The entrance to the renovated 63rd station is seen looking northwest on December 24, 2006. Improvements to the entrance include refurbishment of the structure, new paint, a new "storefront" enclosing the entranceway with doors and windows, and identification signage. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

63rd (6300S/200W)
63rd Street and Dan Ryan Expressway, Englewood

Service Notes:

Red Line: Dan Ryan

Accessible Station

Owl Service

Quick Facts:

Address: 220 W. 63rd Street
Established: September 28, 1969
Original Line: West-South Route, Dan Ryan branch
Previous Names: none

Skip-Stop Type:

Station (1969)

Station (1969-1993)

Rebuilt: 2005-06
(renovation), 2013 (refurbished, elevator added)
Status: In Use


The design of 63rd and the other eight stations of the Dan Ryan line were carried out by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill under the direction of Myron Goldsmith, who developed a modern, functional form in the late International style popular at the time. Improved visibility and security, ease of cleaning and more comfortable working conditions for CTA employee were design goals. Skidmore took the Kennedy-Dan Ryan ("KDR") project in a unique direction, designing all aspects of the new lines to harmonize in both shapes and materials. All windbreaks, dividers, and ticket booths were stainless steel. The supports of the transparent platform canopies and the structures of the station enclosures are white-painted steel frames, and the enclosures themselves are glass. The formal and functional criteria were expressed in several ways: open, uncluttered, brightly lit interior spaces; durability, safety, maximum efficiency of movement; lightness and purity of structure. The shape of everything, from the buildings to the agents' booths, to the trashcans, followed together into a seamless design philosophy, which perfectly captured the boxy, purely functional International Modern style for which Skidmore is so well known.

The commemorative brochure published for the event describes the stations this way:

"Nine stations serve the Dan Ryan Line... Wide visibility and a high level of illumination are characteristic features in all areas. Fare collection equipment and turnstiles are stainless steel and... escalators supplement stairs for movement between station levels. Stations in the expressway medians are constructed of steel and glass providing maximum visibility from adjacent streets and highways. The boarding platforms are long enough to accommodate 8-car trains... Steel framed canopies of translucent plastic [extend] beyond the center line of the tracks. Self-service infrared radiant heaters are located at windbreaks on the platforms."

The fare control area at the south end of the 63rd station platform is seen looking north from the unpaid area on June 6, 2005, shortly before the station was renovated. Other than the roof and wall structures, only the agent's booth and backlit sign boxes were still original. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

63rd Street features a small fare control area with stairs and an escalator leading down to the south end of an island platform. In terms of interior arrangement and design for the passenger, Skidmore generally followed the edict of modernist pioneer Mies van der Rohe that ‚ "less is more." Except for at a few locations (most notably 95th Street terminal), there were no concessions provided for passengers. Air conditioning and a compact washroom with a toilet were provided in the agents' booths. Restrooms were for employees only, though payphones were provided. Stainless steel turnstiles, now an industry standard, were first used here. The amenities and traffic circulation fit with the architectural design of the station: efficient but purely functional. Stations were designed with wide walkways and no blind corners, with turnstiles and agents booths arranged for maximum queuing and circulation effectiveness.

The stations' design even formed a harmony with the 150 rapid transit cars that were ordered to serve the new Kennedy and Dan Ryan lines, which used the same design philosophies and basic shapes, and an entirely new system of signage with a redesigned typeface and clean graphic style (still used by CTA today, in a modified form), making a fully integrated design throughout the entire project.

Stations were spaced at between half-mile and one-mile intervals, reflecting an increasing spacing of stations prominent in the postwar period, with bus lines acting as feeders to the rapid transit line. The Dan Ryan and Kennedy stations were also set up to allow Pay On Train operation, though without all of the complicated gates and rearrangement built into the Congress stations. The translucent skin of the headhouse exteriors made this type of operation more safe than before, though not necessarily making it more aesthetically desirable for the customer. The result was a utilitarian white steel and glass station that is functional but not particularly ornate.

During the Green Line rehabilitation of 1994-96, the CTA considered constructing a new station complex where they'd demolished the old one at Harvard on the Englewood Branch. Then-CTA President Robert Belcaster had hoped to tap a special fund to create a large new 63rd Street facility, including a park'n'ride lot, that would've connected to the 63rd Street Dan Ryan station and created a large transit center. Unfortunately, this never came to be (and as a result, there is a mile and half between stations on the Englewood branch).


