Major changes coming to the Chicago L this summer

Sun, 2017/04/16

Chicago is a city of constant change and improvement, as much of the city's infrastructure is updated, improved, or downright replaced altogether. This summer will be no exception to this fact as major reconstruction alters the face of the famed Chicago “L” for months to come. From changing line paths to the opening and closing of major stations in downtown Chicago, it is essential for any student staying on campus over the summer or returning in the fall to know and understand all that is happening on the rails that lie directly overhead.

Starting this month, major construction will begin at the Red Line’s southern terminus at 95th Street and Dan Ryan. This construction will completely reconstruct the current station, which is also served by Greyhound Buses, to better accommodate the growing number of commuters traveling the rail line daily to downtown and northern Chicago. Due to the importance of this station as the line's southern terminus, which is where the trains switch rails to return north or to be placed into storage for repairs or consolidation of rail cars, service will continue but will be significantly altered. The largest change will be the fact that every other Red Line train will travel on the Green Line track south of Roosevelt Station to the Green Line during rush hour periods, which goes from 7:56 a.m. to 9:14 a.m. and from 4:40 p.m. to 5:58 p.m. each weekday. During these hours, students on campus have the unique opportunity of being able to board the Red Line from the 35th-Bronzeville-IIT Green Line station located at the southern end of campus. This provides students direct access to all Red Line stations from Roosevelt to the Red Line northern terminus at Howard without the need to transfer between rail lines as it had been with the Green Line alone. As with the Green Line’s unique green on white background signs for Cottage Grove bound trains, it is anticipated that all Red Line trains traveling on the Green Line south of Roosevelt Station will have a red on a white background to alert passengers of the train's destination, which they can use to determine with ease whether to board or wait for the next Red Line train down the line.

The next major change to service on the L will be the closure of the Randolph/Wabash Station for the Green, Orange, Pink, Brown, and Purple (during rush hour) lines in the heart of downtown by the start of this summer. This station is a significant stop as it is the closest station on the L to Millennium Station and Millennium Park. Service to these and other nearby locations will instead be serviced by the soon-to-be-opened Washington and Wabash station which has been under construction for the past year and a half. The purpose of this new station is to consolidate both the Randolph/Wabash and the former Madison/Wabash stations into one large station located directly between the two previous station locations. This station will be the first major change to the L in the Loop in nearly twenty years, as the last major change was the reconstruction of State/Van Buren Station back in 1997. All lines that currently serve Randolph/Wabash will serve this new station in the same directions and same frequency as before, but riders should be prepared for a large crowd for the first couple of weeks as people venture downtown to see the newest addition to the L station family.