On Friday morning, the CTA’s Red-Purple Bypass at Belmont officially goes into service, eliminating a 114-year-old transit bottleneck by carrying Brown Line trains over Red and Purple line tracks.
Brown Line trains will now roll north out of the Belmont station without pause – no more waiting for Red and Purple line trains to pass on crossing tracks.
The bypass replaces a chokepoint that’s existed since 1907 when a junction was built to connect the former Ravenswood Line (now called the Brown Line) with the Red and Purple.
The start of bypass service (scheduled for 4 a.m. Friday) represents the first major completed improvement planned as part of the multi-phase $2.1 billion Red and Purple Modernization project.
According to the CTA, the bypass is the first new section of track added to its system in 28 years, since the Orange Line opened in 1993.
The bypass has not been without its detractors, including those who disputed officials’ claims of long wait times on northbound Brown Line trains. Others criticized the demolition of more than a dozen buildings in the Lakeview neighborhood to make way for track improvements. One of those structures, the historic Vautravers Building, was spared the wrecking ball in dramatic fashion, as crews spent two days sliding the 1,000-ton building 30 feet west.