Dan Ryan Red Line Rehabilitation Project

With few major improvements (though with a lot of patching) over its thirty year life, by the early 21st century the Dan Ryan Line was in need of a major overhaul. On April 3, 2003, the Chicago Transit Board approved a $4.5 million contract to renovate the 69th and 95/Dan Ryan bus bridges as well as the bus turnaround at 95th Street, signaling the beginning of the rehabilitation of the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line. The Dan Ryan renovation project entailed upgrading the infrastructure of the line, including improving power reliability and delivery of that power, and providing station improvements to the seven stations on the branch north of the terminal.

On October 7, 2003, the Chicago Transit Board approved a $192.5 million contract to rehabilitate the Dan Ryan branch, with Kiewit/Reyes, AJV (A Joint Venture) awarded the construction contract as part of a competitive bid process. The total cost of the Dan Ryan rehabilitation program was to be $282.6 million.

This view looking southeast from the Englewood branch of the neighboring Green Line on April 12, 2006 shows the 63rd Red Line station under renovation. The platform deck has been replaced and most of the new plexiglas canopy roof is largely installed, the first Dan Ryan station to receive its new canopy "bubbles". For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

The project was executed in three phases. During the first phase of the project, which extended from March 2004 to May 2005, CTA replaced crossover track, installed a temporary signal system to support the track work and began third rail replacement from Cermak-Chinatown to 95th. As part of Phase II, which ran through early 2006, the CTA constructed two new substations and upgraded two existing substations, installed a permanent signal system and replaced third rail.

Phase III improvements, which began at the end of June 2005, consisted primarily of station renovations. Work at the seven stations located between Sox-35th and 87th included refurbishing platform canopies, architectural components, escalators, the existing station house, and new platform floor finishes, enhanced lighting, new customer assistant kiosks and improved signs. Eight escalators along the branch were replaced and new elevators were installed at 47th and 69th, making those stations accessible to customers with disabilities. There were also enhancements to improve bus connections, such as curb cuts, canopies over station entrances and improved lighting on the approach to each station.

63rd station remained open throughout the renovation project. Much of the work was done under single track operations during midday, owl, and other off-peak hours to allow contractors Kiewit/Reyes, Aldridge Electric, and others to undertake renovation work. On many days, it was also common for half of the platform at a time to be taken out of service at certain stations during owl hours to provide unobstructed access to the contractors. During some periods, trains in excess of four cars in length were prohibited from stopping at certain stations also to provide contractor access.

CTA started station and platform renovation work at the 63rd station in late June 2005. By the end of Autumn 2005, the new concrete flooring was completed. Bases and supports for new steel windbreaks were set in the new platform flooring; the framework for the new enclosures installed by the end of the year. In the meantime, temporary wooden windbreaks were installed to provide some shielding from the winter winds.

By the end of 2005, the original agents' booth had been removed and the fare controls had been moved to allow work to continue in the fare control area. By the end of December 2005 all of the canopy roofing "bubbles" had been removed, leaving the canopy structural framework but little actual protection except for small a area the platform where a tarpaulin had been stretched over a small portion of the canopy to provide a moderate level of protection from inclement weather. Work was undertaken at this time to refurbish the canopy structure.

This view of the renovated 63rd station looking north from the 63rd Street bridge over the Dan Ryan Expressway on December 8, 2006 shows several elements from the rehabilitation project, including new canopy skylights, new signage, and the refurbished, repainted station house and canopy. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Victor Ramirez)

By the end of February 2006, new canopy skylight "bubbles" were being installed at 63rd station and new platform storage units continued to be installed. Work continued at 63rd throughout Spring 2006. By August 2006, new skylight canopy domes were being installed at all stations from Sox-35th to 87th and were substantially complete at Garfield and 63rd. The station's canopy coverings were installed by the end of summer. Platform lighting installation at 63rd was completed and new platform storage units, windbreaks, and signage mountings continued to be installed.

By mid-November 2006, installation of new escalators was continuing and the new escalators at 63rd station entered service on Thursday, December 28, 2006

During November, work also continued on the installation of platform amenities at all stations, painting station house exteriors and platforms, installation of new light fixtures on platforms, installation of new lighting and ceilings in station houses, and installation of new signage.

By the end of 2006, the renovation of 63rd station was substantially complete with only punchlist work remaining. The finished station included the improvements listed above and, much like the original Kennedy-Dan Ryan project design by Skidmore, introduced several elements now standard at Dan Ryan stations (minus 95th/Dan Ryan and Cermak-Chinatown, which were not part of the project) including a new type of Customer Assistant booth (now also used in the renovated Brown Line stations), windbreak, and combination bench/sandbox. The station house and platform canopy received red bands as part of its new paint scheme, providing some color to the facility's exterior as well as line identification.

