Purple Line Express Improvement Project

View of Purple Line Express train on express tracks to be improved

Purple Line Express Improvement Project

Faster, Smoother and More Reliable Service Coming to the Purple Line Express

Building a New ChicagoA new project is coming this summer to the Purple Line Express that will improve travel times and provide smoother and more reliable service to commuters. The project will fix aging track infrastructure, including replacing track ties and the restoration of track alignment from Lawrence to Jarvis on both Howard-bound and Loop-bound tracks.

About 13,000 passenger trips occur on the Purple Line Express each weekday. Due to the condition of the tracks in this corridor, Purple Line Express trains headed to or from the Loop currently must travel through several slow zones that negatively impact the speed and reliability of service.

The last major renewal of these tracks occurred in the early 1970s and the majority of ties along this stretch of the Purple Line Express have reached the end of their useful life. Maintaining safe and reliable operating conditions becomes more difficult and costly as the infrastructure ages. 

Project Schedule & Service Impacts

Beginning this July through Fall 2015

To minimize impact to customers, CTA will perform track upgrade work during week nights and weekends beginning July 20, with construction in full swing by the beginning of August. The estimated four-month project is expected to be completed by Fall 2015.

The work will have minimal temporary impact to Red Line service only during construction times due to slow zones being established by workers on the right-of-way. The work will have no impact on regularly scheduled Purple Line Express service throughout the rehabilitation.

Visit the Red Line and Purple Line Express pages for current and upcoming service alerts, or subscribe to planned weekend service changes from CTA Updates to have advance notice of work e-mailed to you.

What is included in the work?

The work in this project includes:

  • Replacement wooden track ties atop the embankment
  • Replacement tie plates and fasteners
  • Adding new ballast (the stone/earthen material that holds the ties in place)

Project Area Map

Map of project area, showing Purple Line Express route from Howard to Belmont, and calling out the section from Jarvis to Lawrence as the project improvement area.


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