Red & Purple Modernisation

The Red & Purple Modernisation (RPM) Project being undertaken by Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) in the US includes the rebuilding of the northern portion of the Red Line from Belmont to Howard station, as well as the Purple Line that extends to Linden station.

Environmental assessment studies on the project are currently underway. Construction of the first phase is expected to begin in 2017 and is expected to take up to four years to complete. The first phase is expected to cost $1.7bn, whereas the total project cost is estimated to reach $4.7bn.

The US Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded $35m for the first phase of the project in August 2014, making it the first project to win federal funding from the FTA under the new Core Capacity Program. The project is also eligible for the 2014 Core Capacity federal funding, which is approved by the US Congress.

Need for the modernisation of Red and Purple lines

The Red & Purple lines corridor was built between 1900 and 1924. The current tracks and the infrastructure facilities, including the stations, are outdated and insufficient to meet the growing ridership of the rapid transit system.

"The project is also eligible for the 2014 Core Capacity federal funding, which is approved by the US Congress."

The RPM project aims to renobate the old, deteriorating infrastructure while increasing the train capacity. The programme will also enable the stations to handle the increasing volume of passengers.

Improvements to the stations and infrastructure will reduce maintenance costs and will make the stations compatible with Americans with Disability Act (ADA). Out of the 21 stations in the corridor, only six are currently ADA-accessible.

The CTA is also extending the 23-mile long Red Line from the 95th Street Terminal through the greater Roseland community.

The modernisation project is expected to enhance the reliability of services and improve the speeds along the lines, which would allow up to nine more trains an hour to run on the Red line, as well as up to eight more trains an hour on the Brown line.

Red & Purple Modernisation project details

The RPM project will reconstruct and expand approximately 9.6 miles (15.45km) of existing rail infrastructure along the North Red and Purple lines.

The first phase of the multi-phase modernisation project will involve the construction of Red-Purple bypass and the modernisation of the route between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr. The bypass, which would be built north of the Belmont station, will allow the Brown Line trains to run on a dedicated line without intersecting the Red and Purple line tracks, which would minimise delays at the intersection of the three lines.

The Illinois High Speed Rail Project aims to convert the 450km route between Chicago and St Louis into a high-speed rail service.

The Lawrence to Bryn Mawr modernisation project will include reconstruction of the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stations, in addition to the tracks, support structures, bridges and viaducts between the four stations.

Similar infrastructure and station improvements will be carried out at the remaining stations along the Red and Purple lines, from north of Belmont station to Linden station in Wilmette, in the future phases.

Station improvements

The four stations being rebuilt under the first phase will be equipped with new track and signalling systems. Platforms will be widened from 12ft to 24ft and the addition of modern amenities and elevators will make them accessible to disabled travellers. The stations will be equipped with better lighting and real-time information boards.

Wilson Station, which was built during 1908 and 1923, will also be renovated as part of the modernisation.