Chicago Transit Authority(CTA)
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October 1, 1947 - The Chicago Transit Authority beginsoperating Chicago's rapid transit trains after purchasing theprivately owned Chicago Rapid Transit Company for $12 million.
March 27, 1948 - Skokie service between Howard Street andDempster Street is replaced by buses. The Chicago North Shore &Milwaukee Railroad interurbans would use this trackage until it foldsin 1963.
April 5, 1948 - To speed up service (slow due to two tracklines and old wooden trailers), the CTA introduces A/B skip stopservice on Lake Street Line. Under this system, stops are coded 'A','B' or 'AB'. Trains are also 'A', 'B' or All Stops. The 'A' trainsstop at A stations and AB stations, B's at B and AB stations and AllStops at, well, all stops. This express service began during rushperiods only, but spread to all day later. At the same time, ten lowuse stations were completely closed: Lombard, Menard, Kostner,Sacramento, Campbell, Oakley, Damen, Ashland, Racine and Morgan. LakeStreet service is also discontinued to Market Street terminal.
July 31, 1949 - The CTA institutes its massive North-Southservice revision. Service is streamlined into the following routes:Howard-Englewood, Howard-Jackson Park, Ravenswood (Kimball-Loop), andEvanston (Linden-Howard during non-rush hours, Linden-Loop duringrush); as well as the following shuttles: Kenwood (42nd-Indiana),Stock Yards (Stock Yards-Indiana), and Normal Park (69thStreet-Harvard). A/B skip stop service is instituted on the Howard,Englewood, Jackson Park and Ravenswood routes, and 23 low-usestations are closed: Ravenswood, Buena, Clark, Grace, Wrightwood,Webster, Halsted, Larrabee & Ogden, Schiller, Division, Oak,Grand, Roosevelt, 18th, 26th, 29th, 31st, 33rd, Pershing, Princetonand Parnell, as well as the Congress Street and North Water Streetstub terminals.
September 17, 1950 - The first of the new all-metal PCC6000-series transit cars are delivered to the CTA. Built by the St.Louis Car Company, the number of these type of cars would eventuallyreach 770 (#1-50 and #6001-6720), dominating the CTA's fleet fordecades. The first batch is placed into service on the Logan Squareroute.
February 25, 1951 - The Dearborn Street Subway opens,connecting the Logan Square and Humboldt Park branches with downtown,terminating at LaSalle/Congress. Only 6000-series cars are in servicethere. The connector between the Milwaukee Line and Marshfieldjunction is closed (as are the Division, Chicago, Grand, Lake StreetTransfer and Madison stations on it), though the section between theLake Street 'L' and Marshfield is retained for rolling stock movingpurposes.
December 9, 1951 - Service on the Westchester branch isreplaced by buses. The western terminal for the Garfield Park linereturns to Des Plaines Avenue in Forest Park. A/B skip stop serviceis implemented on both the Garfield Park and Douglas Park branchesfor rush hour service. Stations on the Garfield Park are left alone(in anticipation of demolition for the Congress Line), but Laflin onthe main line and 14th Place, Homan, Drake, Lawndale and Kenton areclosed on the Douglas Park. Roosevelt, Wood and Douglas Park stationsare coded 'Special Stops', served only by certain trains carryingspecial signs.
February 3, 1952 - Service on the Douglas branch west of54th Avenue is replaced by buses.
May 4, 1952 - Service is discontinued on the Humboldt Parkbranch.
September 20, 1953 - Garfield Park trains are rerouted ontostreet level operation over a 2 1/2 mile portion between Sacramentoand Aberdeen, enabling construction of the Congress (now Eisenhower)Expressway. There were no stops between Halsted and Kedzie. Duringthis period (1953-1958), A/B skip stop service is abandoned on theGarfield Park Line. Due to operating difficulties as a result of theconstruction, the Chicago Aurora & Elgin Railroad ceasesoperation east of Des Plaines, forcing passengers of the interurbanline to transfer to and from CTA trains there. Eventually, theinterurban folded.
January 29, 1954 - Service is discontinued on the NormalPark branch.
