Template:Infobox rail line The Brown Line of the Chicago 'L' rapid transit system, is an Template:Convert route with 19 stations between Albany Park on the north and downtown Chicago. It runs completely above ground and is almost entirely grade-separated. It is CTA's third busiest rail line, with average weekday ridership at 104,909 as of February 2012.[1] The Brown Line runs completely within the city limits of Chicago, Illinois.

The Brown Line operates to the Loop weekdays and Saturdays from about 5am to 12:30am and on Sundays from 7am to midnight. The Brown Line Shuttle service, running only between the northern terminus Kimball and Belmont, runs from about 4am to 5am and about 12:30am to 2:30 am on weekdays and Saturdays, and about 5am to 6am and about midnight to 1am on Sundays. At Belmont, southbound riders can transfer to the 24-hour Red Line.

Before CTA lines were color-coded in 1993, the Brown Line was known as the Ravenswood Route; specifically, the series of stations from Belmont to Kimball were called the Ravenswood branch. Accordingly, the Kimball-Belmont shuttle service was called the Ravenswood Shuttle.

Operation Edit

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The Brown Line starts out in northwest Chicago, at the Kimball and Lawrence Avenue terminal (3400 W. - 4800 N.) in Albany Park, where there is a storage yard and servicing shop for the trains to the east of the passenger station. From there, trains operate over street level tracks between Leland and Eastwood Avenues to Rockwell Street, then ramp up to the elevated structure for the rest of the trip.

The trains on the street-level section are powered by third rail rather than overhead catenary (the technology used by most other U.S. electric-powered at-grade rail systems), a decision that exposes wayward pedestrians to the risk of electrocution. A fatal accident in 1977 involving a severely intoxicated Korean immigrant who attempted to urinate on the third rail at the Kedzie station eventually resulted in a famous Illinois Supreme Court decision in 1992 affirming a verdict of $1.5 million against CTA.[2]

After the Damen station, the route turns south, about one-half block parallel and west of Metra's Union Pacific North railroad line and Ravenswood Avenue to a point south of the Addison station. Here the route turns east again and runs parallel to Roscoe Street past Sheffield Avenue where it once again turns south at Clark Junction to join the four-track North Side elevated line in Lakeview. From just north of Belmont station south to Armitage, Brown and Red Line trains operate side-by-side, with Purple Line Express trains sharing the tracks during weekday rush hours. Brown and Purple Line trains run on the outermost tracks serving five stops, while Red Line trains run on the innermost tracks making only two stops.

South of the Armitage station, Brown and Purple Line trains continue southward towards the Chicago Loop on elevated track which zigzags its way through the neighborhoods of Lincoln Park and Near North Side before stopping at Chicago and Franklin. Running over Franklin, then Wells Street, a stop is made at the Merchandise Mart before crossing the Chicago River on the upper lever of the Wells Street Bridge before joining the Loop Elevated at Lake Street. Operating counterclockwise, Brown Line trains extend around the Loop over the Outer track via Wells-Van Buren-Wabash-Lake, serving all Loop stations, before the return trip back north to the Albany Park terminal.

Operating fleet Edit

Currently, the Brown Line's rolling stock consists of Morrison-Knudsen-built 3200-series rail cars, delivered from 1992 through 1994.

Beginning March 30, 2008, the Brown Line began running eight cars on trains during rush periods, since all of the re-opened or renovated stations have been rebuilt to accommodate eight-car trains.[3] Prior to this, although ridership certainly warranted eight-car trains on the Ravenswood–Brown Line during rush periods, most stations on the line couldn't berth longer than six-car trains. Six cars are standard on the Brown Line during midday. Early morning, late evening, and weekend service is generally provided by four-car trains, although this may vary due to special events.

History Edit

The Northwestern Elevated Railroad opened the Ravenswood branch between the existing main line and Western Avenue in Lincoln Square on May 18, 1907. The route was completed to the Kimball/Lawrence terminal on December 14, 1907. The Ravenswood Line remains basically unchanged since its early days, aside from a few cosmetic upgrades to its stations and elevated structures. The Kimball/Lawrence terminal was completely remodeled and a new bridge over the North Branch of the Chicago River was completed in the 1970s. The Western and Merchandise Mart stations were rebuilt in the 1980s. Prior to the start of the Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project these two stations, along with the Kimball/Lawrence terminal were the only ADA accessible stations on the Brown Line outside of the Loop.

Brown Line Capacity Expansion ProjectEdit

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File:Chicago L Map.svg

On February 20, 2006, the CTA formally broke ground on the Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project in order to repair its aging infrastructure and increase passenger capacity at Brown Line stations.[4] The primary features of the project include:

  • Reconstruction of stations and trackage and make each station ADA compliant
  • Lengthening of platforms to accommodate eight-car trains
  • Modernization of right-of-way between Kimball and Rockwell Avenue
  • Upgrade of traction power equipment and train control systems
  • Installation of a new fiber optic communication network.

