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The official word on CTA rail and bus enhancements

Last week I reported exclusively that service on the Red, Brown and Purple lines would increase starting today now that all four tracks are finally open at Belmont and Fullerton. In that thread, Ryan asked for a link from the CTA site about this. Well Ryan, the CTA finally posted about it, and I'm happy to oblige you here (link now fixed).

That CTA posting also mentions quite a few bus service enhancements, including for #9, #91 and #143. So be sure to check those out.

Comments

That CTA link better show up or my friends will hang me. They were counting on the increased Purple line service.

Kevin,

You didn't put the correct link up, but used the same link for both Ryan's post and the CTA posting. I can't find the link on their site.

For those that want it, it is here:

http://www.ctabrownline.com/

Chris and Arfo: Sorry about the wrong link to the CTA site. I fixed it. This is the right link:

http://www.transitchicago.com/news/default.aspx?Month=&Year=&Category=2&ArticleId=2250

There has also been a change to the 36 Broadway. All of the SB buses have "Harrison/Wells" as the terminus on the destination signs instead of "State/Polk" previously.

Took the Brown line today, it seemed a lot better, granted ridership is pretty light this week, so the real test will come once people start going to work and back to school. I had just missed a Purple Line as I was walking to Armitage, and by the time I got to the platform I only had to wait about 30 seconds for a Brown Line. I could see at least 2 more Purple/Brown lines behind it, which didn't happen before.

There were some delays caused by Tower 18 though, so the train sat a few times, hopefully they are just getting used to "normal" operation again and will get the kinks smoothed out.

They had new updated system maps in the rail cars, and I did notice it no longer shows the Washington Red Line stop, even as closed for constructions, so make of that what you will.

The Purple line wasn't running on the new schedule from 7:44 to 8:04 this morning. Thankfully the CTA release will release me from the rope.

I assume the Washington stop has been removed from the maps because no one noticed the tiny, little hard hat symbol next to it which meant it was closed for construction, probably until the 23rd Century.

I think it's a conspiracy against me :)

KevinB

I used the 143 bus to Monroe/Madison today which worked out nicely. I never did understand why it ended at Washington. This gives me another good option to work in the AM.

The eastbound 66 Chicago has not been stopping at the Brown line station (Chicago/Franklin) for the last several months. Any guesses on whether that stop will re-appear?

I too noticed that the Washington red line stop has disappeared from the CTA's map. Given that "airport express" service doesn't make any sense whatsoever unless you build more tracks, wouldn't it make more sense to give up on that silly idea rather than giving up on reopening a station that actually serves a purpose?

stillwaiting - As I recall, by having the half-completed "express" station, the Washington/State station is trashed. Hence, the permanent closure.

The Washington platform appears to me to be less "trashed" than it was a few months ago, so I do not understand why they are not reopening it.

This morning they were run 8 cars Purple Line train from Belmont. and some Purple Line train with Red Line equipment with half "Loop" sign and Ashland/63 on the train.

Ron: Platforms along the purple line can't handle 8 car trains, so it's very odd that they would be operating 8 car trains.

I have already decided after one day, that the changes to the 12, 18, and 146, are worth it.

First, the 146 reroute provides a stronger link between the North Side, North Michigan Avenue, and the South Loop area. I was always very frustrated that the only buses you could catch at Roos/State were the 62 and 29, and connecting to the 146 required riding the 12 all the way to the planetarium. At other times of day the only way to get *near* Roosevelt Road from, say, below Chicago Avenue, was to take the 3, and that only stopped at Michigan/11th, although that has changed, as well.

The 18 reroutes ensure that there is better service in the UIC area headed towards the Red Line, and also helps ease some congestion on the 12 as it approaches the Roosevelt subway/elevated stations from Halsted Street onward. The 12 changes give more service opportunities to the north end of the South Loop residential area.

I am sure CTA made these changes after considerable study, but it's remarkable how much these reroutes make simple common sense, while at the same time, strengthening the rail network by increasing the number of possible connections to the Red, Orange, and Green lines.

As for the Washington station, yes, I wish we could see it re-open.

CTA doesn't want to admit that the real reason the Washington Red Line stop isn't reopening is because they are constructing a monument to KevinB. Really, it's the Paddington Bear of L stations. "Someone please take care of this station."

I didn't go into the office today, did they reverse the Purple line around the Loop? But, this talk of 8 car purple line trains is truly perplexing.

Perhaps we could organize a Tattler get-together to finish the rehab work on the Washington station. Is there a Home Depot near an L stop?

Which stops along the purple can not hold 8 cars?

