Template:Infobox rail line The Red Line, sometimes known as the Howard-Dan Ryan Line and the North-South Line, is a heavy rail line in Chicago, run by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) as part of the Chicago 'L' system. It is CTA's busiest rail line, serving an average of 248,145 passengers each weekday as of February 2012. The route is Template:Convert long with a total of 33 stations, from Rogers Park (Howard Street) on the City Limits north, through downtown Chicago, and to Roseland (95th/Dan Ryan) on the south. Like the Blue Line, the Red Line runs 24 hours/365 days a year.
North Side Main LineEdit
The northern terminus of the Red Line is Howard Street in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago (7600 N. - 1700 W.), on the City Limits farthest north. The Red Line extends southeasterly on an elevated embankment structure about a half-mile (1 kilometer) west of the lakefront to Touhy Avenue then turns south along Glenwood Avenue to Morse station. From there the route swings on a sweeping reverse curve to the east to Sheridan Road, adjacent to Loyola University Chicago and continues southerly parallel to Broadway Avenue to the east (in Edgewater) and follows Broadway to Leland Avenue. From here, the route transitions from concrete embankment to steel elevated structure. The 'L' continues southward running adjacent the Graceland Cemetery, Irving Park Road and Sheffield Avenue from Uptown to Lincoln Park. The Brown Line (Ravenswood) joins the Red Line tracks just north of the Belmont Avenue station.
South of Belmont, Red and Brown Line trains run side-by-side on the four track North Side 'L' to Armitage. Red Line trains run on the two inside "express" tracks, only making a stop at Fullerton, and skipping Wellington, Diversey and Armitage.
State Street SubwayEdit
After running through Armitage, the Red Line descends to a portal at Willow Street and enters the subway, turning southeast on Clybourn Avenue, east at Division Street, and south at State Street through the Loop to Roosevelt Road. South of Roosevelt Road, there is a junction, with one pair of tracks curving to the east and leaving the subway at 13th Street and connects to the old South Side 'L' near 16th and State Streets. This section was used between October, 1943 and February, 1993 when North Side trains were routed to Englewood and Jackson Park (today the south leg of the Green Line). It is now used for non-service train moves and emergency purposes.
Dan Ryan BranchEdit
Template:Multiple image Back at 13th Street the subway swings away from State Street on a reverse curve to the southwest then rises to another portal near 18th Street adjacent Metra's Rock Island District line. The Red Line bridges 18th Street and continues southward on a steel column pan concrete deck elevated structure to 24th Street. There is a stop at Cermak-Chinatown on this portion.
South of Cermak Road, the Red Line tracks enter the median strip of the Franklin Street Connector, a once-planned feeder branch of the Dan Ryan Expressway. The Red Line then tunnels beneath the expressway interchange between 28th and 30th Streets and continues the rest of the way to 95th Street in the median of the Dan Ryan Expressway (Interstate 90 & 94). Chicago pioneered using expressway medians for local 'L' train lines (the other two being the Congress Expressway and Kennedy Expressways, which both carry portions of the Blue Line). The Red Line follows the Dan Ryan the rest of the way to the 95th Street terminal (9500 S. - 1 W.) in Roseland. The 98th Street Yard and Carhouse lie just south and east of the Dan Ryan-Bishop Ford Expressway interchange. Beyond the interchange, the Dan Ryan and Bishop Ford expressways continue towards the City's Limits south without a transit line in the median strip, but with a wide grass median where future extensions of the rapid transit line can be an option. Extensions going even further south are currently being planned for the Red Line, but no determination as of yet on whether the extension will continue on the median or become elevated.
Stations along the Red Line serve important Chicago landmarks such as Wrigley Field (Addison), U.S. Cellular Field and the Illinois Institute of Technology (Sox-35th), DePaul University (Fullerton), the Auditorium Building of Roosevelt University, and Loyola University Chicago (Loyola), as well as the Magnificent Mile and Chinatown.
Operating fleet Edit
Currently, the Red Line is operated only with Budd-built 2600-series rail cars. If there is a shortage of cars at the Howard Yard during rush hour, Boeing-Vertol-built 2400-series Purple Line cars will sometimes appear on the Red Line, usually in mixed consists with 2600-series cars. Like the Blue Line, the Red Line runs 24 hours a day. Service has a 4 to 6 minute headway during peak periods with 8-car trains, and a 15 minute headway during the early morning hours with 4 to 8 car trains.
