South branch of CTA Red Line to re-open Sunday - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

South branch of CTA Red Line to re-open Sunday

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Exactly 151 days after shutting it down, the CTA showed off its $425 million gamble Thursday. Rather than to the rebuild in pieces over years while keeping the line open, the CTA elected to close more than ten miles of Red Line tracks south of the Cermak/Chinatown station for a complete overhaul of both the rails and the stations.

It's a gamble that seems to have paid off. Politicians took a test ride on the new rails Thursday and declared the project a success.

"This is a new Red Line and a new day for the South Side of the city of Chicago," Emanuel said Thursday.

"We are gonna be able to say to our kids and our grandkids we left you a better thing than we found and this Red Line is proof positive and just the beginning," said Governor Quinn.

For the past five months Red Line commuters have been taking the Green Line south to 55th Street, and then boarding shuttle buses to complete their trip.

Passengers say they're looking forward to next week.

"I'm happy. I am so happy," one woman said. "I got a long way to go to work and the shuttle bus, it don't get me to where I want to go on time."

"I'm looking forward to's gonna be easier for me," added another commuter. "The shuttle bus has been nice but just do the train up north where I want to go."

The CTA says the project came in on schedule and under budget. The new rails should shave 20 minutes off the trip between 95th Street and downtown and make for a smoother ride.

"The slow zones that limited speeds in some places to 15 miles an hour are history and gone are the bumpy, jerky rides, replaced by the smooth, comfortable ride that only a new railroad can provide," CTA President Forrest Claypool explained.

The new Red Line is also good news for White Sox fans, who had to walk an extra two blocks from the Green Line station to the ballpark last season.

The first public train will leave the 95th Street Station at 4 o'clock Sunday morning.

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