The Clinton Green Line station, looking north on March 24, 2002. The station achieves ADA accessibility through the use of an elevator to get passengers from the street to the mezzanine (white tower at right), but uses long, sloping ramps to get passengers from the mezzanine to the platforms (left). Stairs are also available (center). For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

Clinton (540W/200N)
Clinton Street and Lake Street, West Loop (Near West Side)

Service Notes:

Green Line: Lake

Pink Line: Lake

Accessible Station

Transfer to Metra: Union Pacific - North, Northwest, and West Lines

Quick Facts:

Address: 540 W. Lake Street
Established: October 16, 1909
Original Line: Chicago & Oak Park Elevated Railroad
Previous Names: Clinton/Northwest Passage

Skip-Stop Type:

Station

(1948-1954, all trains)
(1954-1958, Mon-Fri rush hour trains )

Station

(1954-1958, Mon-Fri non-rush and all weekend trains)
(1958-1993, all trains )

Rebuilt: 1970, 1996
Status: In Use

History:

This station was built to replace the Canal station one block east. The new station opened October 16, 1909. The structural steel for its construction was hauled to the location via a temporary connection with the tracks of the Chicago & North Western RR in Oak Park, leading to the rumors that the C&OP was also elevating its suburban tracks as the C&NW was. (In reality, the Lake Street "L"'s western elevation wouldn't occur until 1962.)

Clinton's construction may have meant to coincide with the opening (or been necessitated by the construction) of the new Chicago and North Western Railway terminal at Madison and Canal, which opened two years later in 1911. The Clinton station was an unusual design, with a unique mezzanine-level station house which included a large arched window on one elevation. The station had two side platforms with canopies featuring a gently curved roof with latticed support columns and framing and railings with flat panels alternated with thin balustrades and sunflower rosettes. This canopy and railing design was identical to designs found on the Ravenswood branch of the Northwestern Elevated, built two years before. This is not all-together surprising, since the Northwestern Elevated had bought a great deal of stock in the Chicago & Oak Park Elevated (which the Lake Street company had changed its name to in 1903), controlling 52% of the shares by 1912, which resulted in a lot of shared staff and administration.

Clinton was originally an A station under the A/B skip stop scheme CTA implemented in 1948, but in 1954 became an all-stop station during off-peak hours (it remained an A station during Monday-Friday rush hours, however). In 1958, just three days after the opening of the Congress Line and A/B revisions on the Milwaukee-Congress-Douglas, it became an AB station during all hours.

In 1970, a direct accessway was built between the Clinton station mezzanine and the adjacent Chicago & North Western station. Dubbed "Northwest Passage", it ran at track-level along the C&NW's concourse and was connected to the mezzanine by way of escalators and stairs. The passageway was fully enclosed, with air conditioning, carpeted floors, and closed-circuit cameras for security. It was considered a very nicely appointed amenity at the time. The construction of the passage also included a renovation of the mezzanine, including the removal of most of the station's interior walls, new flooring, fare controls, wall cladding and signage, and the installation of escalators within the station. At the same time, Clinton's name was changed to "Clinton/Northwest Passage". The Northwest Passage was closed in 1990 during a renovation of the C&NW station and never reopened. As a result, the station's name reverted to simply being "Clinton".

During the 1994-1996 Green Line rehabilitation, Clinton was mostly demolished and replaced with a new steel station painted white with green mesh fencing and railings. Some of the old platform and canopies remain at the east end of the platform. The new station house and platform are utilitarian and unornamental, though dual sloping ramps on the outside of both platforms -- providing ADA access without elevators -- gives the station complex interesting sight lines and contours.

