The street entrance to the renovated 69th station is seen looking southwest on April 1, 2007. Improvements to the entrance include refurbishment of the structure, new paint, a new "storefront" enclosing the entranceway with doors and windows, a new "eyebrow canopy" over the entrance to protect waiting bus passengers, and identification signage. Note that 69th is unique among the renovated Dan Ryan stations in incorporating exit rotogates into its front facade. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

69th (6900S/1W)
69th Street and Dan Ryan Expressway, Greater Grand Crossing

Service Notes:

Red Line: Dan Ryan

Accessible Station

Owl Service

Quick Facts:

Address: 15 W. 69th Street
Established: September 28, 1969
Original Line: West-South Route, Dan Ryan branch
Previous Names: n/a

Skip-Stop Type:


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


The 69th station is one of two on the Dan Ryan Line with a bus bridge for off-street intermodal connections. The station entrance, with its characteristic Skidmore Modern-style glass and steel rectilinear design, is set between the busway and 69th Street, with stairs down to the platform-level fare controls. The station has been open for just over a month in this November 6, 1969 view with passengers waiting for connecting buses. For a larger view, click here. (Photo from CTA Collection)

The design of 69th 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.

Off-street bus transfer facilities are provided at the 95th Street terminal and at 69th Street station by means of bus bridges over the expressway traffic lanes."

69th station features a small "open plan" type facility with stainless steel fare collection equipment with stairs and an escalator leading down to the north 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.

Looking south just a few days after beginning operation, a northbound Lake-Dan Ryan train is stopped at 69th station on October 1, 1969. The 6-car train is entirely made up of Pullman 2000-series cars. The crowd on the platform shows how the line was well-patronized from day one. For a larger view, click here. (Photo from the CTA Collection)

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.


Prepaid Bus Loading Test

Effective Monday, September 9, 2002, the CTA began testing an off-vehicle fare collection for buses at the 69th Street Red Line station, with the goal of reducing bus loading times and making a more integrated intermodal facility with the "L". In effect on weekdays only between 1500 and 1900 hours, customers using the 69th Bus Bridge to board buses paid their fares at turnstiles located within the street level portion of the 69th Street station. The bridge operated as a "paid" bus station platform. Prior to 1500 hours and after 1900 hours, bus customers paid their fares on the bus as usual, with fares and transfers deducted from farecards and transfer cards in the normal manner. Customers could also pay cash fares on the bus.

During the prepaid operation in the PM rush, bus customers paid their fares at the bus turnstiles located in the street level station house. Customers could use either a farecard, or a transfer card, or a pass, as the bus turnstiles did not accept cash. After payment of fares at the bus turnstiles, customers could board the bus without reinserting their farecard or transfer cards in the bus farebox.

As an aid to operators and supervisors, two illuminated signs were mounted on the bus bridge sidewalk railing and displayed a green light and the message "Fares paid" when off vehicle fare collection was in operation. Off vehicle fare collection was not in operation on holidays when a Sunday schedule is in effect.

The program was canceled effective Monday, November 18, 2002. As such, the four affected bus routes returned to normal onboard fare collection and the bus bridge ceased to function as a paid area. CTA indicated that the pilot program met with limited success. The biggest problems seemed to be getting customers used to a system of onboard fare collection acclimated to prepaid bus fare payment, as well as difficultly effectively converting a bus bridge designed for unrestricted access from the street to function as a restricted-access paid area, with insufficient modification of access to the bridge causing fare evasion problems.

The 69th Street off-vehicle bus fare collection test was billed as a "six month experimental pilot program", but lasted only two and a half months.


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.

The renovated 69th Street bus bridge is seen looking west on September 1, 2005. The rebuilding provided new driveway and sidewalk pavement, new high fencing with integrated bus shelters, and new lighting. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

