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The Union Station Transit Center and Wilson Station Rehab Are Rolling Along

8:04 PM CST on March 4, 2016

The new temporary entrance to the Wilson stop on the north side of the street is almost finished. Photo: John Greenfield

Steven Vance and I took advantage of today’s sunshine to check out the progress of two major transit projects that are slated to wrap up this spring.

CDOT rendering of the Union Station Transit Center, looking west.

The $43 million Union Station Transit Center will be a key enhancement to the Loop Link bus rapid transit corridor. Located on Jackson between Canal and Clinton, the new facility will replace a surface parking lot. The Chicago Department of Transportation is spearheading this project.

Looking southeast at the construction site. Photo: Steven Vance

The transit center will include sheltered staging areas for CTA buses, plus an elevator leading to an underground Amtrak pedway. That will allow customers to make fairly seamless transfers between buses and trains.

Looking east at the the construction site. Photo: Steven Vance

Meanwhile in Uptown, the CTA is completing the first phase of the $203 million Wilson Station overhaul. Phase I, which started in March 2015, included the demolition and reconstruction of the southbound Purple Line Express track, the westernmost of the four-track elevated structure that accommodates Red and Purple service.

Looking east at the new elevator structure. Photo: John Greenfield

Phase I also included building a new Loop-bound platform with temporary entrances at the north and south side of Wilson, as well as a temporary entrance a block south on Sunnyside, which will be used during a later stage of the project. The northern temporary entrance on Wilson appears to be nearly finished, and the new stairs to the new platform are coming along as well.

Looking south: The stairway to the new platform is taking shape. Photo: John Greenfield

Presumably, Phase II of the project will include demolishing and rebuilding the platform and metal tracks that are currently in use. The latter are more than a century old.

As the Update Update recently pointed out, it’s remarkable that the CTA has been to rebuild this heavy train infrastructure over the course of a year without suspending train service. I’m looking forward to climbing the stairs to the spanking new platform and taking a ride on the smooth new rails.

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