The Loop (CTA)

The Loop (historically Union Loop, or commonly Loop) is the 1.79-mile (2.88 km) long circuit of elevated rail that forms the hub of the Chicago "L" system in Chicago, Illinois. As of 2012, the branch has served 74,651 passengers every weekday. The Loop is so named because the elevated tracks loop around a rectangle formed by Lake Street (north side), Wabash Avenue (east), Van Buren Street (south), and Wells Street (west). The railway loop has given its name to Chicago's downtown, which is known as the Loop. Numerous accounts assert that the use of this term predates the elevated rail, deriving from the multiple cable car turntables, or loops, that terminated in the district, and especially those of two lines that shared a loop, constructed in 1882, bounded by Madison, Wabash, State, and Lake. However, transportation historian Bruce Moffat has concluded that "The Loop" was not used as a proper noun until after Charles Yerkes' 1895–97 construction of the elevated structure.

The Loop includes eight stations: Clark/Lake and State/Lake are on the northern leg; Washington/Wabash and Adams/Wabash are on the eastern side; Harold Washington Library – State/Van Buren and LaSalle/Van Buren are on the southern leg; and Quincy and Washington/Wells are on the western side. In 2011 20,896,612 passengers entered the 'L' via these stations.

Five of the eight 'L' lines use the Loop tracks:

Two of the remaining three lines, the Blue Line and the Red Line, run underground through the center of the Loop, connecting to Loop stations. The Yellow Line is the only CTA line that does not run on or connect to the loop.

Two towers control entry to and exit from the Loop. Tower 12 stands at the southeastern corner. Tower 18 stands watch over the three-quarter union located at the northwestern corner, which at one time was billed as the busiest railroad interlocking in the world. The current Tower 18 was placed into service on September 7, 1969 after being relocated diagonally across the junction from the original 19th century tower.

Prior to construction of the Union Loop, Chicago's three elevated railway lines—the South Side Elevated Railroad, the Lake Street Elevated Railroad, and the Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad—each had their own terminal on the edges of downtown Chicago. Charles Tyson Yerkes masterminded the linking of these railroads. The Union Loop was constructed in separate sections: the Lake Street 'L' was extended along the north side in 1895; the Union Elevated Railroad opened the east side along Wabash Avenue in 1896 and the west side along Wells Street in 1897; and the Union Consolidated Elevated Railroad opened the south side along Van Buren Street in 1897. Originally there were 12 stations, with three stations on each side. The construction of the west-leg of the Union Loop over Wells Street required the removal of the southern platform of the Fifth/Lake station. The addition of the Northwestern Elevated Railroad caused the removal of the rest of the station as the remaining platform sat across the new road's entry point. This left 11 stations, two on the north leg of the loop and three on each other leg.

This page was last edited on 16 April 2018, at 19:08 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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