Wilson station (CTA)
|Chicago 'L' rapid transit station|
|Location||4620 North Broadway|
Chicago, Illinois 60640
|Owned by||Chicago Transit Authority|
|Line(s)||North Side Main Line|
|Platforms||2 island platforms|
|Opened||May 31, 1900|
|Rebuilt||1907 (Lower Wilson added), 1923, 2014–17 (station reconstruction)|
|Passengers (2018)||2,061,761 15.3%|
|Rank||32 out of 143|
The station opened on May 31, 1900, as the northern terminus of the Northwestern Elevated Railroad. It was converted to a two level station in 1907, with a loop track to aid turning trains. Wilson became a through station in 1908 when the Northwestern Elevated Railroad was extended to Central in Evanston (using tracks belonging to the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway).
The extended right-of-way allowed for a retail structure partially beneath the elevated tracks, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1909, known as the Stohr Arcade Building. This structure only lasted until razing in 1922. The Stohr Arcade Building included "design themes that are reminiscent of the Robie House designed three years earlier".
The previous station building, known as the Gerber Building, was built in 1923, shortly after the tracks to the north were elevated. Over the years the station has been extensively reconfigured: the lower level was closed on August 1, 1949; the platforms were reconfigured in 1960; and the North Shore Line—which also used the station—ceased operation in 1963, enabling the station layout to be simplified.
A yard and shops were built adjacent to the station in 1901, these continued in use until the Howard Yard was expanded in 1993. The shop building was badly damaged in a fire on October 26, 1996, and the site was cleared soon after. This site remained empty for several years with plans for development in place. As of 2011, an Aldi store, a Target store, and residences now occupy this area.
An elevated stub line from the station is a remnant of a connection into the former Buena Interchange Yard, where freight was exchanged with the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway. The CTA stopped carrying freight in the early 1970s and the stub was demolished south of Montrose Avenue. The Lakewood Avenue branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway is now operated by the Soo Line Railroad, but no longer exists north of Diversey Avenue. In 2010, further demolition split the remaining stub into two sections to allow for new Truman College construction.
Wilson Station Reconstruction Project
The CTA's 2004–2008 Capital Improvement Plan included plans to reconstruct the station starting in 2008. In 2012, the CTA began planning to reconstruct the station to create a transfer point between Red and Purple Line Express trains (the only one since express service was discontinued in 1976). The rebuilt station has a new main station entrance on the south side of Wilson, elevators, escalators, wider stairwells, additional turnstiles, new lights, new signage, additional bike parking, new security cameras, new train trackers, two island platforms to provide cross platform transfers between the two lines, and two auxiliary entrances: one at Sunnyside Avenue and one on the north side of Wilson. Demolition work for the project began in October 2014 and a groundbreaking ceremony was held on December 8, 2014. The station remained open during reconstruction.
Demolition of track 1 (the western track) began during the weekend of March 6, 2015. As a result, southbound Purple Line Express trains shared the same track with southbound Red Line trains and stopped at Wilson, Sheridan, and Addison in the AM rush hour only. This phase lasted for one year which ended with the activation of the new track 1 and new southbound platform.
Demolition of track 2 began on March 21, 2016. Temporary entrances opened on the same day and will remain open until completion of reconstruction. In addition, the western half of the new southbound platform opened for southbound Red Line and AM rush hour Purple Line Express trains, with Purple Line Express trains bypassing Addison station once again. Northbound Red Line trains continued to use the old platform, and the western half of the old Red Line platform closed.
Demolition of track 3 and the start of construction for a new northbound platform and new stationhouse began on September 26, 2016. The remaining half of the southbound platform reopened and the old platform used by Red Line trains closed. Northbound Red Line trains will stop on the eastern half of the southbound platform until the end of the project.
Demolition of track 4 started on March 13, 2017. This phase was completed on September 20, 2017. The east platform and the auxiliary entrance on the north side of Wilson opened for service on October 23, 2017. The auxiliary entrance on Sunnyside Avenue opened for service on December 1, 2017.
On February 5, 2018, The CTA announced the completion of the project.
Station reconstruction track diagrams
The station has two island platforms serving four tracks. Red Line trains stop on the inside tracks, while Purple Line Express trains stop on the outside tracks during weekday rush hours.
Notes and references
- "Annual Ridership Report – Calendar Year 2018" (PDF). Chicago Transit Authority, Ridership Analysis and Reporting. January 22, 2019. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
- "New "L" Road is Opened". Chicago Daily Tribune. June 1, 1900. p. 2.
- "Peter C. Stohr Arcade Building". Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
- Douglas M. Steiner (2009). "Peter C. Stohr Arcade Building, Chicago, IL". The Wright Library. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
- "Begin Skip-Stop Runs Monday on North, South 'L'". Chicago Daily Tribune. July 29, 1949. p. A9.
- "Red Ahead - Wilson Station Reconstruction". Chicago Transit Authority. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
- "Wilson Station Reconstruction Project". Chicago Transit Authority. September 16, 2014. p. 7. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
- Sudo, Chuck (December 8, 2014). "Emanuel Breaks Ground On Wilson Red Line Station Renovations". Chicagoist. Archived from the original on November 5, 2017. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
- "Mayor Emanuel Breaks Ground on New Wilson Station Reconstruction Project". Chicago Transit Authority. December 8, 2014. Retrieved February 28, 2015.
- "Wilson Station Modernization Project to Begin Next Construction Phase in March". Chicago Transit Authority. February 25, 2015. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
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