April 4, 1954 - Douglas branch trains are rerouted to theLoop via the old Logan Square connector and the Lake Street route toallow further construction on the Congress Line and the CongressExpressway.
October 11, 1955 - Wells Terminal closes and is demolished.Garfield Park line trackage is extended through the old Wells Streetterminal to connect with Loop elevated just south of Quincy,replacing the old Loop connection via Van Buren at Tower 8 (Wells/VanBuren).
July 3, 1957 - Chicago Aurora & Elgin Railroad ceasesall operations at noon. Many Loop commuters were unaware and caughtdowntown with no transportation home.
October 7, 1957 - 'L' service is discontinued on the StockYards branch and replaced by buses.
December 1, 1957 - Service is discontinued on the Kenwoodbranch. At the same time, the last of the wooden cars are retired bythe CTA. They had last been used on the Kenwood.
June 22, 1958 - The Congress line opens in the median ofthe Congress Street Expressway (now the Eisenhower Expressway),replacing the Garfield Park line, which is demolished. Trains arethrough-routed to the Dearborn Street Subway at LaSalle/Congressstation, to Logan Square. The Douglas branch is linked with theCongress Line. Only new 6000-series trains are allowed to run on theCongress Line, the centerpiece of the CTA at the time.
November 6, 1960 - The first ever train-phone system isinstalled on North-South route trains, allowing motorman to contactOperations Control in the Merchandise Mart CTA offices.
October 28, 1962 - Street level operation at the west endof the Lake Street line is replaced by a new elevated embankment,sharing the right of way with the Chicago and North Western Railroad.A new terminal opens at Harlem in Oak Park, replacing Forest Park afew blocks west.
January 21, 1963 - The Chicago North Shore & MilwaukeeRailroad ceases operation. The last major interurban in Chicago toclose (and one of the last in the country), the North Shoreright-of-way in Skokie and Evanston is purchased by the CTA.
April 20, 1964 - Skokie Swift service begins on the oldSkokie Valley tracks of the Chicago, North Shore and MilwaukeeRailroad, running nonstop between Howard and Dempster Street. Thisservice, provided expressly for commuters with a Park-n-Ride lot atDempster, is made possible by federal dollars and is one of the firstexamples of what is today called 'light rail'.
June 15, 1964 - The CTA receives the first cars of what arecalled the High-Performance family. The first of these 2000-seriescars (#2000-2180) are placed in service on the Lake Street Line. The2000s, built by the Pullman-Standard Company, are the first cars withair conditioning and had a number of other modern improvements,including sculpted fiberglass ends, remote-controlled destinationsigns, a new truck design, an electrical coupler (making themincompatible with older cars), more powerful motors and automatic cabsignals (added later). The exterior was painted alpine white and mintgreen and the interior was unpainted.
November 30, 1967 - The first automatic cab signal systems,designed to alert motorman to trains or obstacles ahead andautomatically stop the train if necessary, are installed on the2000-series trains of the Lake Street route.
May 6, 1969 - The Englewood branch is extended to a newterminal at Ashland Avenue, 1/4 mile west of previous terminal atLoomis Blvd., which is demolished.
September 28, 1969 - Service begins in median strip of DanRyan Expressway. The Lake Street line is routed through to Dan Ryanline via Loop elevated and the old Loop-South Side connector,abandoned in 1949. In conjunction with the opening, the first of thenew 2200-series rapid transit cars, built by the Budd Company, aredelivered. The 2200s (#2201-2352) are constructed of unpaintedcorrugated stainless steel, which is both lighter and morefire-resistant. The air conditioning and trucks are also improved.They are the last with old-style 'blinker' doors (the kind that foldin when opening).
September 30, 1969 - The Loop Shuttle line, a set of trainsthat make a continuous circuit around the Loop on the inner track,begins operation.
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February 1, 1970 - Service is extended northwest of LoganSquare to Jefferson Park, using the median strip of the KennedyExpressway. The old Logan Square terminal and yard are demolished tomake way for the subway connector between Logan Square and theKennedy Expressway. Meager yard facilities are provided at JeffersonPark.
April 30, 1973 - Ending a service begun in 1920, the 'L'carries its last freight run over the North Side tracks.
