CTA RAILFAN TIPS

CTA has officially dropped the use of its traditional line names in favor of the new color names. Roller signs on the cars traditionally have indicated the route name, without indicating the actual direction. But new roller signs now simply indicate the color and actual destination.

Included are lists of stations, type of line (elevated, subway, etc.) and other points of interest. Also included are photos from each line.

(Click on a line for further information.)

All lines are double track, except for four tracks between Armitage Ave. and Howard St., used by the Red, Brown, and Purple Lines.


CTA RAPID TRANSIT - GENERAL FACTS

Unlike in some other cities, all rapid transit lines in Chicago were built to the same specifications, and all equipment is compatible on all lines.


CTA RAIL RADIO COMMUNICATION

Radio communication involving CTA rapid transit trains is handled using the following frequencies:

470.9875 Emergency
471.0375 Blue Line
471.0625 Green, Orange, Pink Lines
471.0875 Brown, Purple, Yellow Lines
471.1125 Red Line

CTA "TEN" CODES

CTA uses some of the traditional police "ten" codes for radio communication, and has many "ten" codes of its own.


CTA RAIL RUN NUMBERS

CTA's "Run Numbers" are motormen's shift numbers, and are grouped by line and terminals as follows:

000's - Green Line - Harlem/Lake
100's - Blue Line - O'Hare
200's - Blue Line - Forest Park
300's - Pink Line - 54th/Cermak
400's - Brown Line - Kimball
500's - Purple Line - Howard
590's - Yellow Line - Howard
600's - Green Line - Ashland/63rd
700's - Orange Line - Midway
800's - Red Line - Howard
900's - Red Line - 95th/Dan Ryan

Run Numbers are displayed using indicators at the front of the train, and now are periodically announced to passengers on trains. Trains are also identified by Run Number in radio communications.

CTA RAIL RUN NUMBERS OF THE PAST

In the early days of CTA, two sets of run numbers existed, one set for the west side and another set for the north and south sides, identified by the following lines, with present color line names in parentheses:

000's - Lake (Green Line)
100's - Logan Square/Humboldt Park (Blue Line)
200's - Garfield Park (Blue Line)
300's - Douglas (Pink Line)

000's - Jackson Park (Green Line)
100's - Englewood/Normal Park (Green Line)
200's - Kenwood/Stock Yards (abandoned)
300's - Howard (Red Line)
400's - Ravenswood (Brown Line)
500's - Evanston (Purple Line)

Around 1958, the Jackson Park, Englewood, and Howard run numbers were changed to the 600's, 700's, and 800's. In those days, operating schedules were hand written, using blueprint duplication. Reportedly the new run number series were selected based on which hand written numbers could most easily be changed to which other numbers. A 1 could be changed to a 7 by adding a horizontal line on top, and a 3 could easily be changed to an 8. And a 6 or a 60 could be added to the 1 or 2 digit numbers on the Jackson Park line.

The 900's were added for the Dan Ryan line in 1969. And in 1993, the Jackson Park line received numbers beginning in the 650's, when the 700's were adopted for the newly opened Orange Line to Midway Airport. But after the Green Line reopened in 1996, the old 61st St. terminal was discontinued, with Jackson Park runs deadheaded from the Ashland/63rd terminal on the Englewood branch.