Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: metraRI, JamesT4

  by Tadman
I have a chance to move my office and warehouse to the end of the 54/Cermak Blue line branch. Does anybody know anything about this area, and riding the trains out there? Is the area and the trains around there safe? I know there are some places around Chicago that it's not wise to be messing around on or near trains, and I don't want to waste my time looking at a bad area.

  by EricL
Well, let's see. The area around the terminal (the town of Cicero) isn't particularly bad. You know, it's no Lincoln Park or anything, but I think it's safe there in the daytime. I probably wouldn't be out taking a stroll at 10 at night, but hey. The L stations are all brand new and well-lit, for what that's worth.

Much of the area surrounding the Cermak branch is residential, and it runs through primarily Hispanic neighborhoods. There are a lot of old houses and buildings along the inner-city portion of the route. When you start getting closer to the terminal, there is more of an economy to speak of - grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, video places, and the like. Pretty typical 'inner-suburban' fare. North Riverside Mall is also relatively close by, although the train doesn't get that far.

Transporation wise, the el runs daily from 4am to 1am with trains running every 15-30 minutes. CTA and Pace have bus routes on most of the major roads. 54/Cermak isn't particularly convenient to any expressways. The Eisenhower is the closest east-west highway. For north-south, the Tri-State is usually too far out of the way to even bother unless you're going northwest, so you might be stuck using Harlem or (ugh:) Cicero.

  by Tadman
Quick update:
After working last sunday on a terribly-behind schedule project until 5am just north of the tracks, I will not be riding the 54/Cermak train. The end of line is in a fine neighborhood (cicero) but the crossing with Kostner, where I was working, is ROUGH. I was advised by my contact at the facility to pull my car inside at dusk, shut the overhead doors, and cut the power to them in case uninvited guests sneak inside. A hooker was continually trying to bum cigarettes from my work crew.

  by ctaman34
that area you are talkingabout is a good area

and certain areas of chicago are gehtto

  by bellstbarn
How many grade crossings are on this branch to 54/Cermak?

  by doepack
The western end of the Blue line's Cermak branch has 11 grade crossings. Traveling westward from the last elevated station at Pulaski, the tracks begin a three-block descent onto the grade segment of the route, and it reaches this point at its first grade level crossing at Kildare, the eastern entrance of the Kostner station. Continuing west, the remaining grade crossings are located at:

Kilbourn (Chicago)
47th Ave. (Cicero)
47th Ct.
Cicero (station)
49th Ave (west exit for Cicero)
50th Ave.
51st Ave.
Laramie Ave (east entrance/exit for 54/Cermak terminal)
54th Ave.

  by bellstbarn
Many thanks, doepack, for your thorough answer. I have seldom visited Chicago, but one of my memories is riding the Lake Street Line (1962?) when trolley poles were raised at some point westbound. Am I correct in my suspicion that the Garfield Park branch at one time used overhead wire instead of third rail?

  by doepack
I'm not sure about that, and if it did, that would definitely be before my time. However, I recommend that you pay a visit to www.chicago-l.org, an excellent reference site that has TONS of historical information about Chicago's rapid transit system; I'm pretty sure they'll have the answer...

  by Tadman
also the book "CTA at 45" by George Krambles was my bible before the internet arrived. Don't know where to get one - Amazon? - other than my living room bookshelf.
  by aline1969
I missed by one day...grrr... being from Boston...lol. How is this new line doing?