Addison Station Track Upgrades Represent a Milestone in the Massive RPM Project

44th Ward alderman Tom Tunney; 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman; Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. at this morning's presser in a CTA lot in the 3400 block of North Clark Street.
44th Ward alderman Tom Tunney; 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman; Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. at this morning's presser in a CTA lot in the 3400 block of North Clark Street.

Weeks of headaches for Wrigleyville straphangers paid off today. After shutting down northbound service to the Red Line’s Addison station for most of March, today city officials announced that $4 million in track upgrades have been completed at the station, located a foul ball away from Wrigley Field. The improvements are helping to set the stage for the $2.1 billion Red and Purple Modernization Phase One project, a massive overhaul of the North Side ‘L’ corridor, which will officially kick off later this year.

The track work at Addison replaced worn track components to create a smoother ride, and eliminated a slow zone and track conditions that could lead to future slow zones, city officials said. From March 11 to 25, the Addison station was only served by southbound trains. Shuttle buses provided transportation to and from the stop during the work. Red and Purple Line riders also had to deal with delays because the two lines shared a single set of tracks during the rehab.

“For Chicago to continue to be a global city, it must have a world-class transit service to connect residents to jobs, education, culture and above all opportunity,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “We’ve seen countless businesses make the decision to locate in Chicago because of our attractive transportation network, proof that modernizing CTA rail service is an effective strategy for economic growth and creates a seamless, safe, and reliable transportation system for every neighborhood.”

CTA’s RPM Phase One project includes:

  • Reconstruction of the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr Red Line stations into larger, wheelchair- accessible stations, and track structure totaling six miles that almost 100 years old.
  • Building the controversial Belmont flyover which will remove a bottleneck north of the Belmont station by routing Brown Line trains over the Red and Purple tracks via a roller-coaster-like structure. The CTA projects that this will allow the agency to add up to eight more Red Line trains, carrying 30 percent (7,200) more riders per hour during rush periods.
  • Installing a new signal system on 23 track miles between Howard and Belmont that the CTA says will improve train flow and reliability.

Advance work on the RPM project, including relocating utility lines and property demolition, began in 2018. In total, 16 buildings are coming down to make room for the flyover. The agency is continuing to relocate utility lines and equipment, with major project construction slated to begin in late 2019 and be completed in 2025.

  • what_eva

    Shuttle buses? I never heard anything about that. There were plenty of announcements to ride northbound and transfer to a southbound at Sheridan or Wilson (accessible) to get to Addison. For part of the time Clark was also closed between School and Newport, so 22 buses were running via Belmont and Sheffield including stopping at the Belmont Red Line as an alternate option, but I didn’t ever see any specific shuttle buses.

    I was really glad when it finished, as it was a mess at Belmont during rush hour. NB Red and Purple were using the regular NB Purple track (track 4), SB Red and Purple were using the NB Red track (3). So at Clark junction, SB Red had to go 3 to 2, SB Purple 3 to 1, SB Brown normal Brown into 1. NB Red 3 to 4, NB Purple normal on 4 and the usual NB Brown 4 to 3 to Brown tracks. Way more cross traffic than normal and it was backing trains up badly between Fullerton and Belmont. I remember more than once stopping in at least 4 times (Diversey, between Diversey and Wellington, Wellington and between Wellington and Belmont). Each stop for a minute or two.

    One thing they could definitely do better is switch the signals at Clark faster. eg, a Red would go north, go 3 to 4, the back car would be past the slight jog east and hitting the jog back west (ie like Roscoe/Newportish) before the signal would let a Brown go. a Brown would go, and be completely out of sight around the corner before the Red would be cleared. Why can’t they flip the signals much quicker after a train clears the intersection?

  • Brianbobcat

    The CTA needed to do a better job communicating what the work was. The latest slow zone map on transitchicago.com does not list this as a slow zone. That map is from Kanuary, so if the zone developed in February, they moved very quickly to quash this before baseball season. Since the CTA can’t move quickly on anything, I call BS on this whole “remove a slow zone” line. Which brings the question: why was this work performed? To the casual observer, none of the southbound components looked worn out, so…? We should all know by now that the CTA is penny foolish AND pound foolish, and it sure wreaks like this is another prime example.

  • johnaustingreenfield
  • Kevin M

    If you’re right that this wasn’t on the January slow zone map, then I agree that this seems unusual and out of left field. My guess is that this did, in fact, relate to the RPM project, but it might have been more nuanced than the CTA chose to get in to with journalists or the public (not that they shouldn’t fully explain nuanced projects).

  • David P.

    What value should be placed on whether a “casual observer” thinks a rail component is worn out or not? By definition, such a person does not know what they’re looking at.

  • what_eva

    Oh right, during the two shutdowns over weekends. Misread your original to say shuttles ran the entire time.

  • Austin Busch

    Any words on what the new signal system is, or how it differs from the previous?

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