Kostner station, looking east on June 24, 2003. Although at the time of this photo it's actually still just under a month before the station would open, the structure is substantially complete. The CA's booth and fare controls, as well as some some auxiliary rooms, are provided in the small, narrow station house between the tracks. Accessibility is provided with an ADA-compliant ramp. An auxiliary farecard-only entrance is still provided at Kildare, the site of the original, previous station's primary entrance. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

Kostner (4400W/2100S)
Kostner Avenue and 21st Street, North Lawndale

Service Notes:

Pink Line: Cermak (Douglas)

Accessible Station

Quick Facts:


2019 S. Kostner (Kostner entrance)

2020 S. Kildare (Kildare entrance)

Established: May 22, 1907
Original Line: Metropolitan West Side Elevated, Douglas Park branch
Previous Names: Kildare

Skip-Stop Type:


Rebuilt: 2002-03
In Use


Kildare station, looking west on March 11, 2002. The agent's booth and fare controls on the platform were added in the 1970s when the station house was demolished; the plexiglas enclosure was added circa 2000. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

The Douglas branch of the Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad was originally planned to extend to 46th (Kenton) Avenue in its original stretch. However, the branch was only open as far as 18th Street by April 28, 1896 (long after the other Met branches were in service), Western was activated August 7 and 40th Avenue was finally reached in 1902. This station served as the terminal for the Douglas Park branch until 1907 when the line was finally extended to 46th Avenue at the city limits. The Kildare stop, a station serving a primarily residential neighborhood of modest density, was included in this last extension.

Kildare once resembled the Laramie station, with a small wood frame clapboard peaked-roof station house situated between the tracks facing the street with a back entrance onto a short platform. In November 1973, an accident wrecked the station house at Kildare and it was demolished. Only the original platform and canopy remained, with an agent's booth added to the east end of the platform. A long walkway replaced the building.

Kildare station, by 2002, had a twelve foot wide platform long enough to hold an 8-car train, though the canopy was only one car long.

As part of the CTA's Douglas Rehabilitation Project, Kildare was replaced with a new station house and a wider platform, with access provided by a ramp from the street. At 0200 hours on Saturday, June 15, 2002, the stations at Pulaski and Kildare closed for demolition and replacement with new facilities. The weekend of June 22-23, 2002, Kildare station met its maker. On Saturday, the station was quickly and completely demolished, including the platform, lights, platform equipment, station enclosure, short canopy, sidewalk leading to the station, and safety gate. By Sunday afternoon, June 23rd, nothing of the old station could be detected except for a very short length of platform with one platform light wrapped around a telephone pole a few hundred feet west of Kildare Avenue between the tracks.


Douglas Renovation Project

On August 5, 1998, the CTA Board approved a $2,131,551 contract to McDonough Associates, Inc., of Chicago to design improvements along the street level portion of the Cermak (Douglas) route between Kildare and the terminal at 54/Cermak, with funding for actual construction to be provided under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, or TEA-21.

The wide, peaked canopy begins to take shape at the west end of the Kostner station platform, looking west on October 1, 2002. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

The new station fronts on Kostner (one block west of Kildare), with an auxiliary fare card entrance on Kildare. As such, upon reopening after reconstruction, the station's name changed from "Kildare" to "Kostner".

The station house at Kostner, which has an all-glass elevation on its south side for natural illumination, has white glazed tile finishes on its non-windowed walls. The narrow building set between the tracks houses the fare controls, AVMs, and customer assistant's booth, as well as some auxiliary rooms, though much of those equipment is actually housed in huts on the south side of the right-of-way, just east of the station house. The Kostner entrance has a ramp for ADA accessibility, while a reversible high-barrier gate (HBG) allows customers with farecards to enter at Kildare, the site of the station's original entrance in its previous incarnation.

The new island platform is 16 feet wide with a 10-car canopy. The canopies provide protection for waiting customers with windbreaks with overhead heaters for cold-weather comfort. Audio/visual signs and a public address system were also installed to provide travel information for customers.

After Kildare station was closed on June 15, 2002, service was shifted to a temporary station one block east. Kildare shared a temporary station facility, centered over Karlov Street, with the Pulaski station to the east. The station was called the "Pulaski-Kildare" temporary station by CTA and had two entrances: one at Pulaski and one at Keeler, which was one block east of Kildare Avenue and served as the entrance for those passengers who'd previously used Kildare station. Station name signage calls the stop "Pulaski", with the entrance serving Kildare acknowledged on a blue tab. Kiewit/Delgado began construction of the temporary platforms at Pulaski-Kildare the weekend of May 4-5, 2002 and the temporary station entered service on Monday, June 17th.

