Ravenswood branch

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Ravenswood Branch
CTA Brown Line Run No. 414.jpg
A Brown Line train at Montrose
Type Rapid transit
System Chicago "L"
Status Operational
Locale Chicago, Illinois, United States
Termini Kimball
Stations 11
Services      Brown Line
Daily ridership 30,949
(calculated average Feb. 2013)
Opened May 18, 1907
Operator(s) Chicago Transit Authority (1947–present)
Chicago Rapid Transit Company (1924–1947)
Northwestern Elevated Railroad (1907–1924)
Character Elevated, Street Level
Rolling stock 3200-series
Line length 4.7 mi (7.6 km)
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification Third rail, 600 V DC
Route map
Kimball Yard
Spaulding Ave.
Kedzie Ave.
Albany Ave.
Sacramento Ave.
Manor Ave.
Chicago River
North Branch
Rockwell St.
Union Pacific / North Line
to Kenosha
Irving Park
Union Pacific / North Line
to Ogilvie
Milwaukee Road
Clark Junction
to North Side Main Line

The Ravenswood Branch is a 4.7 mi (7.6 km) long branch operated by the Brown Line "L" of the Chicago Transit Authority of Chicago, Illinois. As of February 2013, an average of 30,949 passengers are served each weekday on this branch.[1]


The Ravenswood Branch runs trains from Kimball to Belmont from 4:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. Monday thru Saturday and from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. on Sundays/Holidays, and runs trains from Belmont to Kimball from 5:00 a.m. to 2:25 a.m. Monday thru Saturday and from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Sundays/Holidays.[2] The Ravenswood Branch serves the Lakeview, Roscoe Village, North Center, Ravenswood, Lincoln Square, Ravenswood Manor and Albany Park neighborhoods of Chicago, Illinois.


After its main line began service on May 31, 1900, the Northwestern Elevated Railroad focused on other expansion possibilities especially to the north-west of the city to serve the densely populated areas of Ravenswood. Despite financial difficulties, the Northwestern Elevated made it a priority and initially proposed an extension beyond Wilson at ground level in order to reduce construction costs. However, this proposal faced significant opposition which forced them to instead proposed an elevated line. In 1903, the Northwestern Elevated Railroad submitted a proposal to the City of Chicago for an elevated line to be built along Irving Park Road from the Sheridan station to Ravenswood Avenue, turning north on Ravenswood, before again turning west at Leland Avenue and terminating at Western Avenue. The conditions of the franchise that Northwestern Elevated received from the city required that the line follow a path between Roscoe Street and Newport Avenue from the main line to Ravenswood Avenue, rather than Irving Park road as in its proposal to the city. In 1906, work on the new line started, and on May 18, 1907 service began between Belmont and Western. The surface level track to Kimball entered service on December 14, 1907, along with three intermediate stations: Francisco, Kedzie and Rockwell. Service from Western to Kimball was initially solely a shuttle operation until March 1909. In 1913, Crosstown service was implemented and the Ravenswood Branch was connected to the South Side Elevated Railroad's Kenwood branch via the Loop.

On August 1, 1949, the current routing of service on the Ravenswood Branch (known today as the Brown Line) was established, and the Ravenswood station was closed. In September 1973, the CTA closed the Paulina station. However, the CTA reopened Paulina a month later. In October 1973, work began on a new station at Kimball, which opened in October 1974. On February 21, 1993, the CTA color coded its lines, and the Ravenswood Line was officially renamed the Brown Line. Ridership on the Ravenswood Branch increased from 8.1 million passengers per year in 1987 to 10.6 million in 1998, largely due to an increase in population of the neighborhoods served by the branch. As a result of the increased ridership, in the summer of 2000 the CTA expanded service to the Loop until midnight and offered a shuttle route between Kimball and Belmont before and after the standard service so that passengers can reach the Red Line which runs 24/7 365 days a year.[3]

Station listing[edit]

Ravenswood Branch
Station Location Points of Interest & Notes
Kimball Handicapped/disabled access Aiga parking inv.svg 4755 N. Kimball Avenue Albany Park, Northeastern Illinois University, Northside College Prep, Albany Park Library
Kedzie Handicapped/disabled access 4648 N. Kedzie Avenue Albany Park, North Park University, Theodore Roosevelt High School, Swedish Covenant Hospital
Francisco Handicapped/disabled access 4648 N. Francisco Avenue Lincoln Square, Stephen Tyng Mather High School
Rockwell Handicapped/disabled access 4648 N. Rockwell Street Lincoln Square, Ravenswood Manor Historic District
Western Handicapped/disabled access 4648 N. Western Avenue Lincoln Square, Sulzer Regional Library, Krause Music Store, Old Town School of Folk Music
Damen Handicapped/disabled access Metra or South Shore connection 4645 N. Damen Avenue Ravenswood, Amundsen High School, Rosehill Cemetery, St. Gregory the Great High School

Transfer to Metra trains at Ravenswood. Originally called Robey.

Ravenswood 4530 N. Ravenswood Avenue Closed August 1, 1949
Montrose Handicapped/disabled access 1817 W. Montrose Avenue Ravenswood, Kinetic Playground, All Saints Episcopal Church
Irving Park Handicapped/disabled access 1816 W. Irving Park Road Ravenswood, Lake View High School, Graceland Cemetery, St. Benedict High School
Addison Handicapped/disabled access 1818 W. Addison Street North Center, Gordon Tech High School, WGN-TV Station, Lane Technical College Prep High School
Paulina Handicapped/disabled access 3410 N. Lincoln Avenue Lakeview, Electrical Audio Recording Facility
Southport Handicapped/disabled access 3411 N. Southport Avenue Lakeview, Music Box Theatre, Theatre Building Chicago
Belmont Handicapped/disabled access 945 W. Belmont Avenue Lakeview, Briar Street Theater, Boystown, The Vic Theatre

Transfer to Red and Purple Line Express trains

Image gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ridership Report: February 2013" (PDF). Chicago Transit Authority. transitchicago.com. Retrieved April 8, 2013. 
  2. ^ Brown Line ('L') Chicago Transit Authority. Accessed August 21, 2013
  3. ^ Brown Line: Ravenswood branch Chicago'L'.org. Accessed August 21, 2013

External links[edit]