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Why are NB Red Line trains ending their runs at Howard on tracks 1 & 2?


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For the past couple of months, both in riding Red Line trains to Howard or going to Howard by bus & then take a Skokie or Evanston train, many of them have been directed to the SB platform, which has tracks 1&2. 

This makes it difficult for those transferring to Skokie or Evanston trains & I myself missed my Skokie train, because I had to go up & over on the bride to get to tracks 3&4.

Does anyone know why this is happening?  I saw it today, Saturday, around 10:30 AM, when I took the bus to Howard & was waiting for a Skokie train & the NB Red Line train went to Track 1 & became a SB Red Line train. 

Is something wrong with the turn loop north of the station?  I've seen a number of NB Red Line trains end their runs on track 4, where they're supposed to be.

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3 hours ago, strictures said:

For the past couple of months, both in riding Red Line trains to Howard or going to Howard by bus & then take a Skokie or Evanston train, many of them have been directed to the SB platform, which has tracks 1&2. 

This makes it difficult for those transferring to Skokie or Evanston trains & I myself missed my Skokie train, because I had to go up & over on the bride to get to tracks 3&4.

Does anyone know why this is happening?  I saw it today, Saturday, around 10:30 AM, when I took the bus to Howard & was waiting for a Skokie train & the NB Red Line train went to Track 1 & became a SB Red Line train. 

Is something wrong with the turn loop north of the station?  I've seen a number of NB Red Line trains end their runs on track 4, where they're supposed to be.

They do that when the train is late and it is not laying up at the yard. This save them time and they can get that train back in service right away. 

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17 hours ago, strictures said:

For the past couple of months, both in riding Red Line trains to Howard or going to Howard by bus & then take a Skokie or Evanston train, many of them have been directed to the SB platform, which has tracks 1&2. 

This makes it difficult for those transferring to Skokie or Evanston trains & I myself missed my Skokie train, because I had to go up & over on the bride to get to tracks 3&4.

Does anyone know why this is happening?  I saw it today, Saturday, around 10:30 AM, when I took the bus to Howard & was waiting for a Skokie train & the NB Red Line train went to Track 1 & became a SB Red Line train. 

Is something wrong with the turn loop north of the station?  I've seen a number of NB Red Line trains end their runs on track 4, where they're supposed to be.

I am assuming that this is happening during non peak times 

It probably isn't anything wrong with the loop, although track maintenance could be a good reason.  But I think it is an operational reason.  It could be a lack of personnel to operate the trains through the loop.  It also could be the Red Line is operating its normal frequency with less equipment.   Instead of operating the lune with, say 15 trains in each direction with 2 trains in the loop,  they operate 15 trains in each direction without any trains in the loop.  That could be compensated for by putting the NB trains on the SB Platform.   They could also berth trains on the NB platform if they are intending to wash those trains  This would require followers to berth at the SB platform to maintain frequency.   I could be wrong,  but I think this could be the cause of what you are experiencing. 

During the winter, Green Line trains entered Harlem would go out of service and go to the yard for a wash  before coming back in service for a trip back downtown and south. That train would be a lead and go unless the train arriving already was washed already.  

Every once in awhile,  Forest Park Blue Line trains will use irs loop for washing or Covid cleaning.  They also have used the liad and go system by not having any trains berth in the station.  Usually their reasons are due to delays along the line involving trains heading to Forest Park. 

Keep in mind that doing the SB platform thing at Howard can alleviate back ups at 95th where trains may not have to wait for a train to depart before it can berth. It's easier to wash in service trains at Howard than 95th Blue Line trains in service can get overnight washes at Rosemont when trains aren't boarding at O'Hare. 

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3 hours ago, artthouwill said:

I am assuming that this is happening during non peak times 

It probably isn't anything wrong with the loop, although track maintenance could be a good reason.  But I think it is an operational reason.  It could be a lack of personnel to operate the trains through the loop.  It also could be the Red Line is operating its normal frequency with less equipment.   Instead of operating the lune with, say 15 trains in each direction with 2 trains in the loop,  they operate 15 trains in each direction without any trains in the loop.  That could be compensated for by putting the NB trains on the SB Platform.   They could also berth trains on the NB platform if they are intending to wash those trains  This would require followers to berth at the SB platform to maintain frequency.   I could be wrong,  but I think this could be the cause of what you are experiencing. 

During the winter, Green Line trains entered Harlem would go out of service and go to the yard for a wash  before coming back in service for a trip back downtown and south. That train would be a lead and go unless the train arriving already was washed already.  

Every once in awhile,  Forest Park Blue Line trains will use irs loop for washing or Covid cleaning.  They also have used the liad and go system by not having any trains berth in the station.  Usually their reasons are due to delays along the line involving trains heading to Forest Park. 

Keep in mind that doing the SB platform thing at Howard can alleviate back ups at 95th where trains may not have to wait for a train to depart before it can berth. It's easier to wash in service trains at Howard than 95th Blue Line trains in service can get overnight washes at Rosemont when trains aren't boarding at O'Hare. 

At least two time, thiss did occur during the evening rush. 

But none of the other lines force people to change platforms to continue on, as Howard is the only place on the CTA where three different lines terminate, except for the rush hour Evanston trains which go to & from the Loop.

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  • 1 month later...
On 3/21/2021 at 3:50 PM, artthouwill said:

I am assuming that this is happening during non peak times 

It probably isn't anything wrong with the loop, although track maintenance could be a good reason.  But I think it is an operational reason.  It could be a lack of personnel to operate the trains through the loop.  It also could be the Red Line is operating its normal frequency with less equipment.   Instead of operating the lune with, say 15 trains in each direction with 2 trains in the loop,  they operate 15 trains in each direction without any trains in the loop.  That could be compensated for by putting the NB trains on the SB Platform.   They could also berth trains on the NB platform if they are intending to wash those trains  This would require followers to berth at the SB platform to maintain frequency.   I could be wrong,  but I think this could be the cause of what you are experiencing. 

During the winter, Green Line trains entered Harlem would go out of service and go to the yard for a wash  before coming back in service for a trip back downtown and south. That train would be a lead and go unless the train arriving already was washed already.  

Every once in awhile,  Forest Park Blue Line trains will use irs loop for washing or Covid cleaning.  They also have used the liad and go system by not having any trains berth in the station.  Usually their reasons are due to delays along the line involving trains heading to Forest Park. 

Keep in mind that doing the SB platform thing at Howard can alleviate back ups at 95th where trains may not have to wait for a train to depart before it can berth. It's easier to wash in service trains at Howard than 95th Blue Line trains in service can get overnight washes at Rosemont when trains aren't boarding at O'Hare. 

Thanks for this post, and also to the one Bushunter did. As I also always wondered too why certain Red Line trains going north to Howard would let off riders on track 1 or 2(but I believe this move usually happens on track 2 where passengers are let off, the usual southbound Red Line track IIRC how the tracks are numbered at Howard, with southbound Purple and Yellow Line track being track 1), instead of on track 3.

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