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Rail News: Passenger Rail

CTA, NJ Transit advance major rail and station projects


Yesterday, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and New Jersey Transit boards took steps to advance major rail and station projects.

CTA’s board voted to adopt locally preferred alternatives for the proposed Red, Orange and Yellow line extensions. On the Red Line, the agency now will pursue an elevated rail extension southeast from the current 95th Street Station to 130th Street. The extension will include 5.3 miles of new rapid transit, four additional stations, park & ride and bus terminal facilities at each station, and new rail cars.

On the Orange Line, CTA will follow a recommendation calling for a rail extension from the current Midway Station to a point on Cicero Avenue. The extension will include 2.3 miles of new rapid transit, one additional station, new cars, a new bus terminal facility and parking structure.

And on the Yellow Line, the agency will pursue a single-track elevated rail extension from the current Skokie Station to Old Orchard Road. The extension will include 1.6 miles of new rapid transit, one additional station, new cars, a new bus terminal facility and parking structure.

In 2006, the CTA began the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts process to compete for federal funds to extend the lines. The process requires conceptual transit project proposals to proceed through a formal process of planning, design and construction. The CTA now will begin to draft an environmental impact statement for the projects.

Meanwhile, NJ Transit’s board authorized a $7.9 million contract with Anselmi & DeCicco Inc. to reconstruct and improve Plauderville Station in Garfield.

To begin this fall and conclude in spring 2011, the project calls for constructing two 450-foot high-level platforms; creating a new heated waiting area on the inbound platform; installing canopies, lighting, electronic signage and closed-circuit television cameras; and building ramps and sidewalks. The project will be partially funded by state dollars and federal monies secured through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

NJ Transit’s board also approved the sale and long-term lease of properties on Railroad Avenue to the city of Paterson to help spur redevelopment efforts near a station, and green lighted a plan to begin public tests of “DepartureVision™,” which is designed to display train departure boards on mobile devices, such as iPhones, Blackberries or Web-enabled cell phones.