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The Red Line is a heavy rail line in Chicagomarker, run by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) as part of the Chicago 'L' system. It is CTA's busiest rail line, serving an average of 248,844 passengers each weekday as of October 2009. The route is long with a total of 34 stations, from Rogers Parkmarker (Howard Street) on the City Limits north, through downtown Chicago, and to Roselandmarker (95th/Dan Ryan) on the south. Like the Blue Line, the Red Line runs 24 Hours.


North Side Mainline

The northern terminus of the Red Line is Howard Streetmarker in the Rogers Parkmarker neighborhood of Chicago (7600 N. - 1700 W.), on the City Limits farthest north. The Red Line extends southeasterly on an elevated embankment structure about a half-mile (1 kilometer) west of the lakefront to Touhy Avenue then turns south along Glenwood Avenue to Morse station. From there the route swings on a sweeping reverse curve to the east to Sheridan Road, adjacent to Loyola University Chicagomarker and continues southerly parallel to Broadway Avenue to the east and follows Broadway to Leland Avenue. From here, the route transitions from concrete embankment to steel elevated structure. The 'L' continues southward running adjacent the Graceland Cemetery, Irving Park Road and Sheffield Avenue from Uptownmarker to Lincoln Parkmarker. The Brown Line (Ravenswood) joins the Red Line tracks just north of the Belmont Avenue stationmarker.

South of Belmont, Red and Brown Line trains run side-by-side on the four track North Side 'L' to Armitage Avenue.

Clybourn-Division-State Subway

At Armitage, the Red Line descends to a portal at Willow Street and becomes a subway route, turning southeast in Clybourn Avenue, east in Division Street, and south in State Street through the Loopmarker to Roosevelt Road. South of Roosevelt Road, there is a junction, with one pair of tracks curving to the east and leaving the subway at 13th Street and connects to the old South Side 'L' near 16th and State Streets. This section was used between October, 1943 and February, 1993 when North Side trains were routed to Englewood and Jackson Park. It is now used for non-service train moves and emergency purposes.

From the Red Line, passengers can directly transfer to any other Chicago 'L' line. This is unique to it and the Purple Line, when the Purple Line runs its rush hour route.

Dan Ryan Branch

Back at 13th Street the subway swings away from State Street on a reverse curve to the southwest then rises to another portal near 18th Street adjacent Metra's Rock Island District commuter railroad line. The Red Line bridges 18th Street and continues southward on a steel column pan concrete deck elevated structure to 24th Street. The Cermak-Chinatownmarker station is in this section.

South of Cermak Road, the Red Line tracks run along the median strip of the Franklin Street Connector, the planned, but never-completed downtown feeder branch of the Dan Ryan Expressway. The Red Line then tunnels beneath the expressway interchange between 28th and 30th Streets and continues southward now occupying the median strip of the Dan Ryan Expressway (Interstate 90 & 94). The Red Line follows the Dan Ryan the rest of the way to the 95th Street terminalmarker (9500 S. - 1 W.) in Roselandmarker. The 98th Street Yard and Carhouse lie just south and east of the Dan Ryan-Bishop Ford Expressway interchange. Beyond the interchange, the Dan Ryan and Bishop Ford expressways continue towards the City's Limits south without a transit line in the median strip, but with a grass median occupying space where provisions were made (when they were being built) for future rapid transit extensions of the Dan Ryan Line.

Stations along the Red Line serve important Chicago landmarks such as Wrigley Fieldmarker (Addisonmarker), U.S.marker Cellular Fieldmarker and the Illinois Institute of Technologymarker (Sox-35thmarker), DePaul Universitymarker (Fullertonmarker), the Auditorium Buildingmarker of Roosevelt University, and Loyola University Chicago (Loyolamarker), as well as the Magnificent Mile and Chinatownmarker.

Operating Fleet

Currently, the Red Line is operated only with Budd-built 2600-Series rail cars. If there is a shortage of cars at the Howard Yard during rush hour, Boeing-Vertol-built 2400-Series Purple Line cars will sometimes appear on the Red Line, usually in mixed consists with 2600-series cars. Like the Blue Line, the Red Line runs 24 hours a day. Service has a 4 to 6 minute headway during peak periods with 8-car trains, and a 15 minute headway during the early morning hours with 4 to 8 car trains.


The Red Line was created in 1993 when the CTA adopted color-coded nomenclature for all of its 'L' routes. The oldest section of the route opened on May 31, 1900 on the north side between Wilson and Broadway Avenues and the Loop. It was constructed by the Northwestern Elevated Railroad Company. The route was extended to Central Streetmarker in Evanstonmarker on May 16, 1908 via leased and electrified trackage belonging to the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad, and then to Linden Avenuemarker in Wilmettemarker on April 2, 1912. In November, 1913, the North Side 'L' was through routed with the South Side 'L' lines through the Union Loop. The ground-level section between Leland Avenue and Howard Street was elevated on a concrete embankment structure and expanded to four tracks in 1922.