November 8, 1973 - Overhead trolley wire on the Evanstonroute is replaced with third rail. Prior to then, trolley poles wereraised and lowered at the South Blvd. stop. This allows theretirement of the last of the 4000-series cars, the oldest datingback to 1913, which were last running on the Evanston Line.
August 29, 1974 - The first two women are hired for rapidtransit service.
October 6, 1976 - The first of 200 new 2400-series 'L'cars, built by airplane manufacturer Boeing-Vertol, are delivered.The 2400s (#2401-2600) are the first with sliding doors, making themhandicap accessible. For the first time, the motorman's cab was madea dedicated crew space, no longer accessible to passengers when notin use.
September 30, 1977 - The Loop shuttle is discontinued.
April 3, 1981 - The inaugural runs of the first 3002600-series cars (eventually 600) are made. The 2600s (#2601-3200),made by the Budd/Transit America Company, had increased interiorfloor space and seats that fold up for wheelchairs. After completingthe order, Budd/TA stopped making rail cars.
March 4, 1982 - Due to structural defects in bridge overIllinois Central Railroad, service on the Jackson Park branch issuspended south of 61st Street.
December 12, 1982 - Service is restored on the Jackson Parkbranch as far as the University Avenue stop after a $2 millionrenovation. The defective bridge was later demolished.
February 27, 1983 - The first segment of the O'Hareextension opens from Jefferson Park to River Road (now Rosemont),using the Kennedy Expressway median strip. A new yard is provided atRosemont.
September 3, 1984 - The final segment of the O'Hareextension opens from River Road to O'Hare.
February 8, 1988 - The Quincy/Wells station reopens after athree years renovation, restoring it to its original 1987 look withrehabilitated wood work and pressed tin interior and exteriorplatform and the installation of reproduction signage, lighting andadvertisements.
February 24, 1989 - The first phase of the new tri-levelClark/Lake station opens. The station connects the 'L' (where theLake-Dan Ryan, Ravenswood and Evanston trains run), the DearbornStreet subway (the O'Hare-Congress-Douglas) and a street-levelentrance in the new State of Illinois Center.
February 9, 1992 - The CTA enacts one of its periodicservice cuts. The following 'L' stations are closed: California/Lake,Harvard, Wentworth, and Grand/Milwaukee. Chicago/Milwaukee is changedfrom an A Station to an AB Station, compensating for the closure ofGrand.
April 13, 1992 - A tunnel under the Chicago Rivercollapses, flooding Loop basements, service tunnels and the CTAsubway system. Service is disrupted in the State Street subway for 18days and in the Dearborn Street for 24.
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August 27, 1992 - The first of 256 new 3200-series rapidtransit cars are delivered. The 3200s (#3201-3457), built by theMorrison-Knudsen Corporation (who had also rehabilitated 455-50-series cars in 1985-1986), integrate solid state logic andmicroprocessors for propulsion and readopted unpainted stainlesssteel for the exterior (last used on the 2200-series). Some seatswere taken out to make more room for standing passengers. Equippedfor one person operation, the motorman's cab extends the entire widthof the train. The 3200-series cars run on the Ravenswood, the Midway(after it opened a year later) and, modified with trolleypantographs, the Skokie Swift.
December 10, 1992 - The last 6000-series cars operate onthe Evanston Express. These cars, which dominated the CTA fleet at atotal of 770 units, were the prototypical Chicago 'L' car forgenerations of riders.
February 21, 1993 - A new connection opens between the DanRyan line and the State Street Subway. Dan Ryan trains are routedthrough to Howard Street forming the Red Line. Englewood and JacksonPark elevated lines, previously linked with Howard Street, becomelinked with Lake Street line via the Loop elevated, forming the GreenLine. New destination roller signs on trains and route maps conformto the new color coding system.
October 31, 1993 - The Orange (Midway) Line, the first new'L' line in a decade, opens between the Loop and Midway Airport,utilizing existing railroad rights of way and new elevatedstructures. The Midway begins operation from day one with one personoperation with 3200-series cars.
December 17, 1993 - The last of the 2000-series cars run onthe Lake-Englewood-Jackson Park Green Line.
