CTA Contemplates Dramatic Changes for North Side Train Lines

The Chicago Transit Authority announced details last week regarding a modernization project for two of its major north side elevated train lines.  The lines at issue are the Red and Purple which serve the Loop, Lakeview, Uptown, Rogers Park and the suburban communities of Evanston and Wilmette.

Like most of Chicago’s elevated rail system, the Red and Purple lines are in dire need of modernization, upkeep, and expansion.  Determining exactly what should be done in the context of limited funds is going to be a challenge.

This month the CTA is presenting various modernization options for public comment.  Here is a thumbnail sketch of what is contained in the Notice of Intent document released last week.

Currently the Purple Line runs local from Wilmette through Evanston and then express to Belmont in Lakeview where it follows the Brown line stops to downtown.  The Purple Line only runs on the weekdays during the rush hours.

The Red Line is a local train that runs at all hours, seven days a week between Howard St. at the city’s northernmost boundary down to 95th Street on the city’s south side.

Taken together, the lines generate 128,000 trips on an average weekday and are responsible for about 20% of all CTA rail trips.