The Red Line was created in 1993 when the CTA adopted color-coded nomenclature for all of its 'L' routes. The oldest section of the route opened on May 31, 1900 on the north side between Wilson and Broadway Avenues and the Loop. It was constructed by the Northwestern Elevated Railroad. The route was extended to Central Street in Evanston on May 16, 1908 via leased and electrified trackage belonging to the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway, and then to Linden Avenue in Wilmette on April 2, 1912. In November, 1913, the North Side 'L' was through routed with the South Side 'L' lines through the Loop. The ground-level section between Leland Avenue and Howard Street was elevated on a concrete embankment structure and widened to four tracks in 1922.
The State Street Subway was completed in 1943 providing two new tracks bypassing the Loop tracks and the portion of the North and South Side 'L' lines not equipped with express tracks. By providing an express route free of the most restrictive curves on the Chicago 'L' and shorter than the old line it supplemented (thanks to use of a diagonal street, Clybourn Avenue, for one leg of the route), the subway reduced running time by as much as eleven minutes for a one-way trip. The route was placed in operation on October 17, 1943, for a portion of the through north-south trains, although other trains continued to use the 'L' both on through trips and on services circling the Loop and returning to the point of origin.
On August 1, 1949, the North-South route was revised to create a more efficient routing through the Central Business District and handle the heavy volumes of passenger traffic using it. Thus, the Howard line was combined with the Jackson Park-Englewood lines through the State Street Subway, and the other lines routed to the Loop 'L'.
The Dan Ryan Branch was opened September 28, 1969, and was originally combined with the Lake Street line to form the West-South route (Lake-Dan Ryan). It operated over the Lake Street and Wabash Avenue sides of the Union Loop. This "interim" service was created mainly for the purpose of providing through service between the west side and the south side in anticipation of the 1968 Loop Subway Project. When the controversial subway project was cancelled in 1979, the Lake-Dan Ryan service remained, and lasted for nearly 24 years.
For much of the twentieth century, the Howard-Englewood/Jackson Park route was equally compatible in terms of passenger traffic until the late 1960s through the 1970s. However, passenger traffic volumes began to shift on the south side lines, with more riders using the newer Dan Ryan line (which runs four miles (6 km) further south) and fewer riders on the older 'L' lines. This imbalance of service allowed the CTA to develop a more efficient system by combining the more heavily used rail lines together, and the weaker lines with each other, providing increased service capacity for the routes that need it. Thus, on February 21, 1993, a connection was opened from south of Roosevelt to Cermak-Chinatown, and the Howard branch was combined with the Dan Ryan branch creating the current Red Line, and the Lake Street branch was paired with the Englewood-Jackson Park routes to form the Green Line. A further operational benefit of this switch was that this freed up capacity in the Loop needed for the addition of Orange Line trains from Midway Airport.
The Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line underwent a rehabilitation period to improve its aging infrastructure which ended in early 2007. This work included upgrading the power and signal systems, and rehabilitating the stations with improved lighting, a cleaner appearance, and new escalators and elevators. The CTA has plans to expand Red Line service to ten car trains from the current eight-car trains.
Dan Ryan ExtensionEdit
Proposals are currently underway to extend the Red Line south from 95th Street. The CTA has developed nine different proposed routes, one of which includes routing the Red Line down the median of the Bishop Ford Freeway and another in the median of Interstate 57. At an alternatives analysis meeting on April 11, 2007, CTA recommended narrowing further study down to five possible routes, two for bus rapid transit and three for heavy rail (rapid) transit. The two bus routes would travel south from the 95th/Dan Ryan terminal either down Halsted Street or Michigan Avenue, and the heavy rail routes left for consideration are the Halsted and Michigan corridors (either underground or elevated) as well as the Union Pacific Railroad corridor (elevated or trench), which would traverse southeastward toward the South Shore Line. In October 2008 the CTA commissioned a $150,000-study of an extension due south to 130th/Stony Island in the community area of Roseland.
In December 2008, at the Screen 2 presentation of the federally mandated Alternatives Analysis Study, the possible corridors and modes of transit were narrowed down to Halsted Street (Bus Rapid Transit or elevated Heavy Rail Transit) and the Union Pacific Railroad corridor (elevated Heavy Rail Transit).
In December 2009, the CTA identified the Locally Preferred Alternative, which is the Union Pacific corridor. A map and description of the route are found here:  Multiple Environmental Impact Studies will be carried out, and will determine exact alignments and design. The extension could potentially go into service in 2016.
- ↑ http://www.transitchicago.com/assets/1/ridership_reports/2011-9.pdf Monthly Ridership Report September 2011
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- ↑ Chigago Transit Authority Ravenswood (Brown) Line Expansion Environmental Assessment. Chicago Transit Authority
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