Chicago "L"

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Chicago "L"
20120624 CTA L 5000SERIES PINK311 54CERMAK.JPG
A Pink Line train approaching Randolph/Wabash
Locale Chicago, Illinois, United States
Transit type Rapid transit
Number of lines 8[1]
Number of stations 145[1]
Daily ridership 767,730 (average weekday, 2015)[2]
Chief executive Dorval R. Carter, Jr.
Headquarters 567 West Lake St.
Chicago, Illinois
Website Chicago Transit Authority
Began operation June 6, 1892[1]
Operator(s) Chicago Transit Authority
System length 102.8 mi (165.4 km)[1]
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Minimum radius of curvature 90 feet (27,432 mm)
Electrification Third rail, 600 V DC
Top speed 55 mph (89 km/h)
Route map

Chicago L diagram sb.svg

The Chicago "L" (short for "elevated")[3] is the rapid transit system serving the city of Chicago and some of its surrounding suburbs in the U.S. state of Illinois. It is operated by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). It is the fifth largest rapid transit system in the United States in terms of total route length, at 102.8 miles (165.4 km) long,[1] and the second-busiest rail mass transit system in the United States, after the New York City Subway.[4]

Background[change | change source]

Chicago's "L" provides 24-hour service on some portions of its network, being one of only five rapid transit systems in the United States to do so.[note 1] The oldest sections of the Chicago "L" started operations in 1892, making it the second oldest rapid transit system in the Americas, after New York City's elevated lines.

The "L" has helped the growth of Chicago's dense city core that is one of the city's distinguishing features.[5] The "L" consists of eight rapid transit lines laid out in a spoke–hub distribution paradigm focusing transit towards the Loop. Although the "L" gained its name because large parts of the system are elevated,[6][7] portions of the network are also in subway tunnels, at grade level, or open cut.[1]

Destinations[change | change source]

In 2014, the "L" had an average of 752,734 passenger boardings each weekday, 486,269 each Saturday, and 369,666 each Sunday.[8] In a 2005 poll, Chicago Tribune readers voted it one of the "seven wonders of Chicago,"[9] behind the lakefront and Wrigley Field but ahead of Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), the Water Tower, the University of Chicago, and the Museum of Science and Industry.

Related pages[change | change source]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. The four other rapid transit systems in the U.S. that provide 24-hour service are the New York City Subway, Staten Island Railway, PATH, and Philadelphia's PATCO Speedline.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "CTA Facts at a Glance". CTA. Spring 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  2. "Annual Ridership Report: Calendar Year 2015" (PDF). 
  3. "Our Services". Chicago Transit Authority. Retrieved August 22, 2006. 
  4. "American Public Transportation Rider Reports Year End 2014" (PDF). Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  5. Cudahy, Brian J. (1982). Destination Loop: The Story of Rapid Transit Railroading in and around Chicago. Brattleboro, VT: S. Greene Press. ISBN 978-0-8289-0480-3. 
  6. Garfield, Graham (8 November 2008). "Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  7. McClendon, Dennis. "L". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  8. "Annual Ridership Report: Calendar Year 2014" (PDF). Chicago Transit Authority. Retrieved 2016-01-06. 
  9. Leroux, Charles (15 September 2005). "The People Have Spoken: Here Are the 7 Wonders of Chicago". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 31 December 2007. 

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to Chicago Transit Authority at Wikimedia Commons