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Chicago Transit Authority
Although not a Wisconsin system, many Wisconsin rail fans
and other residents often visited Chicago and rode the
various elevated and subway lines.
Many continue to do so today.
Oct. 1, 1947 - Chicago becomes one of the first city owned transit
systems when the Chicago Transit Authority begins service after
buying privately owned Chicago Surface Lines and Chicago Rapid
Transit. Service begins with cars owned by the former companies.
Sept. 17, 1950 - The first of 770 all-metal Rapid Transit cars built by
St. Louis Car Co. (1-50 and 6001-6720) are placed in service.
Feb. 25, 1951 - Dearborn subway opens
May 30, 1954 - The last of the red streetcars are replaced by buses.
July 3, 1957 - Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban service abruptly
ends.  Trains used "L" tracks to reach Loop.
June 21, 1958 - The last streetcar in regular service, Green Hornet
PCC 7213 on Wentworth.
June 22, 1958 - First Rapid Transit operation in median of expressway
on Congress,  (later Eisenhower)
Jan. 21, 1963 - The Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee ends all
interurban service.  Trains used "L" tracks to reach the Loop.
April 20, 1964 - Skokie Swift begins operations on former CNS&M
right-of-way from Howard Ave. to Dempster Street.
June 15, 1964 - First of 180 air-conditioned Rapid Transit cars placed
in service (2000-2180).
Sept. 28, 1969 - Service begins on the Dan Ryan expressway with 150
new cars (2201-2352).
Feb. 1, 1970 - Service begins on Kennedy Rapid Transit from Logan
Square to Jefferson Park.
Nov. 8, 1973 - Evanston Rapid Transit is converted from overhead
wire to third rail, allowing retirement of the remaining 4000 series cars,
which were over 50 years old.
Oct. 6, 1976 - The first of 200 new sliding door Rapid Transit cars
(2401-2600) enter service.
Feb, 27, 1983 - Service begins on O'Hare Rapid Transit extension
from Jefferson Park to River Road.
Sept. 3, 1984 - O'Hare Rapid Transit completed from River Road into
airport terminal.
Aug. 27, 1992 - First of 256 Rapid Transit cars (3201-3457) equiped
for one-man operation are placed in service.
Oct. 31, 1993 - The new Orange Line Rapid Transit opens to Midway
Oct, 12, 1997 - CTA celebrates 100th anniversary of Loop "L" service.
2005 - Overhead wire comes down and Skokie Swift converted to
third-rail.  Catenary was remnant of North Shore Line operation.
Most older fans fondly recall the 4000's.
Built in the 1920's, they served the system well,  
carrying millions of riders into the 1970's.
Open windows, flip-over leather seats and thumping
air compressors gave them a life and personality not
found in modern cars.
Trolley pole operation on the Evanston line was an
added bonus.
Many of the 6000's were
built using components from
PCC streetcars, an early
version of recycling.  Some
were equipped with trolley
poles for use on the Evanston
The 6000's were the last cars
without air-conditioning.
Newer fans know little of the 4000's and earlier cars, unless they see and ride them
at a trolley museum.  To them, and present day commuters, the CTA subway and
elevated lines are modern, air-conditioned cars.
Newer cars and renovations to other cars have made the entire front end a cab,
which eliminates the "railfan's seat".
But, all things considered, whether riding the "L" or subways, a ride on one of the
many lines can still be an interesting experience.