The Washington/Wells station platform, looking southeast, in June 1998. The modern station follows the CTA's oft-used "open plan" design. The Madison/Wells station, razed for Washington's construction, was formally in the gap between the buildings to the left of the platforms. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

Washington/Wells (100N/200W)
Washington Street and Wells Street, Loop

Service Notes:

Brown Line: Ravenswood

Orange Line: Midway

Purple Line: Evanston Express

Pink Line: 54/Cermak-Loop

Accessible Station

Transfer Station

Quick Facts:

Address: 100 N. Wells Street
Established: July 17, 1995
Original Line: n/a
Previous Names: none
Skip-Stop Type: n/a
Rebuilt: n/a
Status: In Use


The Washington/Wells station has multiple vertical accessways lined up along the sidewalks. Looking south on the east side of Wells Street on August 26, 2003, there is an escalator, stairs, and last is the elevator. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

By the mid-1990s, the CTA  had long been considering a plan to have two stations on all four sides of the Loop (for consistency and to have fewer stations to clean, maintain and man), necessitating the removal of one station on the east and west sides. Instead of simply closing one and leaving the other, the CTA  decided to close Randolph/Wells and Madison/Wells and build a new station in between. Madison was completely demolished; Randolph, however, had its station houses removed,but the north portion of its platforms were left, equipment stored on them. Its fate is currently uncertain. On July 17, 1995, the new Washington/Wells opened.

The station is long, spanning an entire block. Fare collection is handled on a mezzanine level suspended above Wells Street half way between Washington and Madison. This mezzanine also allows passengers to transfer between platforms (and thus lines), a function previously handled by the transfer bridge at Randolph/Wells. From the paid area, passengers proceed up stairs to dual platforms. Built in the "open plan" design, a white steel and glass box canopy covers both platforms as well as the tracks in the center of the station's length. The windbreaks and benches are stainless steel, the lights of the box sodium-vapor variety and the floor is treated wood planks (unusual, considering most new platforms use concrete). New-style platform signage identifies the station, which handles Ravenswood (Brown Line) trains on the Outer Loop track and Midway (Orange Line) and Evanston Express (Purple Line) trains on the Inner Loop. Both platforms have an auxiliary turnstile exit on their south end, just south of Madison Street. The station is handicap accessible.

At a press conference on Monday, June 5, 2000, CTA President Frank Kruesi announced that beginning Saturday, June 10th and Sunday, June 11th, six downtown area 'L' and subway stations and seven station entrances that were currently closed late at night or on weekends would be open at all hours that trains are in service. One of the stations that was a Part-Time Station -- closed Sundays and Holidays -- was Washington/Wells. Starting at 0700 hours Sunday, June 11th, Washington/Wells returned to full-time operation. Opening these stations and entrances is just one of the components of a $539,000 service improvement package that was passed by the Chicago Transit Board in May 2000.

The Washington/Wells station is actually positioned mid-block between Washington and Madison streets, as seen in this view looking east on Madison toward Wells on August 11, 2004. As a result of its positioning, the platforms span Madison and have auxiliary exits on the south side of the street. The station also allows for intermodal transfers with several bus lines, such as the #56 Milwaukee bus seen here. This location is the site of the former Madison/Wells station, demolished to allow the construction of Washington/Wells. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The south end of the Washington/Wells platforms are seen looking south on March 1, 2005 toward the auxiliary exits at Madison Street. The south end of the platforms are the only part not covered by the full-width canopy. (Photo by Dennis Herbuth)

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Washington/Wells station is seen looking south from the north end of the Inner Loop platform on July 12, 2006. The canopy covers the full width of the station, except for a break down the center over the tracks. The wide platforms provide a high capacity for this West Loop station, located among many high-density office towers. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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An Orange Line 3200-series train, led by car 3304, pulls into the Washington/Wells Inner Loop station platform on Sunday September 10, 2000. (Photo by Ernie Baudler)

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Car 3421 leads a Kimball-bound Brown Line train stopping at Washington/Wells on Sunday September 10, 2000. (Photo by Ernie Baudler)

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Car 2465 is bringing up the rear of a 4-car Green Line train heading to Cottage Grove, stopping at a Loop station on the last weekend of September, 2008. What is unusual is where it is stopping -- Washington/Wells, a station not normally served by the Green Line. During most weekends in late 2008, the Lake and Wabash sides of the Loop were closed and trains rerouted for track renewal. (Photo by Dennis Herbuth)

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During the Red Line South Reconstruction Project, certain Green Line trains only operated between Harlem and downtown and circled the Outer Loop... but only during the evening rush. (In the morning rush, they terminated at Roosevelt.) Still, despite the limited service, some signage needed to be added to stations, undertaken in the form of removable vinyl since the service was only temporary; one example, the green stripe added to the brown station name sign tab, seen on the left. A Green Line Looper, led by car 5080 bearing green "Harlem" destination signs, stops at Washington/Wells on the evening of July 15, 2013. (Photo by Graham Garfield)