Lovingly nicknamed the ‘L’, the Chicago Elevated Train is the rapid transit system serving the city and surrounding suburbs. The oldest part of the L was created in 1892, making it the 3rd oldest operating system of it’s kind in the nation. The L is run by the CTA, or Chicago Transit Authority, and is the 4th largest rapid transit system in the US in terms of route length (102.8 miles) and the 3rd busiest rail mass in the US after the New York and Washington Metro. This 24-hour a day run train system is actually credited with fostering the immense growth of this dense city core.
The L consists of 8 different rapid transit lines laid out in spoke-hub distribution. It serves over 140 stations throughout the area and typically serves around 725,000 passengers each weekday. The L makes it very easy, cheap, and convenient to travel throughout this busy, bustling city without a car, saving gas, time, money, and pollution opportunities. Though it is called technically the ‘elevated’ train system, it also has portions in subway tunnels, grade level surfaces, and open cut areas. The Chicago Tribune has voted the L one of the ‘Seven Wonders of Chicago’, and tourists and locals alike will agree that this is one of the most quintessential Chicago experiences, and hey, it’s useful and fun too!