Thursday, April 17, 2008

This L video takes me back!!!

I for the heck of it was looking for videos about Chicago-L and I found some very old ones. Some reminded me of rides I never took and those that I have often, such as this one. I remember many years ago the Dan Ryan line could take us to the west side on Lake Street. We would leave Cermak then go near 18th Street and then back down in an alley between State and Wabash.

My mother and I would often go downtown at least on the weekends. We didn't take the L much probably before the switch because she chose to drive downtown and pay for parking. As a result I don't recall taking an L before the Dan Ryan line was rerouted into the State Street Subway to become the current CTA Red Line.

However, what I do remember is being on some of the first runs after the rerouting. There were colorful balloons, pamphlets, and maps commemorating and informing us of the switch. I wish I knew what I did with some of those today. I know that the balloons probably wouldn't have lasted anyway.

In any case looking at this vid, I would have been oblivious to the opening of the Roosevelt station on what is now the CTA Green Line. The Green Line being a result of rerouting trains from Englewood and Jackson Park (or East 63rd) into the loop thru the west side. Previously Englewood/Jackson Park trains were on their way to the north side instead thru the State Street subway.

Indeed you should see a portal in this video that was where those trains would have entered the subway. Of course before you see the train pull off from Cermak-Chinatown you will see a switch where instead of going up to the elevated tracks along 18th Street, you would move to the right and that would take you into another portal that will send you into the State Street subway. Hmmm, I always thought it took us passengers a while before we arrived at Roosevelt Road, the first stop in the subway from the south side. I have always figured that if the train had gone in where they used to at 13th Street (for the old Englewood/Jackson Park-Howard alignment) it didn't take long to get to Roosevelt. Well that's my thinking anyway.

It was great to see these vids. It reminds me of the time where passengers were able to sit in what's referred to as a rail fan seat. They would be on the opposite side of the motorman and it gives them an eagle eye at the front of the train. It was exciting when I was younger but somewhat disappointed when CTA went to an OPTO system with one person operating the train. And these days the area near the motorman's position is cordoned off so as to not disrupt the motorman as now he not only has to drive the train, but also open and close the doors. That in addition to handling any problems aboard the train including disruptive passengers, criminal activity, or bum brakes.

Anyway I didn't intend to turn this post into a CTA historical gushfest. So if you want to know more is where you should go. Also check out the rest of the CTA vids here and be sure to search for appropriately enough "Chicago L".

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