CTA's new Red-Purple bypass is live: Here's what that means

The CTA announced Friday that the new Red-Purple bypass is now in service. 

The bypass allows Brown Line trains to pass over the Red and Purple Line tracks, rather than crossing in front of them. 

This change aims to eliminate a 114-year-old rail junction that had become a notorious chokepoint, and allow CTA to service more trains at rush hour.

"I am pleased to be able to deliver on our promise of more reliable service to CTA rail customers," said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. "We are continuing to work hard on modernizing the Red Line through remaining RPM work now in progress, as well as continuing to pursuing funding for the new Red Line Extension Project."


This is the first major improvement from the CTA's $2.1 billion Red and Purple modernization project. It is also the first new track added to the CTA system in 28 years. 

According to CTA, the new bypass carries Kimball-bound (northbound) Brown Line trains over north and southbound Red and Purple Line tracks, just north of Belmont station. It replaces the "Clark Junction" that was built in 1907 to connect what was then the Ravenswood Line - now known as the Brown Line - to the Red and Purple Lines, which began rail service in 1900.