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Photograph: David Wilson/flickrRiders board the 72 bus at North Avenue and Clark Street, June 14, 1967.    by  davidwilson1949 
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Photograph: David Wilson/flickrAn "L" train pulls into the State/Van Buren Loop station, before it was the Harold Washington Library stop.    by  davidwilson1949 
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Photograph: CTA web/FlickrPedestrians stand outside of the 58th stop on the South Side "L" in 1946. This early station building was built in the 1890s.    by  cta web 
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Photograph: CTA web/FlickrOn a late winter in 1962, "L" riders exit a Loop-bound Ravenswood "B" train at Chicago. Today, this would be a Brown Line train.    by  cta web 
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Photograph: CTA web/FlickrThis view, westward on Lake from Wabash, shows construction of the first leg of the Loop Elevated in 1895 which stills stands today.    by  cta web 
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Photograph: CTA web/FlickrNorth Chicago Street Railway car 880 is led by two horses in this photo on Clark Street. The car says “Fullerton Av and Halsted St.”    by  cta web 
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Photograph: CTA web/FlickrIn this undated photo, an early, electric Chicago City Railway Co. streetcar poses with employees on a snowy day.     by  cta web 
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Photograph: David Wilson/flickrBack in 1968, you could open the windows on a CTA train, as commuters do here at Wabash Avenue and Harrison Street.    by  davidwilson1949 
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Photograph: CTA web/FlickrIn 1938, Shirley Temple visited Chicago and received a special 40-mile tour of Chicago via the elevated lines.    by  cta web 
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Photograph: CTA web/FlickrA man looks at a poster on a Loop train platform during World War II that encourages people to take the 'L' instead of driving.    by  cta web 
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Photograph: CTA web/FlickrThree train cars pass over the Chicago River on the Lake Street Bridge.    by  cta web 
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Photograph: CTA web/FlickrCTA workers silkscreen a bus “roller curtain” at the old Skokie shops facility in 1954.    by  cta web 
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Photograph: CTA web/FlickrService to Niles Center begins in 1925—long before it was the Yellow Line, a.k.a. the "Skokie Swift."    by  cta web 
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Photograph: David Wilson/flickrFolks get off the Skokie Swift at the Dempster Street terminus.    by  davidwilson1949 
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Photograph: David Wilson/flickrA CTA No. 56 bus rides along Madison Street at the Chicago River on July 8, 1968.    by  davidwilson1949 
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Photograph: David Wilson/flickrLight bulbs line the ceiling in an old CTA train interior.    by  davidwilson1949 
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Photograph: David Wilson/flickrA train carries on through the snow at the Madison/Wells "L" stop on January 6, 1968.    by  davidwilson1949 
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Photograph: CTA web/FlickrThe "Free Santa Claus Bus" offers gratis trips up State Street in mid-December, 1973.    by  cta web 
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Photograph: David Wilson/flickrA CTA 52 bus heads up at California Avenue past a Walgreens at North Avenue in March, 1969.    by  davidwilson1949 
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Photograph: CTA web/FlickrIn this aerial photo, you can see the old Logan Square elevated terminal on what once was known as the Metropolitan 'L', 1968.    by  cta web 
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Photograph: David Wilson/flickrA street view of the CTA Wilson stop from a gas station. Note the absence of Target and Sonic.    by  davidwilson1949 
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Photograph: David Wilson/flickrA bridge is prepped for installment at Cermak Road and Wentworth Avenue, September 22, 1968.    by  davidwilson1949 
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Photograph: David Wilson/flickrA CTA bus and cars navigate a flooded viaduct at State Street and Roosevelt Road during torrential rains on June 10, 1967.
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Photograph: CTA web/FlickrA streetcar on Milwaukee Avenue has just passed the Portage Theater, 1925.    by  cta web 
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Photograph: CTA web/FlickrA streetcar rides on trestle over the construction of the Chicago stop of the State Street Subway on April 11, 1941.    by  cta web 
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Photograph: CTA web/FlickrThe Market Street terminal (now Wacker Drive) in front of the Civic Opera Building.    by  cta web 
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Photograph: CTA web/FlickrA CTA No. 87 to 87th and Western picks up students at the Chicago Vocational High School (now the Chicago Vocational Career Academy) in 1967.    by  cta web 
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Photograph: CTA web/FlickrA No. 40 O'Hare Express heads down the highway from the airport before the Blue Line extension from Logan Square to O'Hare was completed.    by  cta web 
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Photograph: CTA web/FlickrA steel subway train stops at Clark/Division on an "inspection trip" before the State Street Subway (now the Red Line) opened in April 1943.    by  cta web 

Historic photos of Chicago trains and buses

Take a ride back in time on the green and cream CTA buses, trains, trolleys (and horses!) from Chicago's public transportation past

By Martha Williams and Zach Long

RECOMMENDED: Chicago transit guide

The CTA took over operation of the city's public transportation system from the Chicago Rapid Transit Company in 1947, giving residents a new abbreviation to gripe about for years to come. But as much as we complain about station closures, late buses and Ventra fiascos, it's pretty incredible that a system this large runs at all. Even more impressive is the fact that the El has been ferrying people to homes, offices and restaurants since 1892. We looked through the CTA's photographic archives and picked out some of the best historic images of Chicago's ever-changing fleet of trains and buses.


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