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. 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.
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.
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
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. 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.
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
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. 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.
The first two stations to be rebuilt—Kedzie and Rockwell—reopened on August 16, 2006. 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. The project was completed on December 31, 2009.
|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|
|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|
|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
At Clark/Lake, Brown Line trains head back to Merchandise Mart, then make all stops in reverse order to Kimball.
- ↑ http://www.transitchicago.com/assets/1/ridership_reports/2011-9.pdf Monthly Ridership Report September 2011
- ↑ Lee v. Chicago Transit Authority, 152 Ill.2d 432, 605 N.E.2d 493 (1992).
- ↑ Press Release - Eight Car Service to Begin on Brown Line. transitchicago.com.
- ↑ Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project. ctabrownline.com
- ↑ http://www.chicago-l.org/operations/lines/brown.html
- ↑ Rockwell station. ctabrownline.com
- ↑ http://www.transitchicago.com/news/default.aspx?Month=&Year=&Category=2&ArticleId=2437
- ↑ http://www.ctabrownline.com
- About the Brown Line at Countdown to a New Brown - official CTA site
- Brown Line at Chicago-'L'.org
- Train schedules at CTA official site