Purple Line Express trains should start running faster by late this fall.

The CTA is scheduled to begin a four-month Purple Line Express Improvement Project on Monday, July 20, to improve travel times and provide smoother, more reliable service.

The project will fix aging track infrastructure, including replacing track ties and the restoration of track alignment from the Lawrence to Jarvis stations on both Howard-bound and Loop-bound tracks. Track upgrade work will take place during weeknights and weekends.

The CTA says the work will have minimal, temporary impact to Red Line service during construction times with slow zones set by workers on the right-of-way. The work will not impact regularly scheduled Purple Line Express service.

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  1. The Real Purple/Express Problem
    It is silly when the CTA talks of saving minutes on the Purple Line when the problem is much larger. Years ago the Express went from Howard to the Mart non-stop. Then they added Fullerton, Belmont and Chicago Ave. and later all stops south of Fullerton. Yes maybe make a stop at Belmont for Ravenswood riders, but all these others ? some politician must want more votes !
    Even at Howard–and many other spots you hear “We are stopped for a train” or “Waiting for a signal” when no other train is in sight.

    Ask riders who come from Russia and they laugh at calling it Express. Making it a real express would help many more riders and get more riders. Now it makes more sense to change to the Red line at Belmont if going south of Fullerton.

    1. Why Express is impossible

      Back in the day I rode the Evanston Express daily.  After leaving Howard we did 45 to 50 mph until we hit the Belmont junction. From that point on we were following Ravenswood trains.  That is why the CTA had Evanston trains stop at all stations south of Belmont.  It is (was) impossible for us to bypass them.  So why not stop to help the overcrowding?  And in the evening going home it was the same situation.  And does anyone remember the signs over the Howard Street "L" viaduct that said "25 minutes to the Loop"  and it realy did only take 25 minutes but then we had "A" & "B" stops.

      1. Ravenswood trains existed then also

        We had both trains before and that did not stop the Express from being much faster.

        The 'reason' given for first adding the Belmont, Fullerton, Chicago Ave. stops was the Ravenswood platforms north of Belmont were too short for the trains they needed.  Supposedly–from what the CTA said and politicians said—that was fixed.

      2. If the CTA hadn’t dismantled the outer tracks…

        If the CTA hadn't dismantled the outer tracks from the North Shore era (from Armitage down past Sedgwick), the Express trains could be passing the Ravenswood trains in that section.

        1. True, But Only Sedgwick Though

          This section only has one station on it today (Sedgwick).   If those tracks were in place to bypass it, the trip from Evanston would be a little faster, but maybe just a couple minutes.  

        2. Outer Tracks
          “If the CTA hadn’t dismantled the outer tracks …the Express trains could be passing the Ravenswood trains in that section”

          True, but as pointed out at chicago-l.org http://www.chicago-l.org/FAQ.html#7.1 (before the removel) , this would have had minimal benefits:

          7.1 Q: Is the restoration of the two unused tracks on the Brown Line between Armitage and Chicago part of the proposed $300 million Ravenswood renovation in the Illinois FIRST bill?

          A: Restoration of these tracks is not part of the Ravenswood upgrade included in the Illinois FIRST plan, only platform lengthenings and some station house reconstruction. Restoring them would only allow express trains to skip one stop — Sedgwick — so there is no real benefit to returning these tracks to service.

          1. CTA vrs. Metra
            Anyone who works in the Loop and has taken both the CTA [Red or Purple] and Metra will certainly tell you how much better the Metra is—even if you have fewer trains–but you almost know to the minute arrival and departure times.
            I see people on the EAST side of Ridge walk past the CTA on Central to go to the Metra—even one man in his late 70s. A friend lives one block from the Linden stop and his office is at Wells and Madison but he still walks to the Central or Wilmette Metra everyday—even in bad weather. Another is 1/2 block from the Noyes station but still walks to the Davis Metra. Even people west of the Greenbay may take the 201 to the Metra—not stay on for a few more blocks to the CTA and only pay extra for a transfer.
            A REAL Purple Express might get some customers back but that does not sound likely.

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