Observations on an Orange Line excursion

Longtime readers (and perhaps more casual ones) know that I’m primarily a
Red Line commuter, just like 40% of all CTA rail riders. I live less
than two blocks from the Morse stop at the north end and the Red Line
spits me out right near my office building downtown.

So it’s nice to travel on other rail lines occasionally, as I did
heading to Midway this past weekend. I like flying out of Midway more
than O’Hare, and the rail trip is actually rather placid compared to the
Red Line.

First, there’s view the view of the Loop from the “second floor.” There
are a number of distinctive, historic buildings to enjoy on your way
south. After heading south from Roosevelt, you notice old and new
apartment and condo buildings hugging both sides of the tracks.

Next on the west the tracks curve around the modern new Chicago Police
District 1 station at 1702 S. State Street, and cross over the Red Line
as it emerges from the subway.

The Orange Line next curves past a riverside park and continues on its
by the river and other rail track. With the slow zones now gone on the
Orange Line tracks, the train picks up speed, certainly traveling faster
than the Red Line ever does.

The housing stock is newer on the Southwest Side, with plenty of matching blond brick three-flats, bungalows and ranch houses.

Finally, the Orange tracks bend toward Midway. And make sure you bring your walking shoes. A long walk to the terminal awaits.

my return trip north into the city, I got a stark reminder of my usual
Red Line commute: A 30-year-old guy already reeking of pot stepped
between the cars and first urinated to the tracks below. Then he
unsheathed a doobie took a few hits. I was watching the whole time, and
he noticed. When he returned to the Hobo Corner, he just gave me a
hands-up shrug.


Leave a comment
  • It's not a long walk to the terminal from the Midway station, it's an obscenely long hike due to the CTA's incompetence of putting the station east of the rail yard instead of west of the rail yard.
    All because some doofus decided that there shouldn't be a curve south of the station if & when the line is extended to Ford City, which may happen around 2199!
    I believe it's at least an extra 500 feet, due to various turns in the corridors.

  • "And make sure you bring your walking shoes. A long walk to the terminal awaits."


    It was a heck of a lot longer walk when the old terminal was on the other side of Cicero and there was the about three block long covered bridge walkway between the station and the terminal.

    One could complain that to go from the station to the new terminal, one has to walk through the parking garage, including crossing ramps on which cars speed and do not yield the right of way. However, complaining about the distance...

    For that matter, the Helmut Jahn station is a good distance from any check in desk at O'Hare.

    The things I noticed the first time I took it (about 1994)...
    ...after having been a Dan Ryan rider, it seemed strange that the Orange Line took the same route, but didn't after Clark/18th.

    ...and also, based on the above, that, to put it politically correctly, the rider demographic was different.

  • In reply to jack:

    I'm afraid I'm gonna have to disagree, I've worked out of Midway for 13 years and it used to take me just over 10 minutes to get to the old terminal, get through security and check in for a trip. Now (security withstanding) it takes me 10 minutes just to get to the terminal. Luckily I can check in for a trip on a computer upstairs. But I agree, it's not that long of a walk...

  • If you look south from the Pulaski station, there's a strip mall restaurant named China Ho. Sorry, I am 12, it makes me laugh.

Leave a comment