The bus bridge element of the project included rehabilitation of bridge supports, replacement of the bridge deck including busway pavement, curbs and walkways, refurbishment of barriers and fencing on the bridge, and installation of a new lighting system. Steel girders were cleaned and painted. The bridge and turnaround work did not significantly affect rail or expressway traffic. Repairs to abutments, piers, and retaining walls were minor. All improvements conformed to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The contract for work on this project was awarded to Chicago-based F.H. Paschen/S.N. Nielsen & Associates through a competitive bidding process. Work on the bus bridge and bus turnaround at 69th and 95th streets started in Spring 2003, with bus customers using the bus bridge at the 69th station experiencing a temporary change of bus stop locations beginning Friday, June 27 as the bridge closed for reconstruction. While the bus bridge was under construction, CTA located temporary bus stops on adjacent streets near the terminal. The temporary stops were all within a block of the terminal so customers did not have to walk far. Temporary bus stops were in place through October 2003, when access to the bus bridge returned to normal. Effective 12:01am, Friday, October 3, 2003, construction resulting from the reconstruction of the 69th station bus bridge was completed. Punchlist work on the bus bridge and bus turnaround at 69th continued until November 2003. Funding for the bus bridge rehabilitation was provided by Illinois FIRST, the Federal Transit Administration and the Regional Transportation Authority.

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 for the remainder of the Dan Ryan Rehabilitation Project -- track and traction power infrastructure, signals, and station renovations -- as part of a competitive bid process. The total cost of the Dan Ryan rehabilitation program was to be $282.6 million.

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.

The south end of the 69th platform shows the progress of the station rehab on September 1, 2005. A wooden platform extension has been added to allow for the berthing area displaced at the north end by the temporary presence of the fare controls. In addition, the canopy "bubbles" have been removed and the lights are temporarily hung by chains at this end. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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.

69th 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.

Work at 69th began in mid-August 2005, when on August 12 the train berthings were moved south to allow for the fare controls to be shifted further south on the platform. To allow this to occur, a temporary wooden platform extension, including a wooden windbreak and a few freestanding lights, was placed in service on the south end of the island platform to extend it by about a car length. Shortly afterward, work began on constructing wooden side enclosures around the new fare control area at the north end of the platform and on temporary stairs up from this area to the south side of the bus bridge. Also during August 2005, work began on removing the old plexiglas canopy roof "bubbles" so that the canopy structure could be refurbished. Work also began at the south end of the platform on removing the original terrazzo flooring so that the new concrete floor could be installed.

On Wednesday, August 31, 2005 at 0001 hours, the main entrance in the station house between 69th Street and the bus bridge was closed so that the contractor, Kiewit/Reyes, could renovate it, including the installation of an elevator and the relocation of the fare controls from the platform to the street-level building. The concession stand inside the headhouse remained open for a short time after entry to the platform was closed, accessible from the south doors at the bus bridge and closed off from the rest of the station house by means of plywood walls. While the renovation work in the station house was in progress a temporary stairway located on the south side of the bus bridge, across from the existing station house, provided access to the 69th station platform. The stairway connected to the bus bridge across from the station building and was connected by removing three fence panels and part of the concrete wall on the bridge.

To allow for its renovation, the station house was closed on August 31, 2005 and entrance to the platform was provided by means of a temporary staircase. Seen looking southeast on September 1, 2005, the temporary stairs connect to the south side of the bus bridge by the removal of three railing panels and some of the concrete wall. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

During Autumn 2005, the original terrazzo platform flooring was removed from the remaining station platform. By the end of Fall, 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. The street-level station house was completely gutted during Autumn, including the flooring and all of the vertical access elements.

Work continued at 69th throughout Winter 2006-07 and Spring 2006. The second of two "linecuts" was performed over Memorial Day weekend, when service was temporarily suspended in both directions between 95th/Dan Ryan and 63rd stations from midnight Friday, May 26 until midday Monday, May 29, with a shuttle bus in between. Work included painting the canopy columns and station exteriors and track and tie renewal at several locations. During both linecuts, stations were covered with large tent-like enclosures to protect workers and keep materials and dust contained.

By August 2006, new skylight canopy domes were being installed at all stations from Sox-35th to 87th. Progress was made on the installation of new vertical access elements during summer, with steel erection and construction of the new stairs at 69th completed by August. Construction of the new elevators at 47th and 69th stations continued through the end of summer.

Effective at 8am, Saturday, October 21, 2006, the 69th station house reopened while construction continued. The temporary stairway located on the south side of the bus bridge was closed and subsequently removed. The station house now housed the fare controls and Customer Assistant booth in the south half of the building. Plywood walls channeled passengers through the building while some of the permanent barriers were still being erected.

