L is for... the L (135/365)

by Lee Santiva May. 15, 2019 168 views
Chicago "L"  in the Loop, looking west on Randolph Street

Chicago "L" in the Loop, looking west on Randolph Street

L is for ... the Chicago “L”.

I am impressed that something as complex as a mass transit network can be referred to by just one letter of the alphabet and everyone knows what is meant.

Chicago's elevated mass transit train network was first built in 1892. At the time the city was expanding rapidly and in 1893 Chicago was about to host the World Exposition so it needed to support mass transportation.

L tracks forming the Loop, black & white

L tracks forming the Loop, black & white

The Loop circuit was constructed in 1897 to form a complete circle around the downtown (at that time). Most of you recognize these images because Chicago's L and the Loop have been featured in many movies and TV shows. The subways weren't built until the 1940's and 1950's.

Brown line L rounding the corner at State and Lake

Brown line L rounding the corner at State and Lake

Unfortunately it is impossible to express the kinestic experience of the L with just photos and text. The trains are very loud with a cacophony of rumbling and screeching, all day and all night. When you are standing or walking on a train platform or bridge, you feel the heavy vibrations in your body. During the day the trains run every 5 minutes. Our hotel was directly next to the L line and even 23 stories above with windows closed we heard the trains very distinctly.

The L crossing the Chicago River on the Lake Street Bridge

The L crossing the Chicago River on the Lake Street Bridge

My husband was impressed with the engineering, particularly the bridges. The Lake Street bridge has two transportation layers - the lower layer for vehicles like cars, buses and trucks and the upper layer for the trains. The incredible engineering feat, however, is the ability for these 125 year old structures to open up in the middle to allow sailboats with tall masts to pass through. I'll post photos of that on the topic day "bridge".

The supporting steel structures of the L, street view

The supporting steel structures of the L, street view

Tourist tip: the best sightseeing value for your money is the one-way ticket for $2.50 on the brown line L. Get on north of downtown and head south to the loop - you'll see the skyline and travel in-between the skyscrapers for an unforgettable experience.

Sources: http://www.architecture.org/learn/resources/buildings-of-chicago/building/the-chicago-l/

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Detlef Schneider 4 months, 1 week ago

Chicago !! Love it !!!+1

4 months, 1 week ago Edited
Heike 4 months, 1 week ago

Great pic, Lee. Love #5!
The L is sometimes mentioned in the V.I. Warshawski thrillers from Sara Paretzky. grinning

4 months, 1 week ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Heike 4 months, 1 week ago

Thanks Heike! I had to be fast, I stopped while crossing the street at a red light to get exactly middle of the road. So I only had seconds to make the capture glad it turned out

4 months, 1 week ago Edited
Camellia 4 months, 1 week ago

Excellent photos, so sharp. Btw did you know there is third level underground. as well?

4 months, 1 week ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Camellia 4 months, 1 week ago

Thank you! I was afraid you might also post an L train photo today. I‘ve only seen three levels of roads but not combined with trains or bridges. There’s 3 levels of roads over at Columbus Drive

4 months, 1 week ago Edited
Camellia Replied to Lee Santiva 4 months, 1 week ago

Correct. Lower Wacker takes one from the south to the north of the city. There is also pedestrian connections from building to building so that one can omit walking in the wet and cold of winter 😉

4 months, 1 week ago Edited
Berckmans Peter 4 months, 1 week ago

Cityscapes,love it.

4 months, 1 week ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Berckmans Peter 4 months, 1 week ago

Thank you! Impossible to get it all in one frame…

4 months, 1 week ago Edited
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