CTA: Train door problems on the decline

Now boarding

The CTA said door-related rail problems are on the decline. (June 16, 2014)

You know how the saying goes.

When one door closes wrong ... there could be significant delays on a CTA train.

Brown Line and Blue Line riders recently have experienced door problems during morning rush hour that have led to delays. The Blue Line saw door-related delays Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The Brown Line saw similar delays Wednesday and Thursday. On Monday, the Orange Line was affected by door delays, according to CTA alerts.

These three lines do not have the new 5000-series cars with aisle-facing seats. Instead, they have older cars, some of which date back to the 1980s. Door problems are more likely to occur with older cars than newer ones because they have endured more wear and tear, CTA spokesman Brian Steele said.

Still, the CTA said door-related problems are on the decline. These difficulties are more common in winter months when snow and cold can affect train mechanics, Steele said.

The Brown Line experienced 80 door problems in January compared to 12 difficulties in May, Steele said. There were 11 door problems June 1 through Sunday.

These problems represent "an extremely small percentage" of service, Steele said.

But these difficulties may be more noticeable in the morning. The problem is, when a train experiences a door problem in morning rush hour, the minor delay could lead to more significant delays because trains are backed up.

Part of the problem, too, is that the Brown Line is undergoing slow zone construction, which means trains move slower through those areas anyway. The O'Hare branch of the Blue Line also is experiencing slow zone work.

"Although they operate very well ... [the cars] do occasionally have issues the same way that any vehicle that is traveling hundreds of miles a day and has done so for 30 years or more have," Steele said.

Stop and go

Looking for a way to celebrate Bike Week the next few days but don't want to completely give up the CTA? A Divvy rack is located within one street block of 65 CTA stations, about 45 percent of the system, and 11 Metra stations, Divvy spokesman Elliot Greenberger said. For the next 175 racks they will install, Divvy will be within a city block of an additional 28 CTA stations and 12 Metra stations.

On LSD

The Illinois and Chicago Departments of Transportation are hosting a meeting July 8 about how to improve North Lake Shore Drive. The open house will be held 1 to 7 p.m. at the Drake Hotel, 140 E. Walton Place. Go to northlakeshoredrive.org for more information.

Stationary

A weekly dispatch from a CTA station of note

This week: Racine Blue Line

It's the Racine, not the racing, stop. Trains shuttling to this Near West Side station are painfully slow. About a third of the Congress branch, including near the Racine stop, is under slow zone, where trains travel 35 miles per hour or slower, according to CTA data from May, the most current information available. Only the Purple Line Express has a worse slow zone percentage. While the O'Hare branch of the Blue Line is undergoing track improvement, the Congress branch awaits an IDOT proposal to modernize the Eisenhower Expressway. The CTA will finalize its study of how to upgrade the Congress Branch in coordination with the IDOT study, likely in mid-2015, a CTA spokeswoman said.

Next up: Linden Purple Line

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