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Green Line (CTA)

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Title: Green Line (CTA)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of Chicago "L" stations, Red Line (CTA), South Side main line (CTA), East 63rd branch (CTA), Roosevelt (CTA station)
Collection: Chicago Transit Authority, Railway Lines in Chicago, Illinois
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Green Line (CTA)

Green Line
A Green Line train approaches Randolph/Wabash and is bound for Cottage Grove
Type Rapid transit
System Chicago "L"
Status Operational
Locale Chicago, Oak Park and Forest Park, Illinois, USA
Termini Harlem
Ashland/63rd, Cottage Grove
Stations 30
Services 2
Daily ridership 70,554
(avg. weekday September 2012)
Website CTA Green Line
Opened February 21, 1993 (Current operation)
Operator(s) Chicago Transit Authority
Character Elevated
Rolling stock 5000-series
Line length 20.695 mi (33.305 km)
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Minimum radius 90 feet (27 m)
Electrification Third rail, 600 V DC
Route map
UP-W to Elburn
Oak Park
Central Park Drive
Pink Line
to 54th/Cermak
Pink, Purple
Brown, and Orange Lines
Blue Line
to O'Hare
Blue Line
to Forest Park
Red Line
to Howard
Pink, Purple
Brown, and Orange Lines
Orange Line
to Midway
McCormick Place
Red Line
to 95th/Dan Ryan
King Drive
Cottage Grove
station demolished
during construction
Direct connection
outside of paid area

The Green Line is a rapid transit line on the Chicago Transit Authority's "L" system. It is the only completely elevated route in the entire system.[1] It utilizes the system's oldest segments (dating back to 1892), extending 20.695 miles (33.305 km) with 30 stops between Forest Park and Oak Park (Harlem/Lake), through Chicago's West Side to the Loop, and then to the South Side and Englewood (Ashland/63rd) and Woodlawn (Cottage Grove/63rd). As of September 2012, the average number weekday boardings on the Green Line is 70,554.


  • Route 1
    • Lake Street Elevated 1.1
    • The Loop 1.2
    • South Side Elevated 1.3
      • Ashland branch 1.3.1
      • Jackson Park branch 1.3.2
  • Rolling stock 2
  • History 3
    • Incidents 3.1
  • Points of interest 4
  • Station listing 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Lake Street Elevated

Beginning at the yard and inspection facilities in Forest Park, the Green Line runs east through Oak Park towards the city on an embankment parallel to Metra's Union Pacific/West Line tracks from the Harlem Avenue terminal (7200 W. – 400 N.), on the border of Oak Park and River Forest, to a point just west of Laramie Avenue. Here the Green Line tracks leaves the railroad embankment and continues east on a steel elevated structure directly above Lake Street, a major east–west thoroughfare. The "L" bridges a couple of railroad tracks before entering downtown Chicago at Clinton Street. East of Clinton Street, the route bridges Metra's Union Pacific railroad tracks (which terminate just south of here at Ogilvie Transportation Center) and the Chicago River before joining the Union Loop "L" tracks at Wells Street.

The Loop

Northward view from the Adams/Wabash station at night

In downtown Chicago, the Green Line operates over the famous Union Loop "L" structure along with Brown Line (Ravenswood), Orange Line (Midway), Pink Line (Douglas) and Purple Line Express (weekday rush hours only) trains. However, Green Line trains operate both ways over the Lake Street and Wabash Avenue sides only, and does not use the Wells Street and Van Buren Street sides of the Loop.

The Green Line is the only line in the "L" system that has multiple entry/exit points to the elevated Loop, the only route that does not use the Loop to terminate. Its route takes it over only the north and east portions of the Loop, which are used bidirectionally, as opposed to the Orange, Pink, Purple and Brown Lines, which operate unidirectionally over the Loop and then return to their originating depots on one side of the city (West, Southwest, and North).

