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CTA Closes Madison/Wabash Loop Stop; South Shore Line Adding New Express Trains

CHICAGO (CBS) -- More changes begin Monday for riders of the CTA and South Shore Line.

The CTA permanently closed its Madison/Wabash 'L' stop overnight. The station, built in 1896, was one of the oldest on the CTA elevated system.

After 11 years of discussion and planning, demolition of the 118-year-old 'L' stop is the first step toward replacing it with a state-of-the-art station on Wabash between Madison and Washington.

Once the old station is gone, construction on the new $75 million Washington/Wabash station can begin. The new stop also will replace the Randolph/Wabash stop, which remains open until construction is complete, expected late next year.

Preliminary design work for the new, fully-accessible station began in 2003.

The change will leave each of the four sides of the Loop with two 'L' stops.


The 1896 Madison/Wabash station house on the inner side of the Loop is within the Jewelers' Row Historical District and was listed last year by the architectural advocacy group Preservation Chicago as one of Chicago's seven most endangered buildings. It has not been used as a station since the 1930s and most recently housed offices of the CTA's engineering department.

Federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funding is paying for the new station.

This is also the first day of faster service on the South Shore Line. It is running a "Sunrise Express" from South Bend to Chicago that will make only two intermediate stops, at Dune Park and East Chicago. A companion St. Joe Valley Limited will make the return trip in the afternoon.

Both trains will travel the 90 miles in less than two hours, the fastest trains on the South Shore in more than 40 years. The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, which owns the South Shore, is committing itself only to a one-year experiment, but says its eventual goal is to decrease running time to 90 minutes. First it must add double track on portions of its line and eliminate trains in the streets of Michigan City, through which trains of the South Shore and its predecessor have run since the line was built in 1908.

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