Other rail challenges, solutions
This is another post in a series of notes from our coffee with CTA President Ron Huberman.
Huberman mentioned that maintaining the older rail cars and tracks are a big challenge for the agency. As part of the project to repair slow zones, the CTA is replacing all rail ties with plastic ties and using special e-clips.
The goal is to restore all track areas to sustain top speeds of 70 miles per hour. The Blue Line stretch from Addison to O’Hare will be the first to achieve that goal later this year. Currently, the top speed is 55 mph.
Huberman stressed that in order to reduce slow zones by Thanksgiving to about 6% of the tracks, this summer will feature painfully delayed rail trips, especially on weekends.
Adam Case, the CTA’s chief of customer communications, reported that within a month riders can enroll to receive a weekly email blast about the week’s upcoming construction news.
Case also mentioned the CTA Web site would get a much-needed redesign in April. Sometime shortly thereafter, riders will be able to get real-time information from the site on when their next train arrives.
The CTA also will soon roll out a digital network of eight 52-inch LCD screens at the platform and pay-station levels. One feature will be a “countdown clock” till the time when the next train will arrive in the station.
Huberman said the $20 million digital network will be entirely paid for and maintained by a vendor, who will sell advertising.