East 55th (RTA Rapid Transit station)

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GCRTA wordmark logo.svg
  East 55th
RTA rapid transit and light rail station
East 55 Rapid Station September 2015.jpg
Location 2890 East 55th Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44127
Coordinates 41°28′50″N 81°39′7″W / 41.48056°N 81.65194°W / 41.48056; -81.65194Coordinates: 41°28′50″N 81°39′7″W / 41.48056°N 81.65194°W / 41.48056; -81.65194
Owned by Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
Platforms 1 island platform
Tracks 2
GCRTA wordmark logo.svg Bus transport 16 (East 55th)
Structure type At-grade
Parking 50 spaces[1]
Disabled access Yes
Opened April 11, 1920
Rebuilt 2009-2011
Preceding station   GCRTA wordmark logo.svg Rapid Transit   Following station
toward Airport
Red Line
Green Line
toward Green Road
Blue Line
East 55th (RTA Rapid Transit station) is located in Cleveland
East 55th (RTA Rapid Transit station)

East 55th is a station on the RTA Red, Green and Blue Lines in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. The station entrance is located on the east side of East 55th Street just north of the intersection with Bower Avenue and the eastern terminus of Interstate 490.

The station is fairly unusual in that it serves both high-level boarding rapid transit or heavy rail trains and low-level boarding light rail trains off of one central island platform. High-level boarding for the Red Line is located at the western end of the platform and low-level boarding for the Green and Blue Lines is located the eastern end of the platform. East 55th and East 34th are the only stations on the Blue/Green Line, other than downtown's Tower City Station, to utilize an island platform. Therefore, due the fare collection procedure used on the Blue/Green Line, disembarking Blue/Green Line westbound passengers must walk to the front of the train and pay their fare or swipe/dip their farecard at the farebox before walking back through the train to exit one of the car's side left doors. Likewise, passengers departing East 55th station on the Blue/Green Line going eastbound must board the train through one of the train's left side doors and then immediately walk to the front of the train to pay their fare or swipe/dip their farecard at the farebox.

Notable places nearby[edit]


The station was first used for the Shaker Rapid Transit, the predecessor of the Green and Blue Lines. The Shaker Rapid Transit opened along private right-of-way from Shaker Square to East 34th Street on April 11, 1920.[2] The station then consisted of a low-level island platform and a wooden stairway to East 55th Street.

The Shaker Rapid Transit was able to use an island platform at this station and at East 34th Street because it used left side running on its dual tracks west of East 65th Street (that is, each train traveled forward on the left track of the pair, instead of the right as is common and as done over the rest of the line). Therefore, the doors on the right side of each car opened onto the island platform at these stations. The switch from right to left side and vice versa was accomplished at a complex of tunnels located at East 65th Street. The tunnels also provided access from the trunk line to the Kingsbury Car Yard and Shops located in the Sidaway Valley, and they allowed for connection to the proposed line along the right-of-way eventually used by the Red Line.

When the CTS Rapid Transit (today's Red Line) was built, high-level side platforms were installed on each side of the island platform to accommodate the subway-style cars. Separate stairways were constructed from the two side platforms to a fare booth located at the East 55th Street entrance. The CTS line was opened on March 15, 1955.[3] The CTS Rapid Transit and the Shaker Rapid Transit stations operated independently. Since the CTS Rapid Transit and the Shaker Rapid Transit were separately owned and since there was no transfer provided between the lines, there was no reason to have a connection at track level between the two stations.

When the Regional Transit Authority was formed on September 5, 1975,[4] it merged the CTS and Shaker Rapid Transit systems, so convenient connection between the lines was needed. RTA first encouraged passengers to transfer at East 34th Station where a platform level connection had existed since 1971.[5] Eventually, the island platform was eliminated along with the separate stairway to East 55th Street, and new low-level platforms were constructed at the western end of the high-level platforms. The high-level platforms were shortened, since RTA no longer ran the longer trains for which the platforms were originally designed.

In 2009, RTA began a complete renovation of the station as it had not received any significant improvements since its original construction and was not ADA compliant. The rebuilt station opened in 2011[6] and includes a new headhouse built on the northeast corner of East 55th and Bower Ave attached to a new parking lot and bus loop. From the headhouse, a bridge extends over the eastbound rapid tracks to a stairway and elevator leading to a single, central island platform. After reaching the platform, passengers may proceed forward to the west and walk up a ramp to the high level Red Line platform, or may turn and walk east to the low level Blue/Green Line platform. Passengers may also walk from one end of the platform to the other to switch from the Red Line to the Blue/Green Line or vice-versa.

Central Rail Maintenance Facility[edit]

East 55th Station is located adjacent to RTA's Central Rail Maintenance Facility, opened on April 29, 1984 on a 20-acre (81,000 m2) site.[4] The yard for all rapid transit cars was built on the site of the former rail yard of the Nickel Plate Road. The nearby Kingbury Shops originally built for the Shaker Rapid Transit were closed as operations were consolidated in the Central Rail facility.


  1. ^ "E. 55 Rapid Station". RTA Website. Retrieved 2015-09-24. 
  2. ^ Toman, James (1990). The Shaker Heights Rapid Transit. Glendale: Interurban Press. p. 22. ISBN 0-916374-95-5. 
  3. ^ Exner, Rich (March 14, 2005). "Red Line rapid marks 50 years in service". The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer. pp. A1. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  4. ^ a b "About RTA: History of Public Transit in Greater Cleveland". RTA Website. Retrieved 2007-06-03. 
  5. ^ Toman. p. 94.
  6. ^ "RTA breaks ground on new East 55th Street Rapid Transit Station". Retrieved 2009-08-30. 

External links[edit]