State Street subway (CTA)

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State Street subway
Willow portal 070826.jpg
A Red Line train coming out of the Willow portal
Type Rapid transit
System Chicago "L"
Status Operational
Locale Chicago, Illinois, United States
Termini North/Clybourn
Stations 9
Services      Red Line
Daily ridership 53,601
(average weekday Feb. 2013)
Opened October 17, 1943
Operator(s) Chicago Transit Authority (1947–present)
Chicago Rapid Transit Company (1943–1947)
Character Subway
Rolling stock 5000-series
Line length 4.9 mi (7.9 km)
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification Third rail, 600 V DC
Route map
North Side Main Line to Kimball,
Howard, Skokie, and Linden
North Side Main Line
to Loop
Chicago River
Washington | Washington
Jackson | Jackson
Milwaukee–Dearborn Subway
13th Street Incline
17th Junction
South Side Main Line to Midway,
Ashland/63rd and Cottage Grove
Dan Ryan branch
to 95th/Dan Ryan

The State Street subway is an underground section of the Red Line "L" which is located in The Loop. It is 4.9 mi (7.9 km) long and has a boarding average of 53,601 passengers every weekday as of February 2013.[1] It owes its name to State Street which it runs below. Since the subway is operated by the Red Line, it serves passengers 24 hours a day/7 days a week and 365 days a year.

The subway is notable for having the longest railway platform in North America, shared by all stations from Lake Street to Jackson Street.


The State Street subway project was funded by New Deal programs established by Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression. In 1937, the city of Chicago successfully applied for a federal grant and loan from the Works Progress Administration for a grant and a loan to fund the construction of two subway tunnels, the first of which would be built beneath State Street and the second beneath Milwaukee Avenue and Dearborn Street.

On December 17, 1938, the city of Chicago began construction of the State Street subway at the intersection of State Street and Chicago Avenue. The tunnel was buried deep to enable the use of a tunnel boring machine throughout the construction of the subway. Only brief sections were built using the "cut-and-cover' method. Unlike the Milwaukee-Dearborn subway, no delays occurred in construction and the subway opened for revenue service on October 17, 1943.[2]

In November 1985, work began to extend the State Street subway from its original portal at 13th and State Street, where it connected to the South Side main Line, and the Englewood and Jackson Park branches, in order to connect the State Street subway to the Dan Ryan branch. The subway extension was completed by January 25, 1990, but did not immediately enter passenger service. On February 21, 1993, the CTA color-coded the lines and made the State Street subway and Dan Ryan Branch part of the present day Red Line. Trains were rerouted through the new subway extension to the Dan Ryan Branch which runs to 95th/Dan Ryan, while the South Side Elevated branch became part of the present day Green Line.[3]

On April 13, 1992, during the Chicago flood 250,000,000 US gallons (950,000,000 l) of water poured into Chicago's subways and the basements of nearby buildings. Service through the State Street subway was stopped temporarily, while water was pumped out of the tunnels.[4]

On November 18, 1997, the station at Lake permanently opened as an independent station, offering transfers to the elevated State/Lake station. Lake was originally part of the Washington station. On October 23, 2006, the Washington station closed due to the Block 37 project.[5]

Station listing[edit]

State Street subway
Station Location Points of interest and notes
North/Clybourn 1599 N. Clybourn Avenue Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goose Island Brewery, Chicago History Museum, Apple Store
Clark/Division Handicapped/disabled access 1200 N. Clark Street Newberry Library, Walter Payton College Prep High School, Gold Coast, Old Town
Chicago Handicapped/disabled access 800 N. State Street John Hancock Center, Chicago Water Tower, Water Tower Place, Loyola University Chicago Water Tower Campus, Chicago's Uniqlo store, Moody Bible Institute, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Museum of Contemporary Art, Holy Name Cathedral, River North, Gold Coast, Apple Store
Grand Handicapped/disabled access 521 N. State Street Navy Pier, Medinah Temple, Rock N Roll McDonald's, River North, Streeterville
Lake Handicapped/disabled access Metra or South Shore connection 188 N. State Street Chicago Theatre, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago City Hall, Richard J. Daley Center, Macy's

Transfer to Blue Line, Green Line, Orange Line, Pink Line, Purple Line, and Brown Line trains; Metra Electric and South Shore Line trains via the Pedway to Millennium Station. Originally part of Washington. Was called Lake-Washington (1996–1997)

Washington 128 N. State Street Closed October 23, 2006; Former transfer station for Blue Line via a lower level transfer tunnel, Metra trains (Metra Electric Line), and South Shore Line
Monroe 26 S. State Street Art Institute of Chicago, Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building
Jackson Handicapped/disabled access 230 S. State Street Grant Park, Petrillo Music Shell, Buckingham Fountain, Harold Washington Library Center, DePaul University, Robert Morris University, John Marshall Law School, Chicago Bar Association and The Auditorium Building of Roosevelt University
Harrison 608 S. State Street Columbia College Chicago, Dearborn Station, Printing House Row District, Jones College Prep
Roosevelt Handicapped/disabled access Metra or South Shore connection 1167 S. State Street Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, Northerly Island (formerly Meigs Field), Soldier Field-Home of Chicago Bears

Transfer station for Orange and Green Lines; Metra Electric and South Shore trains at Museum Campus/11th Street station

Image gallery[edit]


  1. ^ "Ridership Report: February 2013" (PDF). Chicago Transit Authority. Retrieved April 8, 2013. 
  2. ^ Graham, Garfield. "State Street subway". Chicago L. Retrieved December 10, 2012. 
  3. ^ Red Line: Dan Ryan branch Chicago'L'.org. Accessed August 22, 2013
  4. ^ Reardon, Patrick. "The Loop's Great Chicago Flood". Politics, Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 10, 2012. 
  5. ^ Graham, Garfield. "Washington". Chicago L. Retrieved December 10, 2012.