South Side Elevated

Leaving the Loop at Tower 12, the tracks continue along Wabash Avenue and follows an "S" curve (which was realigned in 2002) to the west and south now following the alley between Wabash Avenue and State Street to 40th Street. This 3.8 mile section is the oldest part of Chicago's "L" system. On this segment, the Green Line shares tracks with the Orange Line between the Loop and 17th Street. Passengers can transfer between the two lines at Roosevelt/Wabash station. The other stations on this section are at Cermak–McCormick Place and 35th–Bronzeville–IIT, adjacent the Illinois Institute of Technology campus and the Chicago Police Department Headquarters. At 40th Street, the route turns east to Indiana station, then turns south between Calumet and Prairie Avenues to the Garfield station and continues south to 59th Street where the route splits into two branches—the Englewood (Ashland/63rd) branch and the Jackson Park (East 63rd) branch.

Ashland branch

The Englewood branch's Ashland/63rd station and terminal.

The Ashland branch continues south and west following 59th Street, Princeton Avenue and 63rd Street to the Ashland terminal (1600 W. – 6300 S.) in West Englewood. The yard and inspection shop lie to the south between the old Racine station and the Ashland/63rd terminal. The "L" tracks continues west to a stub end at Hermitage Avenue, a prediction for a future extension of the route westward, however, those plans were cancelled in the late 1970s. Prior to 1992, the Englewood branch had two additional stops at Wentworth and Harvard, closed by the CTA for service cuts. Halsted/63rd is the only remaining stop on the 3.1 miles (5.0 km) route.

The Englewood branch was permanently renamed the Ashland branch as of March 2013 according to the CTA.

Jackson Park branch

The Jackson Park branch continues south from the mainline between Calumet and Prairie Avenues, passing the old yard and inspection facilities at 61st Street in Washington Park. South of here, the route curves east over 63rd Street and follows it to the current terminal at Cottage Grove/63rd (800 E. - 6300 S.). Prior to 1994, the Jackson Park branch of the Green Line once terminated at University/63rd and before that, at Stony Island/63rd from 1893 until 1982. In addition to losing the University/63rd station, the Jackson Park branch also lost the 61st Street station and the 58th Street station in 1994.

Rolling stock

Currently, the Green Line is operated with the Bombardier-built 5000-series cars. The 5000-series cars officially began running on the Green Line on July 1, 2012 after the Pink Line became fully re-equipped with the new cars. As additional 5000-series cars were assigned to the Green Line, the remaining 2400-series cars were reassigned to the Red, Purple and Orange Lines to finish out their service lives. Occasionally, 2600-series railcars and Morrison-Knudsen-built 3200-series railcars were used on the Green Line, though these were loaned from the Blue, Brown and Orange Lines, and only when the Green Line was short on cars. With the 5000-series cars now completely equipping the Green Line fleet after the last of the 2400-series cars were reassigned in mid-May 2013, the borrowing of 2600-series cars and 3200-series cars is no longer necessary. The Green Line was the second line to be fully equipped with the 5000-series cars, following the Pink Line. Trains generally operate at 10 to 12 minute headways during much of the day (about 20 to 25 minutes on the Englewood and Jackson Park branches), with 4 to 6 car trains. There is no overnight service along the Green Line. As of 2013, the last 2400-series cars were removed from service from the line.


Chicago Transit Authority control tower 18 guides elevated Chicago "L" north and southbound Purple and Brown lines intersecting with east and westbound Pink and Green lines and the looping Orange line above the Wells and Lake street intersection in the loop.

The Green Line operates over the two oldest sections of the Chicago "L". The South Side section started operation in 1892 when Chicago was preparing for the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Jackson Park. The initial section was built to provide service between downtown Chicago and the exposition site. This first section of the Chicago and South Side Rapid Transit Railroad between Wabash Avenue and State Street went into service on June 6, 1892.[2] It extended from Congress Street only as far south as 39th Street (Pershing Road). At that time a large part of the south side was little more than prairie, but by May 1, 1893, when the pioneer "L" line was completed to Jackson Park, construction of homes, apartment buildings and commercial properties was booming in the area.

