Lake Street Elevated

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Lake Street Elevated
A time-lapse of the Lake street "L" leaving the Loop in 2014
TypeRapid transit
SystemChicago "L"
LocaleChicago, Illinois, United States
Oak Park, Illinois
Forest Park, Illinois
Services     Green Line
     Pink Line
Daily ridership27,217
(average weekday February 2013)
OpenedNovember 6, 1893 (Current operation)
Operator(s)Chicago Transit Authority (1947–present)
Chicago Rapid Transit Company (1924–1947)
Chicago and Oak Park Elevated Railroad (1904–1924)
Lake Street Elevated Railroad Company (1893–1904)
Rolling stock5000-series
Line length8.75 mi (14.08 km)
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
ElectrificationThird rail, 600 V DC
Route map

Market Street stub
Chicago River
Ogilvie Trans-
portation Center
Lake Street Transfer
Northwest branch
Damen reopening 2021
Conservatory–Central Park Drive
Hamlin yard
Belt Railway of Chicago
Long Avenue
Pine Avenue
Central Avenue
Parkside Avenue
Menard Avenue
Mason Avenue
Austin Avenue
Lombard Avenue
Cuyler Street Branch
Randolph Street Branch
Ridgeland Avenue
Euclid Avenue
Oak Park
Oak Park Avenue
Home Avenue
Marion Avenue
Oak Park | Harlem/Lake
IL 43 (Harlem Avenue)
Oak Park
Forest Park
Forest Park

This is a route-map template for the Lake Street Elevated (CTA) in Chicago.

The Lake Street Elevated, also known as the Lake Branch, is a 8.75 mi (14.08 km) long branch of the Chicago "L" which is located west of the Chicago Loop and serves the Green Line for its entire length, as well as the Pink Line east of Ashland Avenue. As of February 2013, the branch serves an average of 27,217 passengers each weekday.[1] It serves the Near West Side, East Garfield Park, West Garfield Park, and Austin neighborhoods of Chicago, as well as the suburbs Oak Park and Forest Park. It owes its name to Lake Street, the street that the branch overlooks for 6.25 mi (10.06 km) before continuing its route straight west, adjacent to South Boulevard, towards the terminus at Harlem/Lake. The branch runs from 3:50 am to 1:25 am on weekdays, 4:50 am to 1:25 am on Saturdays and Sundays/Holidays.


The Lake Street Elevated began regular passenger service on November 6, 1893, from its eastern terminal at Madison Street and Market Street to California Avenue. On November 24, 1893 service on the line was extended to Homan Avenue. In March 1894, service on the line was extended to 48th Avenue (now known as Cicero Avenue) and on April 29, 1894, service was extended to 52nd Avenue (now known as Laramie Avenue), which at the time was the city limits of Chicago. When the completed Loop opened October 3, 1897, the Lake Street Elevated became the first line to utilize the entire quadrangle.[2] In 1898, an agreement was reached with Cicero Township to extend the Lake Street Elevated beyond the Chicago city limits into what at the time was Cicero Township. This agreement allowed for the extension of the Lake Street Elevated along South Boulevard, as well as the creation of the Randolph Street and Cuyler Avenue branches. On January 25, 1901, service was extended to Wisconsin Avenue (later called Marion), and on May 20, 1910, service was extended to its terminal approximately two blocks west of Harlem Avenue in Forest Park.

In April 1948, the Lake Street Elevated was the first line of the 'L' system to use the Skip-Stop A/B service. Upon the implementation of Skip-Stop A/B service ten stations on the Lake Street Elevated were closed, as was the Market Street Stub, and all trains were routed through the Loop. This new system decreased the travel time of 24–35 minutes, which was considered by the CTA and its users to be a great success.

In 1962, 2.5 mi (4.0 km) of ground level tracks in Chicago's Austin neighborhood and Oak Park, Illinois were replaced by elevated tracks which run on Chicago & North Western Railroad's track embankment. New stations were built at Central, Austin, Ridgeland and Oak Park. and a new terminus opened at Harlem, replacing the station at Marion and the Forest Park terminus.

Market Street stub[edit]

Prior to the opening of the Loop elevated in 1897, the Lake Street Elevated's eastern terminus was the Market Terminal at Madison Street and Market Street.[3] After the opening of the Loop in 1897, service continued to the Market Street stub, which had a stop at Randolph & Market in addition to the terminal at Madison & Market. Service to the Market Street stub ended on April 4, 1948, as the CTA implemented its new A/B skip-stop service. The Market Street stub was demolished soon after to make way for construction of Wacker Drive.[4]

New Morgan station[edit]

Construction of the new Morgan station began in Summer 2010.[5] TranSystems led the design team, in conjunction with Ross Barney Architects.[6] Like most currently active Green Line and Pink Line stations, Morgan is ADA-accessible, with an elevator on either side of the tracks. The station will also have bike storage.

