to fall in the $1.3-1.5 million range.

As for where the money will come from? Per Crain's, "The CTA did not immediately identify a source of funding for the 846 Series 7000 cars, which will come on top of the 706 Series 5000 cars. But according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office, all should be in hand by 2022."

So, to recap, our in-debt city is about to spend $2.4 million - from a source of cash that doesn't exist - per train car for you to have a nicer vessel in which to be late every day to work while that switching problem at the Belmont stop gets sorted out. I don't have official numbers at my desk but I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that these will be among the most expensive hobo toilets ever made.

At least the agency is leaving seating configurations up to the bidder, meaning there's a chance you won't have to stare directly into the crotch of the person in front of you while your Brown Line train does a Tokyo drift around the S-curve between Armitage and Segwick.

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