Central (5600W/800S)
Central Avenue and Railroad Avenue, Austin

Service Notes:

Garfield Line

Quick Facts:

Address: TDB
Established: March 11, 1905
Original Line: Metropolitan West Side Elevated, Garfield Park branch
Previous Names: none

Skip-Stop Type:


Rebuilt: n/a
Status: Demolished


The Aurora Elgin & Chicago interurban began service from Aurora and Wheaton to a connection with the "L" at 52nd Avenue (Laramie) on August 25, 1902. Included on the AE&C's main line was a station at 56th Avenue (Central). The AE&C's (later reorganized as the Chicago Aurora & Elgin) service to stations on this segment of their main line was short-lived, as the Metropolitan "L" assumed local service between 52nd Avenue and Desplaines Avenue on March 11, 1905, relieving the AE&C of this unwanted chore. The extension of Garfield Park service to Desplaines and the Met's servicing of the local stations between was part of the reciprocal trackage agreement that allowed the AE&C to extend to downtown Chicago and the Fifth Avenue Terminal over the Metropolitan Elevated.

The Central station was a simple facility located at ground level, as the Garfield Park line ran at-grade west of Cicero station. The station consisted of wooden dual side platforms with a fare control facility on the inbound platform. One interesting aspect of Central station's arrangement was that the platforms were on different sides of Central Avenue: the inbound platform was on the east side of the street, while the outbound platform was on the west side of the street.

During the 1950s, the City of Chicago and Cook County undertook construction of the Congress Superhighway [Eisenhower Expressway] along the general alignment of the Garfield Park "L" line. Part of the project also included the new new Congress "L" Line to replace the Garfield Park. The Congress Expressway opened in stages between 1955 and 1960; on June 22, 1958, the first section of the new Congress Line opened between Halsted and Laramie, replacing the Garfield Park elevated.

Work on the Congress Expressway and "L" line west of Laramie Avenue resulted in some complicated staging and several temporary facilities along the at-grade portion of the Garfield Line. On August 29, 1954, Garfield trains were rerouted trains via temporary tracks north of original alignment between Central and Lombard to allow for highway construction. At the same time, the old side platform station was abandoned and a new island platform station was opened on the west side of Central Avenue.

Just under two years later the Garfield Line shifted to a second set of temporary tracks, even further north than the first temporary alignment. A new island platform served this second temporary alignment, with westbound trains switching to the new alignment on July 8, 1956 and eastbound trains making the switch a week later on July 15. At that point, the old temporary tracks and island platform were removed from service.

Over a year later, the permanent right-of-way was ready, although the permanent replacement Congress Line station was not. On October 16, 1959, the permanent eastbound Congress Line track was placed in service between Parkside and Pine avenues thru Lotus Tunnel. A temporary side platform was placed in service. Three days later, on October 19, the permanent westbound track and a temporary westbound side platform was placed in service, closing the previous temporary platform. Meanwhile, between the permanent tracks, the new, permanent island platform was constructed. The new Central station platform (with temporary fare controls) was placed in service on October 10, 1960, with westbound trains first using it, followed by eastbound trains the next day. On October 11, 1960, the third and final temporary Central station was closed.



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