Only one station—Merchandise Mart—is not being touched at all because of its 1988 reconstruction and its existing ability to accommodate 8-car trains. Another two stations, Kimball and Western only received small platform extensions and little other work. The other 16 stations were largely or completely rebuilt.[5]

The first two stations to be rebuilt—Kedzie and Rockwell—reopened on August 16, 2006.[6] Following the dedication of the new Wellington station on July 30, 2009, all of the Brown Line stations that were temporarily closed for renovation are now open.[7] The project was completed on December 31, 2009.[8]

Station listingEdit


File:20090503 under Chicago L on Franklin Street.jpg
Brown Line (Ravenswood branch)
Station Location Points of Interest & Notes
Kimball Template:Access icon 20px 4755 N. Kimball Avenue North Park University, Northeastern Illinois University, Northside College Prep, Albany Park Library
Kedzie Template:Access icon 4648 N. Kedzie Avenue Swedish Covenant Hospital, Albany Park, Chicago
Francisco Template:Access icon 4648 N. Francisco Avenue
Rockwell Template:Access icon 4648 N. Rockwell Street Rockwell Street Neighborhood Shops
Western Template:Access icon 4648 N. Western Avenue Lincoln Square, Chicago, Sulzer Regional Library, Old Town School of Folk Music
Damen Template:Access icon 15px 4645 N. Damen Avenue Transfer to Metra trains at Ravenswood.
Ravenswood Closed on August 1, 1949
Montrose Template:Access icon 1817 W. Montrose Avenue Margie's Candies
Irving Park Template:Access icon 1816 W. Irving Park Road
Addison Template:Access icon 1818 W. Addison Street
Paulina Template:Access icon 3410 N. Lincoln Avenue Roscoe Village
Southport Template:Access icon 3411 N. Southport Avenue Music Box Theatre


Brown Line (North Side Main Line)
Station Location Points of Interest & Notes
Belmont Template:Access icon 945 W. Belmont Avenue Lakeview, Briar Street Theater Boystown, The Vic Theatre

Transfer station for Red and Purple Lines

Wellington Template:Access icon 945 W. Wellington Avenue Illinois Masonic Medical Center
Diversey Template:Access icon 943 W. Diversey Avenue Lincoln Park, Elks National Memorial Headquarters Building
Wrightwood Closed August 1, 1949
Fullerton Template:Access icon 943 W. Fullerton Avenue Lincoln Park, DePaul University, Children's Memorial Hospital, St. Josaphat Roman Catholic Church, Biograph Theater

Transfer station for Red and Purple Lines

Webster Closed August 1, 1949
Armitage Template:Access icon 944 W. Armitage Avenue Goose Island Brewery, Lincoln Park Zoo
Willow Willow Street and Sheffield Avenue Closed in May 17, 1942
Halsted Closed August 1, 1949
Larrabee Larrabee Street, Ogden Avenue and North Avenue Closed August 1, 1949
Sedgwick Template:Access icon 1536 N. Sedgwick Street The Second City, Piper's Alley, Old Town, Chicago History Museum, North Avenue Beach, Steppenwolf Theatre Company
Schiller Closed August 1, 1949
Division Closed August 1, 1949
Oak Oak Street and Orleans Street Closed July 31, 1949
Chicago Template:Access icon 301 W. Chicago Avenue Moody Bible Institute, Cabrini–Green, River North Gallery District
Grand Grand Avenue and Franklin Street Closed September 20, 1970
Kinzie Kinzie Street and Wells Street Closed 1921; replaced by Grand
Merchandise Mart Template:Access icon 350 N. Wells Street Merchandise Mart

Transfer station for Purple Line


Brown Line (Loop)
Station Location Points of Interest & Notes
Randolph/Wells 150 N. Wells St. Closed July 17, 1995; replaced by Washington/Wells
Washington/Wells Template:Access icon 15px 100 N. Wells Street Chicago City Hall, Civic Opera House, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Ogilvie Transportation Center

Transfer station for Orange and Pink Lines

Madison/Wells 1 N. Wells St. Closed January 30, 1994; replaced by Washington/Wells
Quincy 15px 220 S. Wells Street Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), Union Station

Transfer station for Metra and Amtrak trains

LaSalle/Van Buren 15px 121 W. Van Buren Street Chicago Board of Trade, Chicago Board Options Exchange

Transfer station for Metra trains LaSalle Street Station

Dearborn/Van Buren Dearborn Street and Van Buren Street Closed 1949
Harold Washington Library-State/Van Buren Template:Access icon 1 W. Van Buren Street Harold Washington Library Center, DePaul University, Robert Morris University, John Marshall Law School, Chicago Bar Association and The Auditorium Building of Roosevelt University

Transfer station for Purple, Orange, and Pink Lines and Red Line via Jackson/State and Blue Line via Jackson/Dearborn

State/Van Buren 400 S. State St. Closed September 2, 1973
Adams/Wabash 201 S. Wabash Avenue Grant Park, Petrillo Music Shell, Buckingham Fountain, Art Institute of Chicago, Orchestra Hall, DePaul University

Transfer station for Orange and Green Lines

Madison/Wabash 2 N. Wabash Avenue Jewelers Row
Washington/Wabash TBD Consolidation of Madison/Wabash and Randolph/Wabash scheduled to open September 2014
Randolph/Wabash 15px 151 N. Wabash Avenue Marshall Field's, Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park

Transfer station for Metra trains and South Shore Line

State/Lake 200 N. State Street Chicago Theatre, Gene Siskel Film Center

Transfer station for Red Line

Clark/Lake Template:Access icon 100 W. Lake Street, Chicago James R. Thompson Center, Richard J. Daley Center

Transfer station for Green, Orange Pink, Purple (weekday rush hours only), and Blue Lines

At Clark/Lake, Brown Line trains head back to Merchandise Mart, then make all stops in reverse order to Kimball.


External links Edit

Template:Chicago Les:Línea Marrón (Metro de Chicago) fr:Ligne brune (Chicago Transit Authority) pt:Linha Castanha (Metro de Chicago) sr:Braon linija (CTA)