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Chicago Transit Authority
HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS
SUBWAY AND ELEVATED LINES
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.
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 Airport.
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 Line.
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, a ride on one of the many lines
can still be an interesting experience.