Some demolition work on Kildare station began immediately after it closed on June 15th, primarily in the form of equipment removal for the new, temporary facilities. During the weekend, after Kildare station was closed and locked, CTA forces removed the fare controls and AVMs in that station and relocated them to the Keeler entrance to the temporary Pulaski-Kildare station.

The new Kostner station officially entered service at 0400 hours on Thursday, July 17, 2003. Later that day, a press conference was held, attended by Mayor Richard M. Daley, CTA President Frank Kruesi, and other officials to herald the opening of the new facility, which was the first new station to come on-line as part of the CTA's Douglas Rehabilitation Project. At the same time that the new Kostner station opened, the Keeler entrance to the temporary Pulaski-Kildare station was converted to an emergency exit, effective as of the closing of the line the night before. The east entrance of the temporary station remained open for Pulaski station customers until that station's rehabilitation was complete.

The Kostner station also had new original artwork installed as part of the Douglas branch renovation. Included through a unique partnership between the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs' Public Art Program and the CTA , the Public Art Program administered the selection, design, creation and installation of public art for the project. The Kostner station includes a digital transfer on porcelain tile piece called "Birth of Heroes: A Mandala for Harmony" on the streetside exterior wall by artist Ivan Watkins, and jet-cut stainless steel fencing titled "Seeds of the Future are Planted Today" by artist Beatrice Coron. The CTA allocated $1 million for the Cermak Branch Art Project and retains ownership rights to all of the artwork created.

After conducting a West Side Corridor Study and holding public meetings during 2004 and 2005, the CTA began operation of a new service over the Cermak branch. Beginning Sunday, June 25, 2006, the new Pink Line began providing the primary rail service to the branch. Operating seven days a week during the same service hours as the Blue Line had operated, Pink Line trains operated on the Cermak branch from 54th/Cermak to Polk, then terminated around the Loop via the Paulina Connector and Lake branch of the Green Line. Service levels increased with the introduction of the Pink Line, with trains running more frequently including a 7.5-minute interval during weekday rush periods. To address community concerns, Blue Line service to the O'Hare branch from 54th/Cermak via the Dearborn Subway was maintained during morning and afternoon rush hours. The Pink Line and revised Blue Line services were instituted as an 180-day experiment, extended for additional 180-day experimental periods subsequently, while ridership and other effects were studied. As the experimental period continued, the CTA revised service on the Cermak branch to eliminate the rush period Blue Line trains, leaving the Pink Line to provide all service to 54th/Cermak. Although ridership had risen overall since the introduction of the Pink Line, Blue Line trains had consistently low ridership on a person-per-railcar-basis. The last day of Blue Line Cermak service was Friday, April 25, 2008.


The center of the new island platform at Kostner is uncovered, with peaked canopies at the ends near the entrances. This August 2003 view looks east toward the Kildare end, with the stocky, rectilinear light poles forming a colonnade down the center of the platform. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)


Kildare (1902-2002) | Kostner (2002-present)

For photos of the temporary Pulaski-Kildare station, click here.

Kildare station  

cta2147-48.jpg (60k)
Pullman-Standard cars 2147-2148 are on westbound in Douglas-Milwaukee "B" service as they leave Kildare station in June, 1966. (Photo Jerry Appleman)

kildare-P-8_KDRsignEB.jpg (202k)
The design of this "KDR"-style symbol sign from the inbound side of the platform at Kildare is typical of this type and vintage: large first letter of the station name with the full name under it; a "KDR arrow" pointing in the direction of travel with the direction and destination in the middle; and the skip-stop station type at the bottom. The color is also standard -- in the KDR signage system, a green background was used for 'B' station signs. (Sign courtesy of Bill Wulfert)

kildare02.jpg (120k)
The enclosed area on the east end of the platform was added when the station house was removed. It now houses a customer assistant's booth, a single farecard vending machine (AVM), and two turnstiles. This view looks west on March 11, 2002. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

kildare03.jpg (125k)
The Kildare platform has a small canopy -- barely one car length -- that used to be attached to the rear of the wooden station house (now removed). This short canopy, along with a modern windbreak and overhead heaters, still provides some protection from the weather in this view looking west on March 11, 2002. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

kildare04.jpg (118k)
Looking east on the Kildare island platform on March 11, 2002. The station's accouterments are simple, belaying its modest ridership and residential setting. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