Continued expansion of the area development was reflected in construction of the Englewood, Normal Park, Kenwood and Stock Yards branches of the South Side "L" between 1905 and 1908. Of these, only the Englewood and Jackson Park branches remain: because of insufficient patronage, the Normal Park, Stock Yards and Kenwood branches were closed in the 1950s.

View from Ashland station along the Lake Street section of the Green Line
Pink and Green line elevated tracks crossing Franklin Street in the Loop

The Lake Street Elevated was Chicago's second rapid transit line. It began operation from a terminal at Madison and Market streets to Lake Street and California Avenue on November 6, 1893.[3] The line was gradually extended westward to Laramie Avenue on April 29, 1894; to Austin Avenue on April 15, 1899;[4] to Wisconsin Avenue, Oak Park using street railway trackage on May 15, 1899 (closed in 1902), and to Marengo Avenue, Forest Park, on May 14, 1910.

The construction of the Lake Street Elevated led to a political quarrel in suburban Cicero Township, which at the time included Oak Park and Austin. In 1898, Austinites, having a majority on Cicero's town council, used political influence to allow the extension of the Lake Street line from the city border at Laramie Avenue (then called 52nd Avenue) into their community. This infuriated other Cicero Township residents, who retaliated the following year by holding a joint election to force Austin's annexation to the City of Chicago. Much to the dismay of local residents, this effort succeeded, and Austin became part of Chicago in 1899. A century later, Oak Park commuters, who had come to depend on the service, were among the most vocal critics of the Green Line's closure for rehabilitation.

From 1949 until 1993, the Englewood and Jackson Park branches were part of the North–South Route in various service configurations operating from the north side through the Loop and to the south side. On October 17, 1943, the Englewood and Jackson Park services were rerouted into the State Street Subway to provide improved crosstown access through the heart of city and to alleviate congestion on the over-crowded Union Loop Elevated. On July 31, 1949, during the north–south rapid transit service revision by the CTA, the Howard–Englewood/Jackson Park route was created, operating via the State Street subway, using the 13th Street portal.

On May 6, 1969, the Englewood branch was extended to the current south terminal at Ashland/63rd. On December 12, 1982, the Jackson Park branch was shortened to University because of structural deterioration at the Dorchester Bridge which carried the route across the Illinois Central Railroad to the former Stony Island/63rd terminal which closed on March 4, 1982 and was later demolished.

The Lake Street "L" would remain largely unchanged until 1948, when a number of its historic passenger stations were closed and demolished in an attempt to promote the "A" and "B" skip-stop express train service (discontinued on the Green Line upon its reconfiguration in 1993). On October 28, 1962, the western two and one-half mile section of the line which operated at street level was elevated along the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad right-of-way opening new above-ground stops at Central, Austin, Ridgeland, Oak Park and Harlem/Lake, Forest Park. On September 28, 1969, the Lake Street branch was paired with the new Dan Ryan Line to form the West–South Route, operating from Forest Park through downtown via the Union Loop "L" to 95th/Dan Ryan. The Lake–Dan Ryan routing was to fulfill the service implementation outlined in the 1968 Chicago Central Area Transit Plan. However, when that controversial subway project was cancelled in 1979, Lake–Dan Ryan service remained and lasted for 24 years.

On February 21, 1993, the south side sections of the North–South and West–South Routes were switched south of Roosevelt Road, creating the current Red Line (Howard–Dan Ryan) and the Green Line (Lake–Englewood/Jackson Park)

On January 9, 1994, the Green Line closed for the largest transit rehabilitation project in the city's history. The Green Line reopened on May 12, 1996, with much of the renewal work completed and with the exception of a few stations. Six stations were closed indefinitely following the rehabilitation project, which angered many commuters who depend on the Green Line. In September 1997, after political pressure brought on by community leaders, the Jackson Park branch was shortened again from University to Cottage Grove after previous attempts by the City, CTA and other agencies to extend the route eastward to Dorchester, immediately west of the Illinois Central Railroad. This had seemed logical to the pro-"Dorchester Terminal," camp, due to the fact that the Metra Electric District and South Shore Line both share a station along the IC ROW, at 63rd Street.

