Shaky start on 1st day of major CTA reroutes

March 04, 2013|By Tracy Swartz, RedEye | RedEye

Color some CTA riders confused. Some Brown Line trains during Monday's morning commute didn't have correct destination signs on the outside of the train, baffling riders whose trains were being rerouted because of work on the Wells Street Bridge.

"It's not going to occur tomorrow. We apologize to our customers for any confusion this caused," CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said.

As work continues on the bridge through this week, Brown Line trains also will continue to be rerouted while Purple Line Express trains still will be out of service.

Some Brown Line trains will continue to Merchandise Mart. Riders can get off at the Chicago stop and take a shuttle to the Clark/Lake stop and Washington/Wells stop in the Loop. When Going Public rode the shuttle Monday morning, it was a six-minute wait and the bus wasn't full.

Some Brown Line trains stop at Fullerton and travel through the Red Line subway making all stops and terminating at the Roosevelt Red Line stop.

And finally, some Brown Line trains continue from Roosevelt along the Orange Line to Midway.

The last option, the Brown-Red-Orange train, was not listed as an alternative on the materials the CTA posted on its Wells Street Bridge page, transitchicago.com/wellsbridge.

Chase said some morning Brown Line service originates at Midway because there is more room to park trains at Midway overnight than the Kimball yard provides.

Those trains have to be returned to Midway after morning rush hour so this week, some Brown Line trains will wind up going through the Red Line subway and then on to Midway.

"Operators are instructed to make announcements in the Loop that the Brown Line is turning Orange," Chase said. "Our line cut materials were developed to address service impacts directly related to the Wells Street bridge service disruptions and alternatives."

The Brown Line train GP rode Monday morning was billed as a "Roosevelt/Midway" train on the CTA's train tracker. The train arrived at the Paulina station with a Brown "Loop" sign, but the train wasn't servicing Loop "L" stations.

The operator made regular announcements that the final stop of train was the Roosevelt Red Line station, but the train went on to Midway.

Before boarding a Brown or Red Line train, riders should listen to the announcements and consult a train tracker to double-check that they are on the train they want.

Since there are seven more days of this phase of the project and there will be a second week of bridge work, April 26 to May 6, hopefully this confusion isn't a sign of things to come.

The rides of March

Miller Lite is sponsoring free shuttle service for St. Patrick's Day activities. For the South Side Irish Parade, shuttles will run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday. In the downtown area, shuttles will run from 9 a.m. March 16 until midnight March 17 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., March 17. Go to millerlitefreerides.com for more information.

Stationary

A weekly dispatch from a CTA station of note

This week: Illinois Medical District Blue Line

The Illinois Medical District station got a much-needed paint job and face-lift months ago, thanks to the CTA's Renew Crew program, during which the agency fixed and beautified nearly 100 stations between fall 2011 and winter 2012. The tracks could use some overhaul, though. There's a lot of garbage near the tracks thanks to litterers on the platform and the Eisenhower Expressway. The track near the Illinois Medical District stop also is under slow zone, which plagued 13.5 percent of Blue Line tracks in February.

Next up: 35th/Bronzeville/IIT Green Line

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