January 2, 2013 Travis Dewitz

Very Large Photography Series on the CTA “L” in Chicago

95Chicago Transit Authority L Train201

I love visiting Chicago just to see the Chicago Transit Authority’s “L” passenger trains. There is so much history in that transit system which you can actually touch and ride in. All of the different cultures of Chicago come together at the CTA “L” passenger stations to wait for the next train, which normally shows up within minutes. Taking the Red Line down underground is like an amusement part ride as it quickly picks up speed and drops below the surface of the city. The light from outside fades quickly as dim fluorescent lights cast a greenish glow outside the cars and in. As the cars violently shake back and forth the smell of arcing electricity and hot brakes start to fill the cars as they come to a quick stop at the next station. People rush on and off the cars and get back to their lives as I just sit back and take it all in. Before you know it we’re on the move again as the train quickly accelerate out of the underground subway station back into a dark tube. At the next station I will get off and board the next train heading back towards the loop downtown. Once back in the loop above ground, the cars gently click and rock as the towering buildings jut straight up over me. Once you are off at an elevated station, you feel as if you are greatly separated from the noise and hustle of the city streets below as buses and taxis speed beneath you. The people and how they are dressed at the stations and on the trains change like the seasons, as the hours go by from morning to night. It is an experience I have enjoyed many times and hopefully many more. I hope you enjoy my images of Chicago’s CTA “L”.

Wiki History of the “L”

Chicago Transit Authority, also known as CTA or Transit Chicago, is the operator of mass transit within the City of Chicago, Illinois and some of its surrounding suburbs.
The CTA is a municipal corporation that started operations on October 1, 1947 upon the purchase and combination of the transportation assets of the Chicago Rapid Transit Company and the Chicago Surface Lines streetcar system. In 1952, CTA purchased the assets of the Chicago Motor Coach Company, which was under the control of Yellow Cab founder John D. Hertz, resulting in a fully unified system. Today, the CTA is one of the three service boards financially supported by the Regional Transportation Authority.

The Chicago Transit Authority provides service to Chicago and 40 surrounding suburbs. The CTA provided a total of 620.5 million rides in 2011, a 3 percent increase over 2010 with ridership rising to levels not seen for 20 years. CTA operates 24 hours each day and on an average weekday provides 1.7 million rides on buses and trains. It has approximately 1,800 buses that operate over 140 routes traveling along 2,230 route miles (3,658 km). Buses provide about one million passenger trips a day and serve more than 12,000 posted bus stops. The Chicago Transit Authority’s 1,190 train cars operate over eight routes and 222 miles (357 km) of track. Its trains provide about 750,000 customer trips each weekday and serve 144 stations in Chicago.

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117Chicago Transit Authority L Train158 118Chicago Transit Authority L Train077 119Chicago Transit Authority L Train105 120Chicago Transit Authority L Train131 121Chicago Transit Authority L Train052 122Chicago Transit Authority L Train140 123Chicago Transit Authority L Train053 124Chicago Transit Authority L Train051 125Chicago Transit Authority L Train145 126Chicago Transit Authority L Train079 127Chicago Transit Authority L Train134 128Chicago Transit Authority L Train103 129Chicago Transit Authority L Train118 130Chicago Transit Authority L Train050 131Chicago Transit Authority L Train175 132Chicago Transit Authority L Train058 133Chicago Transit Authority L Train163 134Chicago Transit Authority L Train072 136Chicago Transit Authority L Train049 137Chicago Transit Authority L Train159 138Chicago Transit Authority L Train177 139Chicago Transit Authority L Train130 140Chicago Transit Authority L Train059 141Chicago Transit Authority L Train099 142Chicago Transit Authority L Train034 143Chicago Transit Authority L Train005 144Chicago Transit Authority L Train176 145Chicago Transit Authority L Train038 146Chicago Transit Authority L Train083 147Chicago Transit Authority L Train203 148Chicago Transit Authority L Train027 149Chicago Transit Authority L Train111 151Chicago Transit Authority L Train108 152Chicago Transit Authority L Train113 153Chicago Transit Authority L Train207 154Chicago Transit Authority L Train068 155Chicago Transit Authority L Train094 156Chicago Transit Authority L Train141 157Chicago Transit Authority L Train202 158Chicago Transit Authority L Train206 159Chicago Transit Authority L Train001 160Chicago Transit Authority L Train036 161Chicago Transit Authority L Train150 162Chicago Transit Authority L Train151 163Chicago Transit Authority L Train160 164Chicago Transit Authority L Train009 165Chicago Transit Authority L Train075 166Chicago Transit Authority L Train137 167Chicago Transit Authority L Train024 168Chicago Transit Authority L Train039 169Chicago Transit Authority L Train169 170Chicago Transit Authority L Train182 171Chicago Transit Authority L Train125 172Chicago Transit Authority L Train155 173Chicago Transit Authority L Train046 174Chicago Transit Authority L Train065 175Chicago Transit Authority L Train172 176Chicago Transit Authority L Train040 178Chicago Transit Authority L Train090 179Chicago Transit Authority L Train085 180Chicago Transit Authority L Train102 181Chicago Transit Authority L Train148 182Chicago Transit Authority L Train128 183Chicago Transit Authority L Train129 184Chicago Transit Authority L Train153 185Chicago Transit Authority L Train161

Wiki History

The Metra Electric District is an electrified commuter rail line owned and operated by Metra which connects Millennium Station (formerly Randolph Street Station) in downtown Chicago, with the city’s southern suburbs. While Metra does not explicitly refer to any of its lines by color, the timetable accents for the Metra Electric District are printed in bright “Panama orange” to reflect the line’s origins with the Illinois Central Railroad (IC) and its Panama Limited passenger train.
It is the only Metra line powered by overhead catenary, and the only one with three branches. Trains operate on 1500 volts direct current, and all stations have high-level platforms. Its main line north of Kensington is shared by NICTD’s South Shore Line, an electric interurban line through northern Indiana to South Bend.

77Chicago Transit Authority L Train208135Chicago Transit Authority L Train209150Chicago Transit Authority L Train210177Chicago Transit Authority L Train211

 


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About the Author
Travis Dewitz is a professional photographer located out of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He has been published in many books and magazines including many in the railroad industry. He does a lot of photography work and environmental portraitures for many companies and heavy industries in and around Wisconsin. He has grown up with trains and railroads are one of his passions that he pursues. His railroad photography can be seen on his website The Railroad Collection.

 

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I look forward to collaborating with you on any of your questions or comments. Don’t hesitate to reach out, I am detail oriented and would gladly answer any questions.