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: JamesT4, metraRI

  by orangeline
 
It seems that CTA is serious about opening a "new" Silver Line by the end of next year. It will consist of the existing Blue Line Cermak branch, the Green Line east of Ashland and the Loop. The only new trackage will be the rehabilitated Paulina Connector with two new stations, one at Harrison with connection to the Blue Line Forest Park branch and at Madison near the United Center.

I'm wondering about the Loop routing. In my opinion (I haven't seen this specified anywhere) the Silver Line will probably turn south on the outer Loop and go around a la the Brown Line before heading back up Lake Street to the Paulina Connector. During rush hours Brown Line trains run about every 4 minutes. Is there enough track space to allow Silver Liner trains to share the route and not block up the connections at Wabash/Van Buren and Wells/Lake? The Loop can get pretty backed up as it is now.

Also, I assume CTA will retain the long ramp presently connecting the Cermak and Forest Park branches to allow cars assigned to the Blue Line access to the rest of the system?

  by matt1168
 
Maybe it'll go the route of the purple line-- the opposite of the brown line. As of now, the northern half of the loop has no acess to the southern half of the loop outside of rush hours. This would be the most logical routing.

  by orangeline
 
Matt1168,

Thanks for your thoughts.

I don't think that would work for two reasons:

1. Adding a 4th line to the inner loop would probably be too much (right now there are the Purple, Orange and Green lines) while outer loop only has the Brown line, although at a much greater frequency than any of the three on the inner loop, and

2. As far as I know, there is no easy connection from the inner loop to the westbound Lake St track. Trains would have to switch from the northbound inner loop to the northbound outer loop track on Wells St north of the Washington stop and then at the Lake/Wells junction turn eastbound onto Lake St line before switching to the westbound track before the Canal St stop.

Sounds really complicated to me! But didn't CTA and its predecessors used to do just that kind of thing for many years when trains on both loop tracks ran in the same direction? I guess that was before bureaucrats and politicians decided to fix what wasn't broken!

  by MikeF
 
I suspect the Silver Line will run on the outer Loop. As stated before, only the Brown Line and the Harlem-bound Green Line run on the outer Loop, while the Orange Line, the 63rd-bound Green Line and the rush hour Purple Line Express run on the inner Loop.

You're right, there is no direct connection from the Lake line to the inner Loop. There was such a connection back in the days when both Loop tracks ran in the same direction, before the old Tower 18 was torn down and the junction was rearranged.

The "Angel's Flight" connection between the Congress line and the Douglas line will remain, since it is the only connection between the Blue Line and the rest of the CTA system.

  by CTASignalguy
 
orangeline wrote:As far as I know, there is no easy connection from the inner loop to the westbound Lake St track. Trains would have to switch from the northbound inner loop to the northbound outer loop track on Wells St north of the Washington stop and then at the Lake/Wells junction turn eastbound onto Lake St line before switching to the westbound track before the Canal St stop.
The next time you are riding through the loop, check the special track work as you make the turn on the inner loop from northbound Wells to southbound Lake (i.e. at X16 signal). We've added new special work to allow routing of northbound inner loop trains to northbound (or westbound) Lake Street. Currently the route is not available as the signal system is undergoing massive surgery to support it.