CTA’s Ride the Rails: Orange Line Real-time (2019) v1.1

CTA’s Ride the Rails: Orange Line Real-time (2019) v1.1

Periodically, information about the CTA and/or the line will appear on the screen.
If you prefer to experience this video without this information, please turn off
Youtube’s closed captioning. The Orange Line is the most recent line to be built from scratch,
opening on October 31, 1993. It runs 13-miles and consists of 16 stations. The Orange Line serves several points of interest, including Midway Airport,
Art Institute of Chicago, the Board of Trade, Chicago Cultural Center,
City Hall/County Building, Daley Center, Museum Campus, Soldier Field,
and Thompson Center. Now for some general history on the CTA. Chicago’s rapid transit system began in the 1890’s.
Originally there were four companies that ran the different lines. The South Side ‘L’, The Lake Street ‘L’,
The Metropolitan West Side ‘L’, and The Northwestern ‘L’. The South Side ‘L’ opened in 1892 and went 3.6-miles
from Congress Street to 39th Street. The Lake Street ‘L’ opened in 1893 and went from 52nd Avenue
(Laramie Avenue) to Market (Wacker) and Madison. The Metropolitan West Side ‘L’ started service in 1895 and went from
Franklin Street west to Marshfield Avenue where it split into three branches. The last of the original elevated companies to start service structures to be built
was The Northwestern ‘L’ which began operation in 1900. It went from a connection
with the Union Loop’s tracks at Fifth (Wells) and Lake to Wilson. Although it had no trains of its own, the Union Loop opened in late 1897 and
was very important for the downtown area. Until the Union Loop opened, the
other rail lines all terminated on the outskirts of the downtown. The Union Loop was built to serve as a common downtown terminal
for the various ‘L’ companies. They did not have any trains of their own. With the opening of the Union Loop the city’s three – soon to be four – operating
‘L’ companies could now bring commuters into the heart of the city. While the separate companies kept their individual identities, they did unify under
the moniker Chicago Elevate Railways Collateral Trust (CER), which functioned
similar to a holding company, and in 1913 the first trains were through-routed
without requiring customers pay an extra fare. A system of universal transfers was also instituted at this time. Finally,
in 1924, the four operating companies were consolidated into the
Chicago Rapid Transit Company (CRT). Just 7-years later, in 1931, CRT was filing for bankruptcy. By the mid-1940s, the transit situation in Chicago was quite complicated,
and it became apparent that privately owned public transit would not survive
due to its unprofitability. The street railways system was being managed by the Chicago Surface Lines but was
still actually comprised of four separate companies, and they were also bankrupt. In both cases, the companies had bonds and other liabilities that were coming due
and no way to pay them, and fares had long since ceased to be enough to cover
operating and capital improvement expenses. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) was created April 12, 1945 and,
with the exception of the Chicago Motor Coach Company, brought
all public transit under one organization in October 1947. The Chicago Motor Coach Company was purchased in 1952. The bridge to the left is the Canal Street Railroad Bridge and was constructed
in 1914. It weighs 1500 tons and can be raised in approximately 45-seconds.
On December 12, 2007, it was designated a Chicago Landmark. The tracks to the right connect the Orange Line and Green Line to the Red Line.
They are known as the Cermak and Federal junctions. The rail tunnel to the left is the 13th Street Incline. It connects the Red Line
to this elevated structure for access to the Orange and Green Lines. This “S” curve used to be much sharper, but on Friday, May 23, 2003, CTA shut
down this portion of the line to demolish and rebuild it. The process took 80-hours, and re-opened in time for Tuesday morning rush hour. Location of the now demolished Congress/Wabash station.
It closed August 1, 1949, and was demolished in the mid-1950s. Location of the now demolished State/Van Buren station. It was part of a
continuous platform that extended to LaSalle three blocks west. On Saturday, July 20, 1968, an explosion at the southwest corner of Dearborn
and Van Buren streets rocked the South Loop and severely damaged the
old Dearborn/Van Buren station. Following the explosion and damage to the Dearborn/Van Buren station, these
little-used sections of infrastructure began to be removed. The State/Van Buren station was closed on Sunday, September 2, 1973. Location of the now demolished Dearborn/Van Buren station. While the station itself
closed in 1949, the station house and platforms were retained and integrated into
the adjacent State/Van Buren station as an auxiliary exit. This location did without a Loop ‘L’ station for the next 24 years. In 1997, a new station,
Library-State/Van Buren, was built between State and Dearborn in conjunction with
the construction of the new Harold Washington Library. Originally named Pacific Avenue, the station has suffered relatively few alterations.
Still intact are the original station houses complete with woodwork and pressed
tin ceilings, rest rooms, fare collection booths and the platform canopies. At this juncture, an elevated structure once continued to the Metropolitan
Main Line which was used by four different lines that served the west side. Few remnants exist today of that line, but if you look at the Chicago River
two blocks west, you can still see the foundation of the old west bridge pit. In the mid-1980s, Quincy was closed for extensive rehibilitation. It was to be restored
as close to its original 1897 appearance as feasible, while maintaining capacity for
current ridership and adhering the modern safety and security standards. The preservation-sensitive restoration included the replication
of the ticket agent’s booth from the original 1897 drawings. Location of the now demolished Madison/Wells station. It closed
Sunday, January 30, 1994 and demolished so that work on the
Washington/Wells station could begin. Washington/Wells station opened in July 1995. Location of the now demolished Randolph/Wells station. It closed on
Monday, July 17, 1995. The remaining platform is now used for storage. The Clark/Lake tri-level facility is the CTA’s largest, most complex station and one of
its busiest. It was created in 1992 when the Clark/Lake elevated station and the Lake Transfer subway station — which previously had separate fare controls and
mezzanines — were renovated and had their passenger access relocated into
two buildings. In 1966, State/Lake became the first Loop ‘L’ station to receive an escalator for
passenger convenience as part of a series of station improvements and renovations
the CTA performed in the mid- and late-1960s. State/Lake is the last remaining example of 1895 Loop architecture from the State
Street Leg, despite its altered condition. The station still sports its original decorative
railings and canopies, among other remnants. Location of the now demolished Randolph/Wabash station.
It closed on September 3, 2017, replaced by the newly constructed
Washington/Wabash station which opened three days earlier. Location of the now demolished Madison/Wabash station.
It closed on Monday, March 16, 2015, for the construction of the new
Washington/Wabash station. Washingon/Wabash station replaced and consolidated the Randolph/Wabash and
Madison/Wabash stations into one facility, located between the two former stations. It opened on Thursday, August 31, 2017.

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