The Ashland station, alternately known as the Englewood Transit Terminal, opened in 1969 when Howard-Englewood "A" service was extended 1/4 mile west from Loomis. In this view looking northeast, a mixed North-South Route train of flat- and curved-door 6000s is stopped on the elevated above, while 8700-series Flxible propane bus stops for surface riders in the bus terminal. For a larger view, click here. (Photo from CTA Collection)

Ashland/63rd (1600W/6300S)
63rd Street and Ashland Avenue, West Englewood

Service Notes:

Green Line: Ashland Branch

Red Line: Ashland branch (rush periods only)

Accessible Station

Park'n'Ride: 235 spaces

Quick Facts:

Address: 6315 S. Ashland Avenue
Established: May 6, 1969
Original Line: North-South Route, Englewood branch
Previous Names: Ashland

Skip-Stop Type:

Station

Rebuilt: n/a
Status: In Use

History:

The Ashland station house is seen looking north in 1998 with a Green Line train above.
Inset: This sign,unique in the "L" system, adorns the south exterior wall.
(Photo by Linda Garfield)

Despite the fact that the CTA did major upgrades to the Loomis Terminal only a few years before, by the mid-1960s the CTA decided to extend the Englewood Line a few blocks west to a new terminal at Ashland Avenue. By 1966, construction got underway on the $6,000,000 project, financed by the City of Chicago and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Though still in the design stage in 1967, construction proceeded quickly and in 1968, a new car shop was built near the Racine station to replace the meager facilities at Loomis. The Loomis Yard was extended west to a point just east of the Ashland station. Yard capacity was increased from 136 to 200 cars. The tracks actually were extended a few blocks west of Ashland to Hermitage Avenue to allow trains to turn ends without blocking the platform. The new terminal facility opened in 1969.

Designed by the Bureau of Architecture of the Department of Public Works of the City of Chicago, Ashland is very typical of structures built around suburbia in the 1950s and 1960s. While the cantilevers, hipped roofs and broad eaves are inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, the absence of ornamental features shows the influence of the Bauhaus.

The station was designed with a single island platform and a street-level station house on the east side of Ashland Avenue. The platform was covered by a flat angled canopy that ran nearly its entire length. An auxiliary exit at the west end of the platform provided access to the west side of Ashland Avenue and southbound buses on Ashland. The primary station house was largely located underneath the elevated structure, although its south end projected out from under the structure, providing one of the facility's signature features with its broad, angled, cantilevered eaves. Inside, the station had an open and spacious interior with white-tiled walls. Two entrances provided access, one angled southwest facing Ashland Avenue and the other southeast facing the bus terminal. Inside, between these two doorways on the south wall, was a built-in newsstand. The fare array divided the station interior just north of the doors, with three specially-designed, angular ticket agent's booths: one freestanding island-type booth, and two more integrated into the walls at each end of the fare controls. Beyond the turnstiles was a spacious paid area, with two sets of stairs and treadle-controlled escalators. In the northwest corner of the paid area were two rotogate auxiliary exits, providing egress to the northwest corner of the station site nearer to the corner of Ashland and 63rd.

The open and airy interior of the Ashland/63rd station, seen looking north in the unpaid area shortly after opening in 1969. Note the rather 1960s-looking agents' booths, fare control barriers, and hanging backlit signs. The freestanding island agent's booth has since been removed, as have the turnstiles and signs. For a larger view, click here. (Photo from the CTA Collection)

The Ashland Terminal was designed to be intermodal, an acknowledgment of the post-World War II reality that transit would not win its market share going it alone. An off-street bus terminal was integrated into the facility, with a long, peaked roof with a skylight over the road to allow in natural light. Initially, five bus routes (the #9 Ashland, #45 Ashland-Downtown, #49A South Western, #63 63rd Local and Express, and #110 Marquette) served this terminal. Today, only two (the #9 and #63) do. In a nod to the auto-dominance of the era (and indeed, still of today), a park'n'ride lot was built as part of the complex, located to the south at 64th and Ashland, that could accommodate 250 automobiles. Today the lot accommodates slightly fewer cars, with a capacity of 235 autos. Also, a kiss'n'ride drop off lane was built to the south of the bus terminal lanes, on the north edge of the park'n'ride.

Perhaps the station's most recognizable element is a tall decorative spire located in the bus terminal, south of the station entrance along 63rd Street. The tall marker has a triangular pylon that ends in a point with a three-sided backlit marker on the top consisting of a CTA logo on each of the street sides.

The project also included the construction of a new transportation office above the Ashland platform. Located at the east end of the platform, this building, with its angled roofline and windows all the way around held up far above the station canopy, is often easily mistaken for a control tower. In fact, this Transportation Office is a headquarters for operating personnel and line supervision. Inside are a breakroom, restrooms, lockers, clerks, and offices for the South Section of the North-South Route (today, for the South Elevated section of the Green Line). Upon the station opening, the South Section's administrative headquarters and superintendent's office relocated here from 61st Street Yard, although a part-time office was opened at 61st and used for several decades.

 

Green Line Renovation

On February 21, 1993, the South Side Englewood-Jackson Park service, formerly paired with the Howard service and forming the North-South Route, was repaired with the Lake Street service and formed the CTA's new Green Line.

On January 9, 1994, the Green Line closed for a two-year rehabilitation. All stations on the line, including Ashland/63rd, closed for renovation. In 1991, the CTA identified Ashland/63rd as one of 35 stations to be upgraded to be handicap accessible (and one of 21 to be finished by 1996). So, an elevator was added in the Green Line renovation project, making the station ADA accessible. When the new, modern Cubic TransitCard turnstiles were installed, the center island ticket agent's booth was removed. The side booths remain, the west one used by the Customer Assistant and the east one generally unused. The station sports a green and white color scheme, denoting the terminal's place on the Green Line.