The Clinton/Lake platforms, looking west on the outbound platform on March 24, 2002. The sections closest to the camera -- with curved canopy support beams and latticed horizontal members -- are original canopies, while those farther away were added in the 1994-96 rehab. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)


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Two West-South Route trains -- a Lake-Dan Ryan "A" trailed by car 2078 on the right and a Lake-Dan Ryan "B" led by a 2200-series car on the left -- pass at the Clinton/Northwest Passage station on September 23, 1976. The bridge in the background brings the "L" over the Chicago & North Western's approach to their downtown terminal. (Photo by Doug Grotjahn, Collection of Joe Testagrose)

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The Clinton station from a westbound Lake train in 1996. The part of the platform nearest the camera is original; the higher canopy further down is new. (Photo from Chicago's "L"/Subway System: Take a Ride on the Wild Side from All-the-6000s-You-Missed Productions)

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Clinton station offers some nice views of downtown Chicago, as in this view looking east from the west end of the outbound platform on March 24, 2002. The modern canopies were built in the Green Line reconstruction of 1994-96. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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This "KDR"-style symbol sign from the eastbound platform at Clinton was probably installed in the 1970s. Having the name of the station inside the large letter was a nonstandard arrangement, and while the designs of the symbol signs had more or less standardized by the KDR era -- there was more experimentation with the pre-KDR precursors, and the previous Clinton design used a similar design -- there was occasionally still some variation. And of course, pragmatically, doing so also left room for "Northwest Passage" underneath the station name.(Sign from the Andrew Stiffler Collection)

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Car 5004 leads a 6-car train train at Clinton around noon on June 13, 2010 as the prototype 5000-series cars are put through their paces on the Green Line. Note that the "Ashland/63" reading on the front LED destination sign ends up having to be split onto two lines due to its length, resulting in smaller lettering. The text is on one line on the longer side signs. The glass and steel building in the background is CTA Headquarters. (Photo by Graham Garfield)
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Leading Pink Line Run 301, car 5009 leads a train of 5000-series prototype cars back to 54th/Cermak, stopping at Clinton station on January 4, 2011. Because the front destination sign is smaller than the ones on the side, longer readings like "54/Cermak" are smaller and split onto two lines on the front signs, whereas they are larger and on one line in the side signs. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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With the snow still falling that would eventually accumulate to over 21 inches, 2400-series car 2493 makes its way though blizzard conditions on the morning of February 2, 2011, pulling into Clinton station on its way to Ashland/63rd. The flat, recessed front end cap of the 2400-series cars -- designed by Sundberg-Ferar -- is particularly adept as collecting snow due to a lack of angles to channel the snow away. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Car 5055 leads a 4-car Pink Line train on the 5000-series cars' first post-testing in-service passenger trip, pulling into Clinton station on November 8, 2011. The 5000-series cars had their official debut earlier that day at a press event at Midway attended by Chicago Mayor Emanuel and CTA President Claypool, among other dignitaries. This first revenue service trip is comprised of half of the 8-car train used for the dedication event. (Photo by Graham Garfield)
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The 5000-series railcars made their first official revenue service passenger trip -- post-testing, in regular service -- the afternoon of November 8, 2011. The cars were first used on Run 311, which departed 54th/Cermak terminal at 1452 hours en route to the Loop, and is seen here inbound at Clinton station about 20 minutes later. (Photo by Graham Garfield)
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Car 5117 leads a 6-car Pink Line train pulling into Clinton station on its way to the Loop on July 18, 2012. One of the first cars to sport a color LED destination sign, the train's identity is clearly visible even from a distance. (Photo by Graham Garfield)
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The new color LED front and side destination signs brightly identify car 5117's route and destination in this view at Clinton on July 18, 2012. Cars 5117-18 was the second 5000-series unit to roll off the assembly line and be placed in passenger service with color destination signs, replacing the amber LED signs on the cars numbered lower than 5115. The new signs closely approximate the graphics on the mylar roller curtains on the older "L" cars. (Photo by Graham Garfield)
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Run 301 is led by car 5117, stopping at Clinton on its way to the Loop on July 18, 2012. Car 5117 and its mate 5118, along with the third and four cars in the train -- 5115-5116 -- have color LED destination signs, the first 5000-series cars to be so equipped. The last two cars in the train -- 5089-5090 -- have the amber LED signs of the first 114 5000-series cars. (Photo by Graham Garfield)