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CTA rail system fastest in nearly two years

Trains run slower than 35 mph on nearly 11 percent of the CTA rail system, which is the lowest percentage the agency has posted since December 2011, according to data the CTA released Tuesday.

The CTA this week reopened the Red Line south of Roosevelt Road following a five-month project to replace tracks long plagued by slow zones. In May, before construction began, 45 percent of that 10-mile Red Line stretch was a slow zone, where trains run 35 miles per hour or slower.

The project helped reduce CTA's overall slow-zone percentage to 10.8 percent, according to Tuesday's slow-zone map. In May, 16.1 percent of the CTA was under slow zones. The CTA saw 10.7 percent slow zones in December 2011.

Still, the CTA has some work to do, namely on Blue and Purple Line track. Nearly 30 percent of Blue Line track on the West Side to Forest Park is under slow zone. The agency is undergoing a study on how to improve this section.

Meanwhile, crews continue to work on the Purple Line north of Howard Street in a seven-month slow-zone project.

As part of his budget announcement last week, CTA President Forrest Claypool said the CTA plans to replace track on portions of the Blue Line from Damen to Belmont and on the Brown Line from the Merchandise Mart area to Armitage.

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