The Clybourn-Division-State Subway was completed in 1943 providing two new tracks bypassing the portion of the North and South Side 'L' lines not equipped with express tracks. By providing an express route free of the most restrictive curves on the Chicago 'L' and shorter than the old line it supplemented (thanks to use of a diagonal street, Clybourn Avenue, for one leg of the route), the subway reduced running time by as much as 11 minutes for a one-way trip. The route was placed in operation October 17, 1943, for a portion of the through north-south trains although other trains continued to use the 'L' both on through trips and on services circling the Loop and returning to the point of origin.

On July 31, 1949, the North-South route was revised to create a more efficient routing through the Central Business District and handle the heavy volumes of passenger traffic using it. Thus, the Howard line was combined with the Jackson Park-Englewood lines through the State Street Subway, and the other lines routed to the Loop 'L'.
A Red Line train in the median of Dan Ryan Expressway
The Dan Ryan Branch was opened September 28, 1969, and was originally combined with the Lake Street line to form the West-South route (Lake-Dan Ryan). It operated over the Lake Street and Wabash Avenue sides of the Union Loop. This "interim" service was created mainly for the purpose of providing through service between the west side and the south side in anticipation of the 1968 Loop Subway Project. When the controversial subway project was cancelled in 1979, the Lake-Dan Ryan service remained, and lasted for nearly 24 years.

For much of the twentieth century, the Howard-Englewood/Jackson Park route was equally compatible in terms of passenger traffic until the late 1960s through the 1970s. However, passenger traffic volumes began to shift on the south side lines, with more riders using the newer Dan Ryan line (which runs four miles (6 km) further south) and fewer riders on the older 'L' lines. This imbalance of service allowed the CTA to develop a more efficient system by combining the more heavily used rail lines together, and the weaker lines with each other, providing increased service capacity for the routes that need it. Thus, on February 21, 1993 the Howard branch was combined with the Dan Ryan branch creating the present Red Line, and the Lake Street branch was paired with the Englewood-Jackson Park routes to form the Green Line. A further operational benefit of this switch was that there was now additional available capacity on the Loop 'L', which was required for the soon-to-open Orange Line.

The Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line underwent a rehabilitation period to improve its aging infrastructure which ended in early 2007. This work included upgrading the power and signal systems, and rehabilitating the stations with improved lighting, a cleaner appearance, and new escalators and elevators. The CTA has plans to expand Red Line to 10-car trains from the current eight-car trains.

Dan Ryan Extension

Proposals are currently underway to extend the Red Line south from 95th Street. The CTA has developed nine different proposed routes, one of which includes routing the Red Line down the median of the Bishop Ford Freeway and another in the median of Interstate 57. At an alternatives analysis meeting on April 11th, 2007, CTA recommended narrowing further study down to five possible routes, two for bus rapid transit and three for heavy rail transit. The two bus routes would travel south from the 95th/Dan Ryan terminal either down Halsted Street or Michigan Avenue, and the heavy rail routes left for consideration are the Halsted and Michigan corridors (either underground or elevated) as well as the Union Pacific Railroad corridor (elevated or trench), which would traverse southeastward toward the South Shore Line. In October 2008 the CTA commissioned a $150,000-study of an extension due south to 130th/Stony Island in the community area of Roselandmarker.

In December 2008, at the Screen 2 presentation of the federally mandated Alternatives Analysis Study, the possible corridors and modes of transit were narrowed down to Halsted Street (Bus Rapid Transit or elevated Heavy Rail Transit) and the Union Pacific Railroad corridor (elevated Heavy Rail Transit).

