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- Hours of Operation:
4:30am-1:20am, Mon-Fri; 5:30am-2:20am, Sat; 6:30am-1:45am, Sun
Length of Route: 3.9 miles
Number of Stations: 9 stations
Car Types Assigned: 5000-series
Assignment sheet for
latest car assignments)
The Purple Line, or "Evanston Line" was it was known before the
CTA's adoption of color-coded
line names in 1993, is the suburban portion of an approximately
8-mile extension of the Northwestern Elevated Railroad that was
opened in 1908-12. Before the use of Howard station on the
Chicago-Evanston city limits as a terminal, this entire extension was
operated as one, unified branch through both cities. Today, however,
the north 4 miles or so of this extension -- the part in suburban
Evanston and Wilmette -- is operated as its own route, with the
southern portion integrated into the Howard
portion of the Red Line.
- May 16, 1908 - Service is
extended north to Central Street in Evanston, using trackage owned
by Chicago Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway. CM&StP had
previously operated steam powered commuter trains over this line,
and continued to operate freight service. The line remained at
ground level, and was electrified with overhead trolley
- Late-October, 1908 -Construction of an elevated
embankment begins in south Evanston.
- 1910 - South Evanston's track elevation is
- February, 1912 - Northwestern Elevated President
Britton I. Budd notifies Wilmette officials of his intention to
construct a terminal and yard at Linden Avenue and 4th Street.
Opposition develops, as Budd refuses an absurd franchise proposal
from Wilmette officials.
- April 1, 1912 - Under cover of night, a construction
crew closes Laurel Avenue in Wilmette and constructs a half-car
long platform a short spur track just south of Linden and about
150 feet east of 4th. Wilmette awakes to find itself with rapid
transit to Chicago and, despite fears, becomes quite popular. The
platform is lengthened later that year, plus a second track and
temporary yard are added.
- November 8, 1913 - A new, permanent station is added at
- 1920 - The Evanston City Council orders the elevation
of the tracks from University Place in Evanston to Isabella Street
on the Evanston-Wilmette border. Financing difficulties stall the
project for eight years.
- 1921 - The Linden station is added onto. New "wings" on
both sides give it a distinct Prairie School design. The Kinzie
Street station is closed and demolished following the opening of a
new Grand Avenue station a few blocks north. Elevation of the
Lawrence-Howard section is virtually complete. A permanent
northbound express track (the outer track on the east side) and
permanent stations are yet to be completed. New station houses,
built under the viaduct, are completed.
- Summer, 1928 - Construction begins on the elevation of
the tracks from University Place to Isabella Street in Evanston.
The project is a joint effort between the CRT and the Chicago,
Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway (reorganized as the Chicago,
Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railway the same year).
- October 4, 1928 - Northbound rail traffic is shifted
onto a temporary wooden trestle, with southbound trains remaining
on the ground in a double-deck fashion. This configuration would
continue for just over two months. Double-deck stations are
- December 7, 1928 - Southbound traffic is routed onto
- 1931 - Work on the permanent elevated embankment from
University Place to Isabella Street is completed, though a short
section of the embankment just north of Church Street would remain
unfinished until the 1940s. The new South Boulevard station is
completed, replacing the Calvary station (originally built to
serve the cemetery of the same name across the street) nearby.
- July 31, 1949 - The CTA institutes its massive
North-South service revision. Service is streamlined into the
following routes: Howard-Englewood, Howard-Jackson Park,
Ravenswood (Kimball-Loop), and Evanston (Linden-Howard during
non-rush hours, Linden-Loop during
- November 8, 1973 - Overhead trolley wire on the
Evanston route is replaced with third rail. Prior to then, trolley
poles were raised and lowered at the South Blvd. stop. This allows
the retirement of the last of the 4000-series cars, the oldest
dating back to 1913, which were last running on the Evanston
- October 2, 1994 - The CTA officially changes the last
of its route names to color designations. Evanston Line now
formally known as the Purple Line.
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stub. It will be expanded in the future as