Unlike most stations in the Dan Ryan Rehabilitation Project, however, 63rd did not receive a new white-painted steel "eyebrow canopy" over the front of the station house.

Art glass panels were included in the station renovation, installed in the side walls of the station house at platform level. The red-tinted images are of the interior of the Englewood branch's 63rd Place and Wentworth substation, circa 1962, located a block east of the station. The images are reproduced on four panels, installed at one of four different angles arranged randomly.

Also included as part of the graphics package were station name signs mounted outside the tracks on the expressway sidewall, facing the platform. These types of "outside" station name signs were previous seen primarily at ADA-accessible stations, although they were installed at all renovated Dan Ryan stations including those without elevators, like 63rd. The frames on which these signs were mounted included a feature unseen before: a stainless steel panel between the posts on the back of which was mounted an extruded resin CTA logo facing the expressway. This was one of several ways the new (as of 2004) CTA logo was incorporated into the renovated Dan Ryan stations. The logo was also mounted along the cornice of all the station houses (typically at the rear end of the side elevation with with half of the shield extending above the roofline) and was applied as a hanging station "identifier" underneath the eyebrow canopy as the stations that received these coverings.


Red Line South Reconstruction Project

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.

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 was no 'L' service on the Dan Ryan branch south of Roosevelt station. 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.

The five-month construction option saved $75 million over an option to perform work on weekends only. CTA invested that $75 million savings into station upgrades along the south Red Line, including lighting improvements, painting, new roofs and canopies at some stations, electrical substation work, and other improvements. In addition, elevators were added to the 87th, 63rd, and Garfield stations, making the whole Dan Ryan branch, and indeed all "L" stations on the whole South Side, accessible.



This view looking north on the 63rd station platform on December 8, 2006 shows several elements from the station's renovation, including new concrete flooring, refurbished canopy structure and new skylight "bubbles", new signage, and new Dan Ryan-standard stainless steel seating. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Victor Ramirez)


63rd Station (1969-2003) | Dan Ryan Renovation (2004-present)

63rd Station (1969-2003)

63rdSign.jpg (21k)
A 63rd Street station sign. This A station sign is blue (instead of the standard "A station" red) because it was made after the CTA abandoned the color-coding of signage and blue was adopted for a short period as the default sign color. (Sign from the collection of Graham Garfield)

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The 63rd station is seen looking southeast on October 17, 2004, down from the paralleling Green Line Englewood branch tracks. The station entrance is on the right. The canopy roof of Plexiglas "bubbles", a signature element of the 1969 Dan Ryan station, is evident. Note how the CSX overpass goes over the platform canopy, but the canopy actually redundantly continues underneath it. (Photo by Tony Coppoletta)

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The 63rd Street station, looking southeast from the Dan Ryan Expressway on July 28, 2001. The modern, utilitarian design of the street-level entrance was typical of late 20th century CTA architecture. The fare controls are actually on the island platform, however. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The entrance to the 63rd station is seen looking north on June 6, 2005. At this station, the minimalist, modern International-style white steel and glass enclosure doesn't actually house the fare controls, but rather this just an enclosure around the stairs and escalator down to the platform where the fare controls are. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

Dan Ryan Renovation (2004-present)

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This December 8, 2006 photos shows a selection of CTA graphics, from left to right: a standard "L" station entrance sign and a bus stop sign for the #63 63rd bus. (Photo by Victor Ramirez)

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The refurbished 63rd platform is seen looking south on December 8, 2006 with new flooring, signage, and the new stainless steel "storefront" doors and windows which now enclose the station house and protect it from inclement weather. (Photo by Victor Ramirez)

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The rehabilitated 63rd platform is seen looking north on December 8, 2006. Visible improvements include the new platform flooring, refurbished canopy with new skylights, new signage, and in the foreground a galvanized steel three-sided map/timetable pylon, a standard design used elsewhere on the Red Line and at the renovated Brown Line stations. (Photo by Victor Ramirez)

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The renovated 63rd platform is seen looking south on December 8, 2006 with new flooring, signage, and Dan Ryan-standard stainless steel windbreak. Yet to be installed are the station name signs outside the tracks facing the platform. (Photo by Victor Ramirez)