January 9, 1994 - The Lake-Englewood-Jackson Park GreenLine closes for an extensive renovation project lasting more than 2years. A great deal of controversy raged during the two year rehab,including debates over station closings, retention of nighttime 'owl'service and the date of reopening.
January 30, 1994 - The Madison/Wells station is closed anddemolished so that work on the Washington/Wells station could begin.On Friday, February 4th, the Outer Loop (west) station house isdamaged by fire.
October 2, 1994 - The CTA officially changes the last ofits route names to color designations. (Routes still have propernames, however.) The lines are now as follows: Red Line (Howard-DanRyan); Blue Line (O'Hare-Forest Park-54/Cermak); Orange Line(Midway); Brown Line (Ravenswood); Purple Line (Evanston); Green Line(Lake-Ashland/63-East 63rd); and Yellow Line (Skokie Swift).
February 2, 1995 - A/B skip stop service is discontinued onthe Brown Line (Ravenswood) and one person operation begins.
March 18, 1995 - The Lawrence station is closed and,presumably due to low ridership, the 1923 station house is removed.It is replaced with a simple chain-link enclosure and wooden farecollection booth
April 28, 1995 - Skip stop service, running rush hours onlyon the Red (Howard) and Blue (O'Hare) Lines, is suspended. With theGreen Line reentering service a year later with all stop service, anera of CTA operations passes into history.
July 17, 1995 - The new Washington/Wells station opens onthe Loop, replacing both the Randolph/Wells and Madison/Wellsstations.
August 13, 1995 - The Lawrence station is reopened,effective 7am.
May 12, 1996 - The Green Line reopens after a renovationproject lasting more than 2 years. Owl service is retained, but thelines reopen with seven fewer stations: Homan, Halsted, 58th, 61st,Harvard, Racine and University are closed. Jackson Park trainsterminate at Cottage Grove Avenue (East 63rd) while future ofelevated segment east of there to Dorchester remains undecided. A newstation at Laramie and a rehabilitated station at Ashland remainedunfinished, opening later in the year. The California/Lake station,closed in the service revision of 2/9/92, is rebuilt andreopened.
May 30, 1996 - The Jackson-Van Buren mezzanine of the StateStreet Subway is closed for reconstruction, to be finished in thecolorful Deco style of Roosevelt/State. The work, completed by theCity of Chicago Department of Public Works, is to include theinstallation of elevators.
June 2, 1996 - The Randolph-Washington mezzanine in theState Street Subway is closed for renovation and the installation ofnew elevators. The Washington-Madison entrance, formally a part-timemezzanine, became open 24 hours for the duration of the project.
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July 21, 1996 - The section of the State Street Subway'scontinuous platform that served the Washington station is split intotwo seperate stops as part of the stop's renovation (see above). Thenorth end of Washington was the 'Lake-Washington' stop for 'L'transfers and the south end was the 'Washington-Madison' stop forBlue Line transfers. Once the work was completed, the station becameunified again.
November 29, 1996 - The first station-specific timetablesare posted on the Brown Line. They are also printed as paperbrochures and are eventually implemented on all 'L' lines.
June 22, 1997 - The new Library-State/Van Buren stationopens, replacing a station demolished two decades before, with adirect connection to the Harold Washington Library.
August 18, 1997 - A new automated fare collection system,using magnetic fare cards instead of money and tokens, goes intoservice and the first wave of station agents leave their booths,becoming customer service agents, on the Green and Orange Lines.
September 14, 1997 - The last of the station ticket agentsleave their booths.
September 27, 1997 - The CTA reaches a decision on the fateof the Cottage Grove-Dorchster segment of the Green Line: with lessthen 24 hours of public notice, city workers move in and dismantlethe 105-year old 'L' line. The lack of communication reinforcesincreasing hostility toward the CTA from neighborhood residents.
October 1, 1997 - The CTA celebrates its 50thanniversary.
October 12, 1997 - The Loop celebrates its 100thanniversary.
