Chicago’s ‘L’ Service Celebrates 125th Anniversary

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Board Chairman Terry Peterson and CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. attended an event to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the ‘L’ train system, the city’s first elevated railway. 

In 1892, the first ‘L’ trains consisted of four wooden passenger cars pulled by a small, coal-burning, steam locomotive and travelled from a modest terminal at 39th Street north to Congress Street. The ‘L’ service led the way for many of Chicago’s current rail lines. 

“Few inventions have had such an impact on Chicago as the historic ‘L’,” remarked Mayor Emanuel. “Our transit system is the city’s heartbeat that moves us forward. The story of the ‘L’ is the story of Chicago’s innovation and ingenuity.” 

“We are excited to celebrate with our customers today and thank them for their patronage over the last 125 years,” said Carter. “As important as it is to celebrate our history, we are equally excited about our future, and the investments the Mayor is making to provide a 21st Century transit system.” 

To celebrate the anniversary, the CTA will offer rides on trains featuring vintage railcars from CTA’s Heritage Fleet, including the 4000-series, built in 1923, and the 2400-series, built in 1976-78. The rides will take place on the historic Loop ‘L’ tracks in downtown Chicago. 

CTA is also celebrating the agency’s 70th anniversary. Throughout 2017, events and activities are planned, including tours, ridership promotions, contests and giveaways. CTA’s Heritage Fleet—consisting of vintage trains and buses—will make a number of public appearances as part of the celebration.