The new Morgan station officially opened on May 18, 2012, and grand opening ceremonies were held on May 24.[7][8][9]

New Damen station[edit]

The new $60 million Damen station will fill a 1.5 mile distance between the California and Ashland stations. a design for the new station was released on July 9, 2018, construction of the new station began in May 2019, and will be completed in 2021.[10][11][12]


Until 1969, the Lake Branch was an independent branch line providing service in one direction only, like the Ravenswood and Evanston Express Lines: from the Loop to the West Side, Oak Park, and Forest Park. On September 28, 1969, it was combined with the newly opened Dan Ryan branch to form the West-South Route, providing for the first time through rail service between Harlem and 95th via the north and east legs of the Loop, the old South Side Main Line and the 18th Street-Wentworth Avenue Connection between 17th Street and Archer Avenue before entering the Dan Ryan Expressway median. This operation lasted for 24 years. On February 21, 1993, when the CTA began to differentiate the L lines by colors, the present day Green Line was assigned to the Lake Branch and service was "switched" south of Roosevelt Road and now continue on the South Side Main Line towards Cottage Grove and Ashland/63rd, the route was formerly paired to the Howard branch of the North-South route. On January 9, 1994, the Lake Branch and the entire Green Line closed for two years to undergo a rehabilitation project. When the line reopened on May 12, 1996, most stations were rebuilt and equipped with elevators in order to make them ADA compliant, and six stations were permanently closed.[13][14]

On April 26, 1998, the Green, Purple, Brown and the Cermak Branch of the Blue Line (now the Pink Line) lost their 24-hour service. In 2006, the Chicago Transit Authority created the Pink Line, which serves the Clinton, Morgan, and Ashland stations on the Lake Street Branch, before connecting to the Douglas Branch via the rebuilt Paulina Connector.

Station listing[edit]

Lake Street Elevated
Station Location Points of interest and notes
Forest Park Marengo Avenue and Circle Avenue, Forest Park Closed 1962; replaced by Harlem
Harlem/Lake Handicapped/disabled access Metra or South Shore connection 1 S. Harlem Avenue, Forest Park Downtown Oak Park, transfer to Oak Park (Metra), Forest Preserve District of Cook County Headquarters
Marion Marion Avenue and South Boulevard, Oak Park Closed October 28, 1962; replaced by Harlem
Oak Park 100 S. Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park Oak Park, Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, Unity Temple, Ernest Hemingway Museum & Brithplace
Ridgeland 100 N. Ridgeland Avenue, Oak Park Oak Park and River Forest High School, Oak Park,
Lombard Lombard Avenue and South Boulevard, Oak Park Closed 1948
Austin 351 N. Austin Boulevard
Menard Menard Avenue and Lake Street Closed 1948
Central Handicapped/disabled access 350 N. Central Avenue Columbus Park, Walser House, Austin Town Hall
Laramie Handicapped/disabled access 5148 W. Lake Street
Cicero Handicapped/disabled access 4800 W. Lake Street Former Brach's Candy Factory
Kostner Kostner Avenue and Lake Street Closed 1948
Pulaski Handicapped/disabled access 4000 W. Lake Street Chicago Public Library Legler Branch
Hamlin 3800 W. Lake St. Closed March 18, 1956
Conservatory–Central Park Drive Handicapped/disabled access 3630 W. Lake Street Garfield Park Conservatory, Garfield Park Field house
Homan 3400 W. Lake Street Closed January 9, 1994; replaced by Conservatory-Central Park Drive
Kedzie Handicapped/disabled access Metra or South Shore connection 3200 W. Lake Street Transfer to Kedzie (Metra)
Sacramento Sacramento Boulevard and Lake Street Closed 1948
California Handicapped/disabled access 2800 W. Lake Street Chicago Center for Green Technology
Campbell Campbell Avenue and Lake Street Closed 1948
Oakley Oakley Boulevard and Lake Street Closed 1948
Damen Damen Avenue and Lake Street Closed 1948, scheduled to reopen 2021
Wood Wood Street and Lake Street Closed 1913
Lake Street Transfer Lake Street and Paulina Street Closed February 25, 1951
Ashland Handicapped/disabled access 1601 W. Lake Street Transfer to Pink Line trains. United Center- Home of the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Blackhawks
Loomis Loomis Street and Lake Street Closed April 4, 1954
Racine Racine Street and Lake Street Closed 1948
Morgan Handicapped/disabled access 958 W. Lake Street UIC, Harpo Studios, Greektown, Coyne College, Fulton Market District
Halsted 800 W. Lake Street Closed January 9, 1994
Clinton Handicapped/disabled access Metra or South Shore connection 540 W. Lake Street Ogilvie Transportation Center and Chicago Transit Authority Headquarters
Canal 500 W. Lake Street Closed 1909

Image gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Ridership Report: February 2013" (PDF). Chicago Transit Authority. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  2. ^ Loop Elevated Accessed August 19, 2013
  3. ^ Market Terminal Accessed August 16, 2013
  4. ^ Randolph & Market Accessed August 16, 2013
  5. ^ Morgan CTA Green/Pink Line Station Archived 2012-06-23 at the Wayback Machine, City of Chicago web site.
  6. ^ CTA Morgan Street Station on the Ross Barney Architects website
  7. ^ Hilkevitch, Jon (May 24, 2012). "Grand Opening for New Morgan CTA Station", Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 27, 2012.
  8. ^ Kamin, Blair (May 29, 2012). "Gleaming New CTA Station Raises Question: What Price Architecture?", Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  9. ^ Butler, Patrick. "New Morgan station succeeds with a force from the RFMA". Gazette. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Carlozo, Lou. "CTA closes stations along the Lake Branch". Retrieved January 10, 2013.
  14. ^ Cole, David. "CTA Green Line". NYC Subway. Retrieved January 10, 2013.