 

The North-South Route (Temporarily) Return, Twice

In 2013, the CTA launched the Red Line South Reconstruction Project, a track renewal project to rebuild the Dan Ryan branch tracks from the bottom up, excavating down to the bottom of the trackbed to rebuild the underground drainage system then installing new ballast, ties, and tracks. Some modest station improvements were also performed. In order to perform the work more quickly and cost-effectively, the CTA closed the Dan Ryan branch for five months while work was performed. During that time, there would be no 'L' service on the Dan Ryan branch south of Roosevelt station.

As part of the alternate service plan for Dan Ryan riders, Red Line trains were rerouted via the old 13th Street Incline from the State Street Subway to the South Side Elevated, where they operated to Ashland/63rd via the South Side Elevated tracks in a pattern reminiscent of the old Howard-Englewood "A" trains of the North-South Route days.

Red Line service to Ashland/63rd began on Sunday, May 19, 2013. Following the five-month track reconstruction and renovation work on the Dan Ryan, Red Line service to 95th resumed at 4am, Sunday, October 20, 2013. At the same time, Red Line service via the South Side Elevated and Englewood branch was annulled and Green Line trains resumed service to Ashland/63rd, alternating between the two 63rd Street terminal branches.

Red Line service between Howard and Ashland/63rd via the South Side Elevated returned temporarily in 2017, although it was only select trains and only during weekday rush periods; during most times, normal service via the Dan Ryan branch continued. The diversion was necessitated by the $280 million 95th Terminal Improvement Project to expand and greatly improve the 95th/Dan Ryan Red Line station -- as construction continued on the new terminal, including foundations and structural steel work next to the tracks, track alignment work, and platform construction, CTA needed to close both the east and west platform tracks (at separate times), severely constraining capacity during rush and requiring a reduction in the number of trains in and out of the station.

On April 3, 2017, CTA began rerouting some Red Line trains, primarily in the off-peak direction, for a few hours each weekday onto the Green Line to or from the Ashland/63rd station. Reroutes onto the south Green Line in the off-peak direction took place in the morning (7:56 to 9:14am) and evening (4:40 to 5:58pm) rush periods (times at Roosevelt, just north of the diversion point); there were also a small number of trains that operated between Ashland/63rd and Howard in the peak direction, though primarily for car-balancing purposes. CTA officials said the reroute affected less than 10 percent of all Red Line trains.

The diversion of select rush period Red Line trains to/from Ashland/63rd lasted for approximately six months, until Fall 2017.

 

Two Englewood-Howard "A" trains -- one led by car 2457 on the right, one of 6000s on the left -- await departure times at the Englewood terminal at Ashland/63rd on August 17, 1978. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Doug Grotjahn, Collection of Joe Testagrose)


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Ashland station sign, circa 1969. (Sign from the collection of Graham Garfield)

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Ashland Terminal, looking northwest in 1985. The cantilevered trainroom looms above the rest of the station facility. The park'n'ride is on the left. (Photo by Olga Stefanos)

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After changing ends, car 2442 brings up the rear of a Green Line train loading passengers at Ashland/63rd before heading to the Loop and Oak Park on Saturday December 16, 2000. (Photo by Sean Gash)

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The Ashland terminal was specifically built as an intermodal facility, with both a park'n'ride and a bus terminal seen here looking east in 2001. When it opened in 1969, the Ashland station was served by the CTA's #9 Ashland, #45 Ashland-Downtown, #49A South Western, #63 63rd, and #110 Marquette route, as well as the South Suburban Safeway Lines' #501 route. Today it is served only by the #9 and #63. (Photo by Mary Kramer, CTA)

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Although it is almost never referred to by this name today (if it ever was), "Englewood Transit Terminal" is emblazoned on the south elevation of the station house, facing the bus terminal. (Photo by Mary Kramer, CTA)

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Ashland Terminal in the 1980s? Nope. 6000-series car 6655 is at the Englewood terminal on May 6, 2001 for the IRM PCC car fantrip, though it bears the destination sign of the Englewood-Howard "A" run that the 6000s would have run in that era. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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A wider shot of the IRM car 6655 at Ashland/63rd on May 6, 2001, showing the surrounding island platform. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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While on the IRM's PCC fan trip, car 6655 is at the end of the Englewood Branch at Ashland terminal on May 6, 2001. The rear of the train -- indicated by the red rear-end markers -- bears the destination sign of the station's old route, the Englewood-Howard "A" line. (Photo by Mike Farrell)

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The Ashland/63rd station is seen looking northwest from under the bus terminal shed on October 17, 2004. The east entrance to the station house from the bus bay is seen in the lower right. (Photo by Tony Coppoletta)

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Looking northeast on October 17, 2004, 1995-vintage Flxible bus 6242 is stopped at the Ashland/63rd station's bus terminal while operating on the westbound #63 63rd route. The skylights in the peaked canopy over the bus bay provide natural light into the boarding area. The Green Line is visible above in the upper left, and the entrance to the "L" station from the bus terminal is just out of frame on the left. (Photo by Tony Coppoletta)

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The Ashland/63rd station's broad, angled, cantilevered eaves shows the influence of the later modernist work of Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as the streamlining of the Bauhaus, in its 1960s suburbia-typical architecture, seen in this view of the station house and elevated platform canopy above looking northeast on October 17, 2004. (Photo by Tony Coppoletta)

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Looking northwest from the bus terminal driveway, the Ashland/63rd station house is seen on the right, the elevated boarding platform and canopy above, and the auxiliary exit on the west side of Ashland Avenue on the far left on October 17, 2004. Note the distinctive and one-of-a-kind Englewood Transit Terminal emblem on the station house's south elevation. (Photo by Tony Coppoletta)