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: JamesT4, metraRI

  by MACTRAXX
 
Everyone: With the 40th anniversary of my first Chicago visit passing I wanted to mention and ask about the subject
of Chicago and vicinity street and transit maps - I offer these thoughts to begin: Street Maps

When I first visited Chicago I obtained a copy of the Standard Oil Company Chicago Street Map...I studied that map intently
and it helped (along with learning some rules on the City's layout such as eight long blocks equalling one mile) get me to
learn the City and nearby suburban region's layout...As of 1973 those maps were still FREE and even when gas stations began
charging a nominal price (50 cents to $1) for them later on in the 70s they were still worth it...

The Standard Oil Map showed somewhat accurately all the railroads and even the CTA rapid transit lines which was another
reason that I always liked them and had interesting details such as the length in feet of O'Hare Airport's runways listed...

Over time I have learned of the Chicago Tribune and AAA map series for regional and City street maps and I want to ask all:
What are your favorite and most reliable Chicago street maps and why? Are their others that offer good detail such as
showing railroads (a must in my opinion) and CTA RT lines also?

What company puts out the best Chicago street atlases?
That is something that I do NOT know about and I have never obtained one...

CTA Transit Maps:
In 1973 the CTA was still issuing maps printed in just one color-the purple June 1973 map was in effect on my first visit...

In 1976 the CTA issued its first Downtown Transit Map and began to use color on their maps - and when the RTA got involved
beginning in 1977 the CTA issued its first transit maps color-coding the rapid transit lines and in 1978 the RTA issued it first
regional transit map showing the entire Chicagoland region on one map...From that point on the CTA issued a more readable
and colorful map and the RTA issued more and improved on their regional transit maps. I also remember that there were
once maps for localized services like Nortran at one point...

I am a folded map collector and I keep what I collect with the primary goal of being able to use and refer to them
when it is necessary rather then just keeping them in sleeves mint as some other collectors do...

MACTRAXX
  by doepack
 
MACTRAXX wrote:In 1976 the CTA issued its first Downtown Transit Map and began to use color on their maps - and when the RTA got involved
beginning in 1977 the CTA issued its first transit maps color-coding the rapid transit lines and in 1978 the RTA issued it first
regional transit map showing the entire Chicagoland region on one map
This was my favorite map growing up, and I was lucky enough to reacquire this map at a train show recently. It gave me my first introduction to Chicago's commuter rail network, and it was colorful, with the city detail on one side and the suburban detail on the other, with the latter on a black background. In a style soon to become standard, the rapid transit lines were shown in colors that would become their official names about a decade later, and commuter rail was shown in green, on both sides (though in larger print on the "suburban" side). It was truly a transit-oriented map; not much detail was given to expressways; they were present, but only in a landmark sort of way, and other streets/thoroughfares that had no bus service weren't included. Nowadays, it pales in comparison to modern standards of course, but it was a state of the art map at the time...
  by Tadman
 
Great post, guys. I remember as a kid I would spend hours looking at a map, trying to get my mind around this colossal city and all that goes on in it.
  by fauxcelt
 
I remember those Standard Oil Company Chicago Street Maps and I used to have one of my own. This map fell apart many years ago because I wore it out.

Laurence
  by F40CFan
 
I might still have one tucked away in a drawer for safe keeping. I'll have to look now. They were the best.
  by Pacific 2-3-1
 
The Standard Oil Company of Indiana (since swallowed up by BP) city street maps were made by then local company Rand McNally, which to me, has always been the "gold standard" of map publishers. Plus, they included railroads. Not every gas station's mapmaker did, so they were always my favorite.
  by fauxcelt
 
We have been using Rand McNally Road Atlases for most of my life and we still use the current Atlas whenever we take a trip.

Laurence