Illinois Railway Museum offers special “L” tour

The Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois is offering a special trip aboard 2200 series CTA cars to view the Chicago Transit Authority rail network. Scheduled for Sunday March 28, the $42 trip will include docents from the ranks of current and retired CTA employees.

An Evanston Express train rolls past the Bryn Mawr station in an early February 2010 blizzard.

An Evanston Express train rolls past the Bryn Mawr station in an early February 2010 blizzard. The 2200 series, not photographed, first entered service in 1969. The cars are being replaced in part due to their not being ADA complaint. The 2200 series is the oldest cars in the CTA fleet. As of this date, they only operate on the Blue Line. Credit: Patrick Boylan

The 2200 series, which is not ADA-complaint, is scheduled to be retired this year in favor of a new series, the 5000 series. The $42 trip will cover each of the agencies rail lines with a stop for lunch in the Loop. The trip will start at 9 AM at the Rosemont Station and conclude, returning to Rosemont at 6 PM.

Train service was vital to the founding of the Welles Park neighborhood. According to an entry in the Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago written by Amanda Seligman real-estate speculators purchased 194 acres, an area that would be slightly greater than ½ mile on a side, to form the Ravenswood Land Company in 1868.

Key to the development of the area was an arrangement with the Chicago & North Western Railroad to open a station. In 1907 the Northwestern Elevated Railroad opened a branch line to Ravenswood, opening the area to greater development.

The Northwestern Elevated Railroad branch eventually became our neighborhood’s Brown Line, but is still popularly known as the Ravenswood Line. According to the most recent reports of the CTA, more than 480,000 people used the CTA rail lines on an average weekday.

Average Brown Line weekday ridership increased 15.7 percent in December 2009 over December 2008, averaging more than 46,000 riders a day. The Western Avenue station at 4648 N Western Ave., Chicago, IL, accounts for 3,336 riders on the average weekday, leading all other pure Brown Line stations in ridership.

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Patrick Boylan

About Patrick Boylan

Patrick grew up near LaFollette Park on the West Side. He contends that the very best Italian beef sandwiches are made on the West Side and has a strange love of the flat pizza from that part of the city. Patrick led The Bulldog to win seven journalism awards in 2011, including four awards to Patrick as a solo or a team member. He is very proud of The Dog's coverage of politics and schools in the neighborhood. Patrick wrote for the Times of Northwest Indiana as a stringer covering Cook County Government, for the Chicago Tribune as a stringer on the Chicago Wolves and for ChicagoNow as a writer before starting The Dog. He wrote for four years for as a media commentator and spent about 20 years in operations at city newspapers, including nine years as owner of his own distribution company. Prior to that he spent about nine years in public relations. Patrick has a Masters degree from the University of Colorado. He attended Eastern Illinois University for undergrad and Weber High School and St. Peter Canisius grammar school. The two-flat he owns was built in 1912 and has never been featured, to his knowledge, in any major motion pictures despite having a way-cool garden. Patrick purchased the property in 1994 and "couldn't afford to buy it now." His daughter is a college student in California. He lives in the house with his wife, Jane, and two cats who often sit in on his phone interviews.

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