The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

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Curious Cases of Closed Stations in Chicago (and other cities)

Curious+Cases+of+Closed+Stations+in+Chicago+%28and+other+cities%29

Many stations have existed throughout the history of the Chicago “L”; some stations remained open, while some were completely dismantled. However, there are a handful of stations that are closed but not demolished. This is a story of abandoned stations on the “L”, plus a few in other cities.

In 1958, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), the operator of the Chicago “L”, opened a new line in the middle of the newly-opened Eisenhower Expressway. Today, this line is part of the Blue Line. Located in the West Side of Chicago, the new line served as a replacement to the adjacent elevated line. By the late 1960s, fourteen stations were operational. Then in 1973, three of the stations (Central, Kostner, and California stations) were closed as part of a cost-cutting measure by the CTA. Each of these stations, however, left behind a station platform and a ramp connecting to street level. They are not accessible to the public.

Racine station is another abandoned station present on the Green Line. Located in the West Englewood neighborhood near Ogden Park, Racine station was operational from 1907 to 1994. By the time Racine station was closed, the entirety of the Green Line was closed for renovation. The station remained closed after the line reopened in 1996. The station house, however, was preserved due to its historic status. The closure of Racine station was controversial as it cut off nearby communities that rely on the “L”. In fact, more recently, CTA officials considered reopening the station after facing pressure from local organizations like Go Green On Racine. The timeline for reopening the station is currently not established. 

Washington station is a unique abandoned station on the Red Line as it is both located underground and is traversable from either Lake or Monroe stations. For obvious reasons, traversing through abandoned station platforms is not advised. Located in downtown Chicago, Washington station, along with other stations on the State Street subway, opened in 1943. The adjacent Lake station was once part of Washington station before 1997. Washington station was closed in 2006 to facilitate the construction of Block 37, a shopping mall, and a subway connection between the Red and Blue lines. Even though the closure was meant to be temporary, the station was later abandoned as the subway connection was eventually canceled for its high cost. 

Abandoned stations serve as relics of the time as they were once open to the public, but were closed for one reason or another. 

Reasons for indefinitely closing down stations range from budget cuts to politics. Some stations were not dismantled due to the high cost of demolition and/or the historic nature of the station. Whatever the reason, abandoned stations in cities like Chicago are interesting to see in person, although sometimes these stations are a bit unsettling due to their decrepit state.

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