Laflin (1500W/400S)
Laflin Street and Van Buren Street, Near West Side

Service Notes:

Garfield Line/Douglas Line

Quick Facts:

Address: 418 S. Laflin Street
Established: May 6, 1895
Original Line: Metropolitan West Side Elevated
Previous Names: none
Skip-Stop Type: n/a
Rebuilt: n/a
Status: Demolished


The Laflin station was opened in 1895 when the Metropolitan "L" first opened. It was located on the four-track Metropolitan main line, on which all three branches of the Met -- the Northwest branch, Garfield Park branch, and Douglas Park branch -- entered downtown Chicago.

Although the station was located on the Met main line, as originally opened in 1895 the facility consisted of a station house at street level but only one platform. Originally, the four tracks of the main line were not separated into express or local tracks but rather operated as two separate side-by-side two-track lines -- Humboldt Park and Logan Square (Northwest branch) trains used the two north tracks, while Garfield Park and Douglas Park trains used the two south tracks. The single island platform was located between the two southern tracks, restricting its use to Garfield Park and Douglas Park trains. For an unknown reason, the two north tracks assigned to Humboldt Park and Logan Square trains had no platform and no provision for adding one.

This condition didn't last long, however. During 1896, the north tracks were reconfigured and a second island platform was added at Laflin allowing Humboldt Park and Logan Square trains to stop at the station.

In 1905, a casket elevator was installed at Laflin, as well as Hoyne on the Douglas Park branch, to handle the funeral train operations that the Met, in conjunction with the Aurora Elgin & Chicago Railroad, started running that year. Additional elevators were planned for other parts of the system, but those plans were abandoned when it was discovered that pallbearers were able to carry to caskets up the "L" station stairs with relatively little trouble. Funeral trains, which proved popular in a time when roads were often unpassable during poor weather, were run to Concordia, Waldheim, Oak Ridge and Mount Carmel Cemeteries until 1934, when paved roads and motorized hearses made the service obsolete.

By 1917, the platform configuration at Laflin was changed again. The two island platforms were replaced with with a new island platform between the two middle tracks (tracks #2 and #3) and side platforms serving the outside tracks (tracks #1 and #4). Decades earlier, in 1904, the track assignments on the had been changed Met main line such that the two north tracks served outbound trains and the two south tracks served inbound trains. Humboldt Park and Logan Square trains were assigned to tracks #1 and #3 (instead of #1 and #2, the north tracks, as before) and Garfield Park and Douglas Park trains used tracks #2 and #4 (instead of #3 and #4, the south tracks). Nevertheless, the platform reconfiguration is still puzzling because the two-island arrangement in place since 1896 would have adequately served this service configuration, operating not unlike how Belmont and Fullerton do today.

In 1951, trains to and from Logan Square were rerouted from their Milwaukee-Paulina alignment to Marshfield into the Milwaukee-Dearborn Subway, which continued under Milwaukee, under Lake Street, then under Dearborn, later connecting to the Congress-Douglas trains under Congress Street upon that alignment's completion in 1958. Garfield Park and Douglas Park trains to and from the Loop, however, continued to operate over the old Met main line and through Laflin for the time being. However, Laflin station closed later that year, on December 9, as part of the Garfield-Douglas service revision that introduced A/B skip stop service and closed several lightly-used stations.

A replacement station entrance -- the Loomis entrance to Racine, one block east of Laflin Street -- was opened on the Congress Line.



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