November 9, 1997 - The Red and Blue Line trains go to oneperson operation, the last on the system to do so. The increased timeit takes to operate, though actually only a few minutes total pertrip, nevertheless requires more trains per day, especially duringrush hour. For safety reasons, trains continue to use conductors inthe subway getting on at Fullerton and off at Cermak-Chinatown on theRed Line and at Division and Clinton on the Blue Line.
November 18, 1997 - The wisdom of having two stops forWashington/State (see July 21, 1996 entry) is realized and the dualstopping pattern is re-instituted effective at 10 a.m. The north endis again considered a separate station, alternately referred to as'Lake-Washington' or sometimes simply as 'Lake'. On maps, Lakeprovides the free transfer to the elevated at State/Lake andWashington provides a free transfer to the Washington/Dearborn subwaystation through a mezzanine walkway and a platform-level tunnel.
April 27, 1998 - The CTA institutes some of the largestservice cuts in its history. Under the Booz-Allen Hamilton ServicePlan, numerous bus lines are cut and, while most rail service isunaffected, Owl Service is cut on the Green, Purple and Blue(Douglas) Lines. Additionally, the Douglas branch no longer operateson the weekend.
January 2-3, 1999 - A major snowstorm hits Chicago, leaving21.6 inches of snow. The CTA and the city as a whole are unpreparedand Chicago is crippled, additionally hampered by minor snowaccumulations over the succeeding few days and no thaw until January16th. Service is seriously disrupted, with the following changesoccurring:
- Shuttle service is substituted on the East 63rd Branch, meeting Harlem-Ashland/63 Green Line trains at Garfield.
- Evanston Express service is discontinued between the 4th and the 8th due to a shortage of passenger equipment and snow-fighting equipment. Evanston Shuttle service is maintained between Linden and Howard.
- Some northbound Ravenswood trains are turned around at Belmont to cover for the suspension of Purple Line Express service.
- The morning of the 5th, the third rail on the Blue Line is damaged north of Jefferson Park, resulting in the damage of 64 Blue Line rail cars and ultimately, the suspension of service between Jefferson Park and O'Hare. Shuttle buses take over for that section of the Blue Line.
- Service on the outlying sections of many lines - Evanston, Lake, Ravenwood, Douglas - is disrupted during the initial snowfall.
- Design flaws disable nearly 300 2600-series cars, causing a severe shortage of rolling stock. Cars that are repaired in short order are sent back into service, only to be damaged soon thereafter. To cover base service, a number of cars are transfered around the system. Brown Line 3200s found their way to the Green Line; Brown and Orange Line 3200s, Green Line 2400s, and Purple Line 2600s went to the Red Line; Brown and Orange Line 3200s came to the Blue Line (sometimes in solid eight-car trains!); and Brown Line 3200s went to the Purple Line.
- Due to a reduction in the number of runs, conductors are placed back on trains.
- CTA office employees are placed out in the field to help with crowd-control and to provide information to thousands of confused and angry riders.
June 1, 1999 - The CTA retires tokens for good, acceptingonly Transit Cards and cash fares (on buses and in turnstiles) aspayment.
June 14, 1999 - Crews close State Street from ChicagoAvenue to Superior to begin renovation work at the Chicago/Statesubway station. Work there is being completed by the City ofChicago's Public Works Department in cooperation with the CTA. Thestation remains open through the construction and is expected to becomplete in August 2000. The $23 million renovation will add 10,000square feet of additional space in the mezzanine and will make thestation ADA compliant. The reconstruction includes new walltreatments, new tile floors, new flourescent lighting, modernup-to-date station signage, and new stainless steel farecontrols.
June 25, 1999 - The Grand/Milwaukee station, closed in theservice revision of 2/9/92, is reopened effective at 6am. Reactivatedin response to increasing population around the station, themezzanine recieves a thorough cleaning and new fare equipment whilethe platform is given a fresh coat of paint, new signage, and a deepscrubbing.
March 25, 2000 - The last of the conductors are pulled fromthe 'L'. Conductors had continued to be used for safety reasons onthe subway portions of the Red and Blue Lines for some time aftertheir removal from the rest of the system. Installation of safetymirrors and monitors, as well as the inauguration of the automatedvoice announcement system allowed these conductors to be removed,ending an era in 'L' history.