Construction formally begins on $203 million CTA Wilson Red Line station

Though demolition for the new CTA Wilson Red Line station began in October, today was the official groundbreaking, presided over by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Under the $203 million project, the station will feature two island platforms to allow cross-platform transfers between Red Line and Purple Line Express service – making Wilson the only transfer station between the Howard and Belmont stations. More from the news release:

When the Wilson project is complete in late 2017, riders will have a modern, spacious and more accessible station that will be a new transfer point for Red and Purple Line trains. The project will also relocate and reconstruct 2,200 feet of elevated tracks, signals and supporting infrastructure, eliminating slow zones and improving service reliability for customers, as well as providing a more pleasing street environment on Wilson Avenue and Broadway Street in the heart of Uptown.

The project, expected to generate more than 550 construction jobs, is the latest of several large-scale CTA improvements planned under Mayor Emanuel’s leadership.

The new Wilson Station will feature contemporary architecture, including steel-framed, translucent canopies and a historic restoration of the 1923 stationhouse. There will be three entrance/exits to the station, including the accessible main station entrance on the south side of Wilson Avenue, one auxiliary entry/exit on the north side of Wilson Avenue and an auxiliary entrance on Sunnyside Avenue, which will have ADA-compliant ramps.

Find more details on the CTA website.

View of the new platform.

View of the new platform.

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  • So, 220 feet of slow zones will disappear & 10,000 feet of slow zones will return north of there.
    Plus, there will still be the redundant Lawrence station, only a 1/4th mile from Wilson.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    No, 2200 feet. Not 220.

  • What rail line used to run from the west side of the Wilson stop, down to grade level past the graveyard, and on south (past Wrigley, and across Clark & Addison) from there? I seem to recall making connections when I was a kid up there from the main upper tracks to the ones heading for street level. Of course, I remember when the buses ran on rails with power from over-head wiring ... was this a different transit system that just happened to go elevated at Wilson?

  • In reply to Brendan Tripp:

    That was the Milwaukee Road Seminary Ave. branch, which was freight only. The Milwaukee Road delivered coal cars to the CTA which then brought them after midnight to the Lill Coal yard at Berwyn/Broadway, where the Jewel is now.
    There was never passenger service there & no buses ran on rails, those were streetcars.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Thanks for the info. I find vestiges of former parts of the system fascinating.

    My parents grew up with streetcars and in later life tended to catch themselves referring to a bus as a streetcar.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    Here is a little more history.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    There was passenger service long ago, it was originally the Evanston Branch of the Milwaukee Road before the "L" was even built.

    After the Northwestern Elevated was built up to Wilson, it was extended further with a ramp down and onto the RR line; and for a while the "L" trains ran in common with steam-drawn Milwaukee Road trains:

  • In reply to Brendan Tripp:

    A lot of the relics that will be removed as part of this project had to do with the Buena connection to the Milwaukee Road, the North Shore Line, and the Wilson Shops (which burned shortly after the work was transferred to Howard).

    There were trolley buses on Montrose and Lawrence, and while they used the overhead wires, they were on rubber tires. As Scooter points out, there were once streetcars, but they were phased out by the early 1950s, and there never was any connection between the surface (streetcars or trolley buses) and elevated systems.

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