Today, the RTA wishes the ‘L’ a happy 125th birthday!
Chicago is well known for many things: deep dish pizza, hot dogs, tall skyscrapers and traffic. The last one isn’t a new problem and the region’s public transportation system helps riders avoid it every day. According to the Chicago Tribune, this was true even back in 1892 where traffic was so rampant with merchants, pedestrians and horses that the city decided to build an elevated train track to give its residents, and thankfully not their horses, a new way to travel.
The first trains began running on the Chicago’s elevated railway, which was built by the Chicago & South Side Rapid Transit Railroad Company, on June 6, 1892.
The first elevated line ran from Congress down to 39th just east of State Street, with trains of wooden passenger cars pulled by small, coal-burning, steam locomotives. Today, the ‘L’ is now a unified rapid transit system with a fleet of nearly 1,500 modern trains and 224 miles of track on 100 miles of elevated lines, and the system provides around 750,000 rides to people in Chicago and about 30 neighboring suburbs on a typical weekday!
To celebrate this momentous occasion, the CTA will be handing out commemorative posters at the Clark/Lake stop and providing rides on their historic Heritage Fleet around the Inner Loop from noon until 3:15pm today.
Here at the RTA, we will continue advocating for necessary funding to keep the ‘L’ tracks in good shape for another 125 years. Once again, we would like to wish the ‘L’ a happy 125th birthday. Here’s to 125 more!