kildare05.jpg (143k)
Unlike many similar grade-level stations of modest ridership on the system, Kildare still has most of its signage, though it is somewhat spotty in places. It is interesting to observe that most of the signs are on older wooden frames and posts, some of which are leftover supports from some long-removed structure. This view looks east on March 11, 2002. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

kildare06.jpg (23k)
Kildare station, looking west in March 1998. Most likely, there was a small station house a la Laramie where the walkway is now. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

kildare07.jpg (185k)
Kildare station on the last full day of service, June 14, 2002, looking northwest. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

kildare08.jpg (169k)
Kildare station on Monday, June 17, 2002, two days after closure. The sign on the gate blocking the entrance directs passengers to the Keeler entrance of the Pulaski-Kildare temporary station. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

Kostner station

kostner01.jpg (36k)
An artist's rendering of the new Kostner-Kildare station, produced before construction began, shows a wider platform and full-length canopy, the latter of which was not actually executed (the finished station has a break in the canopy in the middle of the station). (Drawing provided courtesy of the Chicago Transit Authority)

kildare09.jpg (308k)
Looking west at the former location of Kildare station at caissons for the supports for the future Kostner station on August 2, 2002. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

kildare10.jpg (186k)
Caissons have been installed between Kildare and Kostner for the new Kostner station, as seen in this view looking west on August 31, 2002, allowing erection of the steel structure to begin. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

kostner03.jpg (153k)
By October 1, 2002, the platform decking of the entire Kostner station was in place, as well as most of the canopy posts. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

kostner04.jpg (213k)
The new Kostner island platform is under construction, looking east at the structural steel for the new canopy on February 6, 2003. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

kostner05.jpg (159k)
The primary entrance at Kostner to the new Kostner station is nearing completion, looking east on March 18, 2003. The station house is narrow, with solid walls of white tile on the front and north elevation and will have a clear glass wall on the south elevation. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

kostner08.jpg (156k)
The Kostner station has an auxiliary, high-barrier gate (HBG) farecard entrance at Kildare, on the same site as the original station's entrance. This side has no station house and is not ADA accessible. It was still a month away from opening in this June 24, 2003 view looking west, but it was already complete, including the installation of its illuminated station entrance sign, except for the HBG itself. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

kostner09.jpg (192k)
The Kostner platform is wider and longer than its predecessor, with more canopy coverage and passenger amenities. The station isn't open yet in this June 24, 2003 view and the striped, reflective barriers and rope strung between them are in place to insure that the construction personnel keep back from the platform edge, as trains still operated through the station, albeit at reduced speeds. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

kostner11.jpg (157k)
Upon reaching the platform from the main entrance, passengers find themselves sheltered under one of the station's two peaked canopies. This view looks east from the off-peak boarding area at the Kostner end on August 19, 2003. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

kostner12.jpg (136k)
The main entrance to the station from Kostner is through an enclosed station house. The front door leads to a narrow passage, seen looking east on August 19, 2003, with auxiliary rooms on the north and a glass curtain wall on the south. Ahead are the fare controls. Note the windows on the left toward the end of the hallway: this is the Customer Assistant's booth, which is integrated into the interior walls, unlike most stations where it's freestanding. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

kostner13.jpg (148k)
Once entering passengers pass through the entrance hallway, they are deposited onto the small but well-illuminated fare control area, seen looking east on August 19, 2003. Extensive use of glass walls and windows allow maximum natural light during daytime hours. The turnstiles are angled both for efficient flow from the entrance hall to the ramp to the platform, as well as to allow more turnstiles to fit into a relatively small space. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

kostner-fence01.jpg (533k)
Larger versions of Seeds of the Future..., artwork that doubled as facing, are installed at the Kildare auxiliary entrance and feature a center panel depicting children watering plants in their neighborhood. (Photo courtesy of CTA Arts in Transit Program)

kostner-fence02.jpg (137k)
The smaller Seeds of the Future... panels at the Kostner entrance depict corn growing up from open books -- also use as side panels on the larger installation above -- symbolizing human growth. (Photo courtesy of CTA Arts in Transit Program)

kostner_art01.jpg (118k)
Birth of Heroes, mounted at the main entrance to Kostner, has images of famous African-Americans, the community, and the "L" screened onto its tiles. The artwork is inspired by the Mandala, a precise yet universal symbol of unity, harmony and the cyclical nature of life. (Photo courtesy of CTA Arts in Transit Program)