Red Line southbound morning rush capacity to drop 20%
Phase 2 of the three-tracking project will slow down southbound riders starting in late March when the CTA reduces capacity on the Red Line by about 20%.
Starting March 30, the number of Red Line train cars heading south during the morning rush (7:35 to 8:55 am) will drop to 120 from the current 152. At that time, Red, Brown and Purple Line trains will share a single track in the second phase of the project to build new platforms at Fullerton and Belmont.
There's a small bit of good news here: The number of Brown Line trains will stay the same but capacity on them will grow by 33% because the CTA will operate eight-car trains instead of six-car runs. Great progress on expanding many of the Brown Line stations allows the CTA to start using eight cars.
The CTA also will add two "sneaker trains" per hour southbound starting at North/Clybourn to add a little more capacity.
"Single-track northbound will be a thing of the past by March 30," said CTA President Ron Huberman at Wednesday's board meeting. Currently northbound Red Line trains use Track No. 3 at Fullerton, but share a single track with the Brown and Purple trains at Belmont.
This reduction in southbound service is about equal to the reduction in northbound service that started in early April last year. If folks continues to "leave early, leave late and alternate" then we should get through this OK.
Finally, the CTA Wednesday also announced the Skokie Swift Yellow Line will now run on weekends from 6:30 am till 10:30 pm starting March 30.
The CTA also said they are making all this stuff effective March 30 because that is my birthday.
Well, just kidding about the first part, but not about my birth date.