On April 26, 1998, the Green Line, like the Purple Line and the Douglas branch of the Blue Line lost its 24-hour service due to budget shortfalls and operates only between the hours of 4 a.m. and 1 a.m weekdays. The Green Line runs 6 a.m. Saturdays and 6:30 a.m. on Sundays


On May 28, 2008, a derailment was reported, with approximately 24 injuries. Two train cars on the four-car train appeared to be derailed, with the leading car abutting the one behind it at an angle of approximately 150 degrees. The train cars were separated at a switching point near 59th Street.[5]

Points of interest

The Green Line provides access to, among other destinations, the Garfield Park Conservatory (Conservatory–Central Park Drive), United Center (Ashland) James R. Thompson Center, Richard J. Daley Center and City Hall–Cook County Building (Clark/Lake), Millennium Park (Randolph/Wabash and Madison/Wabash), the Art Institute of Chicago (Adams/Wabash), the Auditorium Building of Roosevelt University, Museum Campus and Soldier Field (Roosevelt/Wabash), the Illinois Institute of Technology and U.S. Cellular Field (White Sox Park) (35th–Bronzeville–IIT), the University of Chicago (Garfield) and Kennedy–King College (Halsted/63rd). The Clinton/Lake and Randolph/Wabash stops are useful for reaching Metra and South Shore Line trains at the Ogilvie Transportation Center and Millennium Station.

Station listing

Green Line (Lake Street Elevated)
Station Location Transfers Points of interest and notes
Harlem/Lake Handicapped/disabled access Metra or South Shore connection 1 S. Harlem Avenue, Forest Park Downtown Oak Park, transfer to Oak Park (Metra), Forest Preserve District of Cook County Headquarters
Oak Park 100 S. Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park Oak Park, Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, Unity Temple, Ernest Hemingway Museum & Brithplace
Ridgeland 36 S. Ridgeland Avenue, Oak Park Oak Park and River Forest High School, Oak Park,
Austin 351 N. Austin Boulevard
Central Handicapped/disabled access 350 N. Central Avenue Columbus Park, Walser House, Austin Town Hall
Laramie Handicapped/disabled access 5148 W. Lake Street
Cicero Handicapped/disabled access 4800 W. Lake Street Former Brach's Candy Factory
Pulaski Handicapped/disabled access 4000 W. Lake Street Chicago Public Library Legler branch
Conservatory–Central Park Drive Handicapped/disabled access 3630 W. Lake Street Garfield Park Conservatory, Garfield Park Field house
Homan 3400 W. Lake Street Closed January 9, 1994; replaced by Conservatory–Central Park Drive
Kedzie Handicapped/disabled access Metra or South Shore connection 3200 W. Lake Street Transfer to Kedzie (Metra)
California Handicapped/disabled access 2800 W. Lake Street Chicago Center for Green Technology
Ashland Handicapped/disabled access 1601 W. Lake Street      Pink Line United Center – Home of the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Blackhawks
958 W. Lake Street UIC, Harpo Studios, Greektown, Coyne College, Fulton Market District
Halsted 800 W. Lake Street Closed January 9, 1994
Clinton Handicapped/disabled access Metra or South Shore connection 540 W. Lake Street Ogilvie Transportation Center, Chicago Transit Authority Headquarters
Green Line (Loop)
Station Location Transfers Points of interest and notes
Clark/Lake Handicapped/disabled access 100/124 W. Lake Street      Blue Line
     Brown Line
     Orange Line
     Purple Line
     Pink Line
James R. Thompson Center
State/Lake 200 N. State Street      Red Line Harold Washington College, Chicago Theatre
Randolph/Wabash Metra or South Shore connection 151 N. Wabash Avenue Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park

