'L' closures in history

And a quiz on the history of the Chicago 'L'

June 5, 2012

Caroline O'Donovan and John Schmidt

Download Story

There was an immediate outcry when the Chicago Transportation Authority announced on Monday that it would be closing the south branch of the red line for five months. Some were quick to point, however, that long term "L" closures are not unprecedented. Tuesday on Eight Forty-Eight WBEZ history blogger John Schmidt will take listeners back time on the CTA. 

For example, when the Green Line was closed for a record 28 months in 1994, original plans called for it to have an east terminal at Dorchester Avenue. However, many in the community thought that the "L" structure was a blight on 63rd Street, and wanted the line cut back to Cottage Grove, or even King Drive. Due to community outcry, the line was ultimately truncated to a Cottage Grove terminal, and the tracks east of there were demolished in 1997. 

And, even further back, the yellow line, which was opened by CTA’s predecessor in 1925, was closed because of low ridership  in 1948. By 1963, Skokie and the other suburbs were built up, so CTA reopened its old line to Dempster Street in April 1964. It was an express line called the Skokie Swift, and is still running as the Yellow Line. So, Schmidt says, you could say that this line had a sixteen-year service interruption.

Tune in to Eight Forty-Eight this morning for more fun CTA history tidbits, and to play Schmidt's history quiz: 312.923.9239.