Once in a decade opportunity: ride the ‘L’ in a private, chartered tour


A photo from the Soul of Chicago Express tour in 2006. 

There are only a few spots left (just a bit more than 10) on the Central Electric Railfan’s Association “inspection tour” of the Chicago Transit Authority’s ‘L’ system on 2200-series and 5000-series cars on Sunday, November 18. From CERA’s website:

This event will involve a morning enjoying the CTA 2200-series cars on routes they initially served in 1969, and will finish with a tour via the 5000-series ‘L’ cars, now in service on CTA’s Pink and Green Lines.

We will visit parts of the Blue, Pink, Green, Orange, Red and Yellow Lines, visiting various stations for photo opportunities and affording a chance to enjoy a ride on both the system’s oldest and newest train cars for a compare-and-contrast event not been done in recent memory.

CTA has confirmed that the train will pick us up at Jefferson Park on the Blue Line, a break at about 2:30 PM where you’ll be able to go get a bite to eat downtown, and more fun on the train and visiting the CTA’s newest stations at Oakton and Morgan, wrapping up at about 5:30 PM at Morgan/Lake (with access to the ‘L’ system, of course, to return to Jefferson Park).

Tickets are $42 each. If you’re interested, please contact (email preferred) charter organizer Tony Coppoletta immediately to confirm availability: tony@coppoletta.net / 312-685-2446. You will be able to pay in person when you check in at Jefferson Park. Graham Garfield of Chicago-L.org is helping to host this charter, and I will be assisting. This will be my third chartered tour and they provide a unique opportunity to explore the trains and stations, chat with other train enthusiasts, and take tons of photos that at other times might seem weird to fellow passengers.


If not for the Soul of Chicago Express chartered tour in 2006, I’d probably have never visited the 63rd/Ashland Green Line station in Englewood to see its unique design characteristics. 

Since this is a chartered tour, the route doesn’t have to follow what normal, revenue service trains take. This tour will use the no-longer-used incline between Racine and Illinois Medical District Blue Line stations.

Sunday, November 18, 2012
1030 to ~1730 hours
Time for a lunch break, in the Loop, will be made available.

Meeting location: Jefferson Park (CTA Blue Line station)
Check-in will begin at 0945 hours (receive tickets there, check-in closes after 1015, as the train departs at 1030)

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The Long March


Additional reporting and bridge photo by Michael Burton
All other photos by Travis Taylor

Revolution Brewing owner Josh Deth passes out black military-style caps with red six-pointed Chicago stars to the forty people who’ve showed up at his brewpub on this gorgeous June morning for the Communist-themed Long March. This eight-mile hike from Logan Square to Comiskey Park is named after the 8,000-mile retreat of the Chinese Red Army’s led by Mao Zedong in 1934 from Chiang Kai-Shek’s nationalist forces.

After brunch and glasses of pink, hibiscus-infused Rosa beer our parade steps off southeast on Milwaukee Avenue, led by march organizer and pedestrian activist Michael Burton. I’m walking near the front of the pack holding aloft a Chicago flag, wearing a t-shirt with the image of a walk signal and the words, “Walking is NOT a crime.” The shirt is a souvenir from a 2004 Pedestrian Critical Mass demonstration that Burton organized in response to a proposed crackdown by the city’s Traffic Management Authority on downtown jaywalkers. I soon hand off the flag to a more photogenic woman with pink hair wearing knee boots and hot pants.

Continue reading The Long March

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