This November 1, 2006 view looking south inside the 69th station house shows that the fare controls had been relocated to street-level but work was continuing within the facility. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

By mid-November 2006, installation of new station platform canopy skylight "bubbles" was substantially complete at all stations in the project zone, from Sox-35th to 87th, inclusive. Installation of new escalators was continuing at 69th station. Work also continued on the new elevators at 47th and 69th and on renovating the existing elevator at 79th. The new escalators at 69th 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 69th 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.

The north entrance on the street side of the 69th station house received a new white-painted steel "eyebrow canopy" over the front of the station house to protect passengers waiting to transfer to eastbound #69 69th buses. The canopy, a modern design somewhat reminiscent of a scaled-down version of the crosswalk covering installed at Sox-35th in 2002-03, includes 10 art glass panels in its roofing. The red-tinted images are of the original construction of the 69th station canopy and platform and nearby track circa 1969. The images are 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. 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.

Effective January 3, 2007, 69th station's elevator elevator was put in service, making the station ADA-compliant and accessible for customers.


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 of the renovated 69th station looking southwest from the bus bridge over the Dan Ryan Expressway on December 24, 2006 shows several elements from the rehabilitation project, including new canopy skylights, new signage, and the refurbished, repainted station canopy structure. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

69th Station (1969-2003) | Dan Ryan Renovation (2004-present)

69th Station (1969-2003)

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The 69th Street station, looking north from the Dan Ryan Expressway on July 28, 2001. Like all Dan Ryan stations, the island platform leads to a square, utilitarian, modern glass-and-steel station house at street level. Unlike most Dan Ryan station (except 95/Dan Ryan), the stations leads to a bus bridge, specially made for transfer to CTA sub routes (as evidenced by the CTA buses lined up across the bridge). (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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A 69th Street KDR-type station column sign. (Sign from the collection of Graham Garfield)

Dan Ryan Renovation

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To allow for its renovation, including the installation of an elevator and the relocation of the fare controls, the 69th station house was closed on August 31, 2005. The doors were locked and signs, both professionally-made and homemade, were placed on the front entrance directing passengers to the temporary entrance on the bus bridge. Seen looking south on September 1, 2005, a rail supervisor has joined the usually-assigned bus supervisor to help direct acclimating customers on the second day of the service change. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Just one day after the station house closed, construction contractors have already set to work inside the 69th station house, seen looking south through the doors from outside the building on September 1, 2005. Changes to the station house will include new flooring, the installation of an elevator for ADA accessibility, and the relocation of the fare controls from the platform up to this street-level facility. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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While the 69th station house is under renovation, the fare controls have temporarily been relocated to the north end of the platform, seen here looking south in the unpaid area on September 1, 2005. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The 69th station platform is under renovation, seen here looking south at its midpoint on September 1, 2005. At this point on the platform the plexiglas "bubbles" in the canopy have been removed for refurbishment and the lights have been temporarily hung from chains while the steel canopy structure is being renovated, but the terrazzo platform has not yet been removed, nor has the original stainless steel windbreak. But that will come soon. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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This view looking north on the 69th station platform on November 1, 2006 shows several elements from the station's renovation, including new concrete flooring, refurbished canopy structure and new skylight "bubbles", new stainless steel windbreaks, and new signage (still being installed). Some elements are still yet to be installed. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The refurbished 69th station house, seen looking southeast on November 1, 2006, incorporated a number of identification elements, including red banding to aid in line identification and large CTA logos mounted along the cornice of the station house, with half of the shield extending above the roofline. Work was still underway at the time of the photo, however, with interior barrier elements and the stainless steel "storefront" yet to be installed. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The interior of the 69th station house is nearing completion in this view looking north on November 1, 2006. The new concrete flooring and most of the new ceiling panels have been installed and the fare controls have been relocated to the left and behind the photographer. However, work continued on the escalator and storefront, the elevator (out of view behind the photographer) and the plywood walls temporarily channel traffic until permanent barriers are installed. (Photo by Victor Ramirez)

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The refurbished 69th station house, seen looking southeast on December 24, 2006, is nearly complete but work was still underway at the time of the photo. Interior barrier elements and the stainless steel "storefront" with exit rotogates were still yet to be installed. (Photo by Graham Garfield)