Two of the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) oldest rail stations will receive major renovations and a third will receive upgrades starting in September, as part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s $492 million "Your New Blue" modernization program for the O’Hare branch of the Blue Line.
The $33 million station improvement plan for California, Western and Damen will provide customers a safer, more comfortable transit experience, and are part of the ongoing modernization of CTA train and bus service across the city.
To complete the major repairs and improvements planned for the California and Damen stationhouses and platforms, the CTA has previously said it will be necessary to close both stations to complete the extensive work.
The Western station underwent a major renovation in 2001 and needs less extensive improvements and repairs, so the station will remain open throughout the construction period. The California, Damen and Western stations were all built in the late 1800s and are among the oldest on the CTA system.
California and Damen will both get extensive stationhouse and platform upgrades and repairs that include structural repairs as well as improved lighting, signage, more turnstiles and new bike racks. Historic features of the stations will be preserved and restored.
All three stations will receive new, one-of-a-kind public artwork, to be installed following the completion of the station improvement project.
The station work follows extensive track upgrades that are also part of the Your New Blue project. Track improvements began in March on the branch to increase speed and reliability of service and are expected to be completed in September.