CTA’s Forest Park Blue Line Branch Rebuild Close to Finishing Phase 1

Written by Jennifer McLawhorn, Managing Editor
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CHICAGO – The CTA is finishing up its first phase of construction on its Blue Line this weekend with service updates.

The Chicago Transit Authority continues phase one construction of its Forest Park Branch Rebuild. This first phase is expected to finish up this weekend. With the end of the first phase comes an updated service plan for the Blue Line. On August 20th at 10pm, Blue Line trains will operate between O’Hare and UIC-Halsted as well as between Forest Park and Illinois Medical District. According to the CTA, “there will be no rail service between the UIC-Halsted and IMD stations during Part-B project work, which is expected to conclude in early October.” CTA will offer alternative transportation options during this time in the form of free and reduced bus rides between the Green and Pink Lines

Part-A of the Forest Park Branch Rebuild includes a rebuild of almost three miles of track, or 15,000 feet, “between the LaSalle and IMD stations; demolishing and completely rebuilding the Racine station to meet modern accessibility guidelines; and upgrading the traction power system that provides electricity to the system and will result in improved service reliability.” Additionally, the drainage between UIC-Halsted and LaSalle has also been removed and rebuilt. The track between IMD and UIC-Halsted will be rebuilt as part of Part-B. Racine Station is scheduled to open in late 2024.


The project is reported to cost $268 million, with phase 1 funded through state and local sources. More funding “is needed to advance future phases of the Forest Park Branch Rebuild, which in total is estimated to cost $3 billion, including Phase 1 work.” The Blue Line has seen heavy use over more than sixty years of service, and it has resulted in almost “80% of the branch being under slow zones, which cause service delays. Further, only four of the eleven stations (or 36%) along the branch are accessible to people who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices.”

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