Chris: Actually, I think the only stations that won't handle 8 cars would be stations north of Howard on the Purple. I suppsoe they could run 8 cars south of Howard and then remove 2, but that doesn't seem to be very efficient.

Martha:

I was thinking more of a candlelight vigil outside the CTA headquarters until they reopen the Washington St Redline station.....

I was thinking about putting one of those crosses like they have at accident sites outside the entrance at state/washington.

;)


KevinB

I like Adam's idea for a Tattler barn raising at Washington. If memory serves, when RonH announced that CTA was mothballing the not-so-super station, he mentioned that everything was completed but the drywall. I like the idea of people showing up on trains and buses with Sheetrock to heal the wounds of the abandoned Washington Red Line station. It could be a happening like "no pants day," but much more socially useful.

I interpreted Ron's comment to mean that a Purple Line train started its southbound run at Belmont. But I dunno. I know the CTA started Brown Line trains there every morning during southbound three-tracking.

Why stop there?

Let's finish up the tunnel/switch point so we can get the pedestrian tunnel back between the blue and red line.

Maybe we could start up a fund drive to finish up the block 37 mess.

KevinB

Is it time for a Expand the Purple line project next? :)

As a former Purple Line rider, I'm pretty sure at least some of those stations can handle 8 car trains, I know Central was very long, and Noyes was too, though they closed a portion of the platform. I would be surprised if they hadn't built Davis & Linden to accommodate 8 just in case. I doubt Main & Dempster are 8 cars though, and not sure on South Blvd.

Davis can only fit 6 cars.

I would be surprised if they were sending out 8-car Purple Line trains south of Howard. As I understand it, the Purple Line generally isn't busy enough to warrant BOTH an increase in the frequency of service AND longer trains.

Plus, of course, you'd need to turn around 8-car Purple trains at Howard, making it necessary to stage additional, shorter trains at Howard to continue the run into Evanston. This would make Howard even more of a clusterf*** than it already is.

I think Ron simply made a mistake. It just doesn't make sense.

With the exception of Linden and Davis, the Purple Line stations north of Howard are quaint, and not in a good way. At least they don't smell so much like pee now.

I thought someone above reported seeing an 8 car purple south of Belmont...

Can anyone else confirm what they have seen or if it was simply a typo/mistake?

If we're going to stage a guerrilla do-it-yourself project, I'd rather build a new bench on the Monroe Street subway platform to replace the one that was vandalized and removed about a year and a half ago. I bet we could construct something quite serviceable out of 2 x 4s. They wouldn't even have to be pressure-treated.

Looking at the stop signs at foster, it can only hold 6 car trains. I'm pretty sure that South Boulevard can also only accommodate 6 car trains.

Metra platforms are irregular enough that the crew has to remind passengers using some stations to use only certain cars on the trains. (I think this is true at Ravenswood.) Perhaps CTA riders aren't as intelli... hah, never mind.

Based on the new Brown line schedule here:

http://www.transitchicago.com/assets/1/rail_route_schedules/Brown_line_2008.pdf

there are 8 car Brown line trains in the morning that start Southbound from Belmont at 8:19, 8:31, and 8:51am that are short turns from the Northbound side of the schedule.

Is it possible that these 8 car sets turn around using Track 1 north of Belmont?

To someone standing on the Belmont platform, this would appear as though an 8 car Purple line pulled in, since visually it would pull in from the North Main line instead of the Ravenswood branch.

Frankly, I think the Brown line "Loop" sign was somehow switched to a Purple line "Loop" sign. I can barely tell the difference between the "Dark Brown" and "Dark Purple" the CTA uses for those two lines myself. I really wish one was either a lighter share of Brown, or better yet a lighter shade of Purple so that they can be visually differentiated from further away.

....Or you can just wait an extra 5-10 seconds and actually see what color it is...

You can also look at the indicator lights -- the Brown Line is red and green, and the Purple Express is two whites. The Red is two yellows. Knowing that can be especially helpful when waiting for a train between Belmont and Fullerton.

For an exhaustive history of those lights, see this page:

http://chicago-l.org/operations/signals/markers.html

I agree with Dave and Adam. My previous comment was meant as a plausible explanation for the supposed "8-car Purple Line" train which I believe does not exist.

Now that Purple and Brown ride the Loop in two different directions, it doesn't seem very "customer friendly" to have CTA customers run up closer or wait longer to find out the correct shade of dark Brown or Dark Purple "Loop" signs, nor to have to learn the indicator lights.

I think that the Southbound segment of Brown/Purple from Belmont to Merchandise Mart is the only Segment where it is visually challenging to identify trains, even if the customer is not identified as visually-challenged.

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