Transfer station for Millennium Station

Washington/Wabash TBD Consolidation of Madison/Wabash and Randolph/Wabash scheduled to open in 2016
Madison/Wabash 2 N. Wabash Avenue Closed March 16, 2015
Adams/Wabash 201/223 S. Wabash Ave.      Brown Line
     Orange Line
     Purple Line
     Pink Line
Grant Park, Petrillo Music Shell, Buckingham Fountain, Art Institute of Chicago, Orchestra Hall DePaul University
Green Line (South Side Elevated)
Station Location Transfers Points of interest and notes
Roosevelt Handicapped/disabled access Metra or South Shore connection 22 E. Roosevelt Road      Orange Line
     Red Line
Transfer to Museum Campus/11th Street (Metra station), Museum Campus, Field Museum of Natural History, Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium and Soldier Field
Cermak–McCormick Place Handicapped/disabled access 12 E. Cermak Road McCormick Place, Motor Row District
35th–Bronzeville–IIT Handicapped/disabled access Metra or South Shore connection 16 E. 35th Street Illinois Institute of Technology, Shimer College, De La Salle Institute, Chicago Police Headquarters, Douglas Tomb State Memorial, Pilgrim Baptist Church, Victory Sculpture, Chicago Defender Building, Eighth Regiment Armory (Chicago), Black Metropolis-Bronzeville District, Bronzeville
Indiana Handicapped/disabled access 4003 S. Indiana Avenue Wendell Phillips Academy High School, South Side Community Art Center, Former terminal for Stock Yards and Kenwood Lines
43rd Handicapped/disabled access 314 E. 43rd Street North Kenwood District, King College Prep High School
47th Handicapped/disabled access 314 E. 47th Street Harold Washington Cultural Center, Robert S. Abbott House
51st Handicapped/disabled access 319 E. 51st Street Provident Hospital of Cook County, KAM Isaiah Israel, Kenwood Academy, Barack Obama House
Garfield Handicapped/disabled access 320 E. Garfield Boulevard Museum of Science and Industry, Washington Park, University of Chicago, DuSable Museum of African American History, Historic Garfield Station Entrance, Transfer between Ashland and Cottage Grove bound trains
58th 320/324 E. 58th Street Closed January 9, 1994
Green Line (Ashland "Englewood" branch)
Station Location Transfers Points of interest and notes
Halsted Handicapped/disabled access 6321 S. Halsted Street Kennedy-King College, Englewood
Racine 6314-16 S. Racine Avenue Closed January 9, 1994
Ashland/63rd Handicapped/disabled access 6315 S. Ashland Avenue Englewood
Green Line (East 63rd "Jackson Park" branch)
Station Location Transfers Points of interest and notes
61st 316 E. 61st St. Closed January 9, 1994
King Drive Handicapped/disabled access 400 E. 63rd St. Woodlawn, Inbound boarding only
Cottage Grove Handicapped/disabled access 800 E. 63rd St. University of Chicago, University of Chicago Medical Center, Jackson Park, Oak Woods Cemetery, Woodlawn
University 1200 E. 63rd St. Closed January 9, 1994
Dorchester 1400 E. 63rd St. Closed January 13, 1973. Partially rebuilt during Green Line rehab then demolished.


  1. ^ – Chicago Green Line
  2. ^ "Running on the "L."". Chicago Daily Tribune. June 7, 1892. p. 9. 
  3. ^ "Crowds on Lake Street "L."". Chicago Daily Tribune. November 7, 1893. p. 8. 
  4. ^ "Austin Hails Five-Cent Fares". Chicago Daily Tribune. April 15, 1899. p. 5. 
  5. ^ Several Minor Injuries In Green Line Derailment

External links

  • Green Line at
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