CTA’s RPM Phase One Project Begins Final Major Stage

Written by Jennifer McLawhorn, Managing Editor
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Federal Transit Administration

CHICAGO – Chicago Transit Authority announced it has begun its final major stage of its Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project with the North Belmont Red-Purple Reconstruction.

Chicago Transit Authority announced it has begun its final major stage of its Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project with the North Belmont Red-Purple Reconstruction. It has put in “two new Red and Purple elevated track structures between Belmont and Addison stations; and, the agency will now begin the final major phase of construction in this area, which includes fully rebuilding the remaining two, century-old Red and Purple elevated tracks.”

The CTA finished the Red-Purple Bypass in November of 2021 as well as a new Red and Purple line track in July 2023. With these, the CTA’s RPM Phase One project has added 1.4 miles of new track structure. The remaining work includes “four new Red Line stations at Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr” which are slated to be completed in 2025.

CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr, adds: “We are bringing better transit to our customers by modernizing the CTA Red Line, which is the transportation backbone of our city and provides critical transportation to thousands of Chicagoans every day. . . With new track and four new, fully accessible Red Line stations to open in two years, I am pleased that the RPM project is delivering on its promise to provide world-class transportation to Chicago.”

An overview of the Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Project components include: 1) reconstruction of the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr Red Line stations into larger and accessible stations and a six-mile replacement of track structure. 2) new Red-Purple Bypass construction that was completed back in 2021 and the reconstruction of the Red and Purple Line track structure between Belmont and Newport/Cornelia and 3) the installation of a new signal system on 23 track miles between Howard and Belmont that will improve train flow and service reliability.

The contractor for the project, Walsh-Fluor, has completed two-thirds of the RPM project, according to the agency. Since 2019, milestones reached include the following:

  • “The Red-Purple Bypass opened in November 2021 to reconstruct the Red, Purple and Brown Line train junction north of Belmont to increase CTA’s ability to add capacity (more trains) and reduce train delays.
  • Reconstruction of what will be the southbound tracks post-construction between Belmont and Addison stations began in late 2021 and has now been completed December 2023.
  • Upgrade of the Loop-bound Brown Line tracks between Southport and Belmont including foundation rehabilitation, lead abatement and steel rehabilitation, also now completed.
  • CTA now begins the reconstruction of what will be the northbound Red and Purple track structures.

“The CTA’s Red Line is CTA’s busiest rail line, historically providing more than 67 million rides a year and serving some of the most densely populated neighborhoods in U.S. The RPM Program, which will be done in multiple phases, will rebuild the 9.6-mile stretch of Red and Purple Line track structure and stations on the North Side that are a century old. RPM will replace aging infrastructure; increase CTA’s capacity to increase train service as needed; and improve our service for customers with more reliable, comfortable service. Future phases of RPM have not yet been announced and are currently unfunded. For more information on RPM Next Phases, please visit transitchicago.com/rpm/next-phases.”

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