Station listing

Red Line (Howard Branch)
Station Location Points of interest and notes
Howardmarker 1649 W. Howard Street Rogers ParkmarkerTransfer station for Yellow and Purple Lines
Jarvismarker 1523 W. Jarvis Avenue Rogers Parkmarker, Bach Housemarker
Morsemarker 1358 W. Morse Avenue Rogers Parkmarker, Heartland Cafe
Loyolamarker 1200 W. Loyola Avenue Rogers Parkmarker, Loyola University Chicagomarker Lakeshore Campus
Granvillemarker 1119 W. Granville Avenue Edgewatermarker, Berger Park, Gerber/Hart Library
Thorndalemarker 1118 W. Thorndale Avenue Edgewatermarker, Edgewatermarker Public Library
Bryn Mawrmarker 1119 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue Edgewatermarker, Bryn Mawr Historic Districtmarker Edgewater Beach Hotelmarker
Berwynmarker 1121 W. Berwyn Avenue Edgewatermarker
Argylemarker 1118 W. Argyle Avenue New Chinatown, Essanay Studiosmarker, St. Augustine College, Bachman Housemarker, Bezazian Public Library,
Lawrencemarker 1117 W. Lawrence Avenue Uptown Theatremarker, Riviera Theatre, Aragon Ballroommarker
Wilsonmarker 4620 N. Broadway Harry S Truman Collegemarker
Buena Buena Street and Kenmore Avenue Closed August 1, 1949
Sheridanmarker 3940 N. Sheridan Road Graceland Cemeterymarker Howard Brown Health Center, Thorek Memorial Hospital
Grace Closed August 1, 1949
Addisonmarker 940 W. Addison Street Wrigley Fieldmarker- home of the Chicago Cubs,Metromarker, Wrigleyville, Center on Halsted, the I.O. Theater, formerly improvolympic
Clark Clark Street and Roscoe Street Closed August 1, 1949
Belmontmarker 945 W. Belmont Avenue Lakeviewmarker, Briar Street Theatre, Boystown, The Vic TheatremarkerTransfer station for Purple and Brown Lines
Fullertonmarker 943 W. Fullerton Avenue Lincoln Parkmarker, DePaul Universitymarker, Children's Memorial Hospital, St. Josaphat Roman Catholic Church, Biograph TheatermarkerTransfer station for Purple and Brown Lines
Red Line (State Street Subway)
Station Location Points of interest and notes
North/Clybournmarker 1599 N. Clybourn Avenue Steppenwolf Theatre Companymarker, Goose Island Brewery Chicago History Museummarker
Clark/Divisionmarker 1200 N. Clark Street Newberry Librarymarker, Walter Payton College Prep High School
Chicagomarker 800 N. State Street John Hancock Centermarker, Chicago Water Towermarker, Water Tower Placemarker, Loyola University Chicago Water Tower Campus, Moody Bible Institutemarker, Northwestern Universitymarker Feinberg School of Medicine, Museum of Contemporary Artmarker
Grandmarker (open during construction) 521 N. State Street Navy Piermarker, Medinah Templemarker
Lakemarker 200 N. State Street Macy'smarker, Chicago Theatremarker, Chicago Cultural CentermarkerTransfer station for Orange, Green, Purple, Pink, and Brown Lines via State/Lakemarker and Metra trains (Metra Electric Line), and South Shore Line via The Pedway to Millenium Stationmarker

Washington (closed since 2006) 128 N. State Street Former transfer station for Blue Line, Metra trains (Metra Electric Line), and South Shore Line
Monroemarker 26 S. State Street Art Institute of Chicagomarker, Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Buildingmarker
Jacksonmarker 230 S. State Street Grant Parkmarker, Petrillo Music Shellmarker, Buckingham Fountainmarker, Harold Washington Library Centermarker, DePaul Universitymarker, Robert Morris Universitymarker, John Marshall Law School, Chicago Bar Association and The Auditorium Buildingmarker of Roosevelt UniversityTransfer station for Blue Line

Transfer station for Orange, Purple, Pink, and Brown Lines via Library-State/Van Burenmarker
Harrisonmarker 608 S. State Street Columbia College Chicagomarker, Dearborn Stationmarker, Printing House Row Districtmarker University Center Jones College Prep
Rooseveltmarker 1167 S. State Street Field Museummarker, Shedd Aquariummarker, Adler Planetariummarker, Northerly Island (formerly Meigs Fieldmarker), Soldier Fieldmarker-Home of Chicago BearsTransfer station for Orange and Green Lines
Red Line (Dan Ryan branch)
Station Location Points of interest and notes
Cermak-Chinatownmarker 138 W. Cermak Road Chinatownmarker, McCormick Placemarker, Hilliard Homes
Sox-35thmarker 142 W. 35th Street U.S.marker Cellular Fieldmarker (formerly Comiskey Parkmarker), home of the Chicago White Sox, Illinois Institute of Technologymarker
47thmarker 220 W. 47th Street Canaryville, Bronzeville
Garfieldmarker 220 W. Garfield Boulevard Main connecting point for the University of Chicagomarker and the Museum of Science and Industrymarker
63rdmarker 220 W. 63rd Street Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men
69thmarker 15 W. 69th Street
79thmarker 15 W. 79th Street Chatham, Chicagomarker
87thmarker 15 W. 87th Street Chatham-Ridge Shopping Center
95/Dan Ryanmarker 14 W. 95th Street Chicago State Universitymarker, Trinity United Church of Christ, Woodson Regional Library, John Marshall Harlan Community Academy High School

See also


External links

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