Washington station (CTA Red Line)

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Washington in May 2005 prior to its October 2006 closure
Location 128 North State Street
Chicago, Illinois 60602
Coordinates 41°53′01″N 87°37′40″W / 41.8837°N 87.6278°W / 41.8837; -87.6278
Owned by City of Chicago
Platforms 1 Island platform
Tracks 2
Connections (Formerly via Washington)
Structure type Subway
Opened October 17, 1943
Closed October 23, 2006
Preceding station   Chicago "L"   Following station
State Street Subway
toward Howard
Red Line
Route map
Red Line
north to Howard
Platform open
trains do not stop
Red Line
south to 95th/Dan Ryan

Washington is an abandoned 'L' station on the CTA's Red Line. It is a subway station in the State Street Subway located at 128 North State Street in downtown Chicago, Illinois. It is the only closed station on the Red Line.



Washington in July 2001
Washington in July 2004

The platform at Washington is part of a long continuous platform beneath State Street which runs from the Jackson station to the Lake station, spanning nearly seven blocks, making it the United States' longest continuous passenger platform.[citation needed] There were two mezzanines with turnstiles for the station: a northern at Randolph shared with the Lake station and a southern at Madison. There are stairs and escalators along State Street between Randolph and Madison to access both mezzanines. Additionally, Washington is equipped with an elevator and was therefore accessible to people with disabilities.

There are two abandoned stairways on the platform to a lower level pedestrian tunnel that connected the Washington station to its counterpart on the Blue Line subway, Washington/Dearborn, to allow transfers between the Red and Blue Lines. Lake station to the north of Washington and Washington were originally a single station, but they were separated on June 2, 1996 due to the renovation project of the Randolph-Washington mezzanine and Lake became an independent station on November 18, 1997 in order to better facilitate transfers between the Red Line subway and the elevated State/Lake station.[citation needed]

Closure for superstation[edit]

As part of the development of 108 North State Street (commonly known as "Block 37") the CTA planned to construct a superstation located between the Red and Blue Lines (which run in parallel subways through the Loop). Washington station, and the lower level transfer tunnel to the Blue Line were closed at 12:00 a.m. on October 23, 2006 for work related to the construction of this new station.[1] The platform was cut at an angle to facilitate a future track connection from the northbound State Street track to the super station and the northbound Blue Line track north of Washington, linking O'Hare and Midway airports via the Blue, Red, and Orange lines' tracks. A similar excavation was made north of the Blue Line's Washington station to allow a future connection for southbound Blue Line trains to travel east to the super station and the southbound Red Line track.

Following cost overruns of $100 million the superstation was indefinitely mothballed in June 2008.[2] The Block 37 superstation, which had already been excavated and partially built, was left abandoned. The hole that had been excavated in Washington's platform was filled in. The transfer tunnel and Washington-Madison mezzanine were both sealed off and the station platform reopened in 2010. However the station remained closed and trains never resumed stopping at the station.

Post closure[edit]

When the CTA closed the Washington station, most of it was left intact. No work was performed to decommission the Washington-Madison mezzanine, and the fare turnstiles and machines still remain. The platform changed little, except for the removal of its signage. However, the signs that say "Escalator: Washington-Madison" and "To Madison or Monroe St" were not removed for unknown reasons. Until February 2015, the "Washington: To Howard" and "Washington: To 95/Dan Ryan" signs also remained on the walls of the southern half of the Lake station. At some signs at Lake, rail line maps suggest the Washington station still exists. The station's recorded announcement file still remains on trains' audio systems, although the file is not directly programmed to line announcements and is not accessible by motormen via the regular announcement system. The station platform is still in good condition with the mezzanines nearly untouched. As of today the station remains abandoned with dirty mezzanine stairways and power turned off in most of the mezzanine level.


  1. ^ Washington (Red Line) Subway Station Closure. CTA press release (URL accessed October 19, 2006).
  2. ^ Hinz, Greg (June 11, 2008). "CTA to halt over-budget superstation". ChicagoBusiness.com. Crain Communications Inc. Retrieved June 11, 2008. 

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