Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: metraRI, JamesT4

  by orangeline
A couple of years ago there was a lot of hoopla over a proposed CTA Circle Line. As I recall, the line would make use of existing Orange, Red and Brown Line tracks from Ashland Ave on the Orange line to a new North/Clybourn superstation on the Brown line and then turn south on new trackage, eventually running over the existing Paulina Connector and Blue Line Cermak Branch tracks past 18th St to new elevated tracks which would connect back to the Orange Line. There would be all kinds of new free transfers among L lines (except the Skokie Swift) and new connections with Metra. The big selling point was a potentially significant time savings by being able to ride, say between Midway and Medical Center, without having to first go downtown.

Does anyone know what happened to that plan? Is it something I may actually live to see built (I'm almost 50 y.o.)?
  by meh
I have found ChicagoL.org to be a detailed and accurate source of information about CTA's past, present, and future operations.

In particular, that site's report on the Circle Line Plan provides many maps and a proposed sequence of project phases. Of course CTA having proposed the Circle Line is no guarantee that it will be built soon or ever, but at least you can see what the current proposal is. (It's pretty close to what you describe.)
  by ChiTownHustler
If you look at the phasing plans on Chicago-L.org, then it looks like things are going as planned. Quietly, money was found to rehab the Paulina Connector. Now, they are proposing returning it to revenue service with the silver line plan. I even heard mention of them adding the stations for UIC and the United Center.

Next up: the elevated section over the canal hooking up with the Orange Line. I think I read an official mention that too. Then Purple Line trains could terminate at the United Center; and, the CTA can say they listened to the West Side wanting more service.

The full plan would be the first large loop (like in London) in the US. That makes it a novelty/test case, so it's more likely to attract transit dollars. And, Daley wants it which matters a lot. I figure it will start to come together over the next 5 years. The new subway portion is the hard part; and, I wouldn't place bets on when that gets done.

  by MikeF
The opposition in those articles is not specifically to the proposed Circle Line, but rather to the "Silver Line" routing of the Douglas branch onto the Loop.

Such opposition is understandable, as there are a lot of West Side residents who live near the Douglas branch and use the Blue Line to get to work on the Northwest Side or at O'Hare. If the Douglas branch were routed onto the Loop, those riders would be forced to either board 10 blocks north on the Congress line or make the two-story transfer at Clark/Lake. Either way, it would be less convenient and add time to their commute.

On the other hand, those same West Side residents will have improved access to the Orange and Green lines, but that's not an especially useful improvement. Convenient access to the Blue and Red lines is more important.