The Loop in the Sixties

My initial exposure to the Loop came in 1961, and it wasn't a Chicago CTA that I was riding.  In those days -- those waning days of a leftover era -- the Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban shared the tracks with the city lines.  I  had used a family trip to Kenosha, Wisconsin as the basis to ride the electric intercity line into Chicago.  It was the era of the Electroliners, but I was on one of the older cars south.  The experience even before Chicago was immense for me, and then I found myself on the fabled Loop for the first time.  What a rush!

Each of my early riding trips on the CTA itself brought a state of transit joy, experiencing the Loop; the various lines radiating out along old and seemingly precariously built "L" trackage over alleys and streets through old neighborhoods of brick multi-family residences with wooden fire escapes; the ground level segments elsewhere, with numerous street crossings.   It was unique, and superb.

Alas, I did not document the first few trips with photos.  This view, at the Madison/Wabash station, is from 1966.  The pedestrian overpass looked pretty much then as it does now.  Trains on both tracks were still running counter-clockwise, and thus this Lake St. run will pull away from the station toward the camera. 

At the time of the photo these cars, in the 2000 series and manufactured by Pullman, were only a couple of years old.  And the North Shore Line had been absent -- gone to its glory -- for more than three years. 

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