An artist's rendering for the planned reconstruction of the Wilson Red Line station, looking northwest at Wilson and Broadway.
Wilson Station Reconstruction
The $203 million Wilson Station Reconstruction project will be one of the largest CTA ‘L’ station projects in the agency’s history.
The planned reconstruction of the Wilson Red Line station is slated to begin in mid-2013, and will replace the badly deteriorated station that was built in 1923. The completely rebuilt, modern and accessible station will serve as a new transfer point between Red and Purple Express service and also serve as an anchor for revitalization and economic development in the Uptown neighborhood.
This $203 million Wilson Reconstruction project will involve more than just the rebuilding of a stationhouse, project work will also include constructions of two new auxiliary entrances—one on Wilson and second entrance at Sunnyside; dual platforms to allow transfers between Red and Purple Line service; significant track and structural work; and the restoration of the 1923 stationhouse facade and former clock tower (at the corner of Wilson/Broadway) to make it a viable space for future retail or business development.
On this page:
What will the new station look like?
The following are renderings of what the proposed Wilson station will look like and how we plan to restore the 1923 stationhouse facade to its original appearance.
What improvements will I see with the new Wilson station?
The new station design features contemporary architecture including steel framed, translucent canopies and a striking, glass-enclosed entrance that will serve as the main station entrance on the south side of Wilson Avenue. Although project plans have not yet been finalized, the current scope of work includes:
Service Transfer Point: the new station will feature two island platforms to allow convenient cross-platform transfers between Red Line and Purple Line Express service – making Wilson the only transfer station between the Howard and Belmont stations.
Improved Access: three station entrances/exits will be available to improve customer convenience and to capture more riders:
- Main Entrance: south side of Wilson Avenue
- Auxiliary Entrance: north side of Wilson Avenue
- Auxiliary Entrance: at Sunnyside Avenue
Accessibility for Customers with Disabilities: the new stationhouse will be accessible to customers with disabilities with the addition of elevators serving the two platforms and other ADA compliant features such as Braille signage and a wheelchair accessible fare gate. The Sunnyside auxiliary entrance will also be accessible to customers with disabilities with ADA-compliant ramps leading from the station entrance to the platforms.
Modern Features: to improve customer convenience, other modern station amenities that will be new or improved upon with the rebuilt station include:
- Wider stairwells
- New escalators
- Additional turnstiles
- New lighting
- New signage, including Braille
- Additional bike parking
- Modern steel framed, translucent canopies
Enhanced Neighborhood Presence: in addition to restoring the terra cotta exterior of the 1923 stationhouse and building a new stationhouse, work will also be performed to better the pedestrian environment on Broadway and Wilson with the removal of some ‘L’ structure support columns from both the street and sidewalk.
Safer and More Reliable Service: to better improve the reliability of service and improve travel times, a significant amount of work will be performed on infrastructure and non-customer facing components such as:
- Replacement of track and viaducts through the station area
- Upgrades to the signaling system
- New elevated support structure
- Removal of all support columns currently located in the street on Wilson and Broadway
- Removal of many support columns currently located on sidewalks along Broadway
How will this project affect my commute?
The Wilson station will remain open throughout the construction project. However, as with any major construction project, changes in service can be expected, details of which will be made available in the future on this web page and publicized via notices and fliers ahead of time.
During the project, CTA will make every effort to minimize impacts to customers, including scheduling work that will impact service to overnight or weekends only.
After the project is complete, passengers will be able to access both Red Line and Purple Line Express trains at the Wilson transfer station. This will help speed commutes for passengers and provide more travel choices.
What is the timeline for project work?
We expect to issue a notice to proceed to the contractor in mid-2013. Once this notice is issued, project work is currently scheduled to occur over a 33-month period.
How is this project being funded?
More than 80 percent ($170 million) of the $203 million project funding comes from the Illinois Jobs Now! program, with the remaining funding provided by the Federal Transit Administration and tax-increment financing.
The Wilson Station Reconstruction project is part of CTA’s Red Ahead program, a $1 billion comprehensive initiative to maintain, modernize and expand the Red Line – Chicago’s most-traveled rail line. State funding supports much of the $1 billion Red Ahead investment. Collectively, these projects are part of Mayor Emanuel’s Building a New Chicago program, which is updating infrastructure that's critical to the city, and includes improvements that will help ensure that CTA continues to serve customers as effectively as possible.
October 2012 Open House
CTA hosted an open house meeting to allow customers and community members an opportunity to view renderings of the proposed Wilson Reconstruction Project, ask questions and submit comments and feedback. Input received will be used to help guide us in finalizing plans for the new station. This meeting was held on October 11, 2012 at Harry S. Truman College.
The complete set of renderings and boards on display during this open house meeting are now available:
Wilson Reconstruction Project Display Boards
DBE Pre-proposal Meetings
The Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) Wilson Station Reconstruction Project will provide station improvement contracting opportunities for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE).
See this flyer (.pdf) for more information.
Meetings will be held on the following dates:
- Wednesday, May 1st 2pm to 4pm at:
567 W. Lake Street, Chicago, IL
- Wednesday, May 8th 9am to 11am at:
Chicago Urban League
4510 South Michigan Avenue
1st Floor Main Conference Room
- Wednesday, May 15th 9am to 1pm at:
1145 W Wilson Ave
Main Building, Room 1176
Who can I contact with questions or comments?
If you were unable to attend the open house meeting, you can still contact us with any comments or feedback on the station renderings via the following:
Chicago Transit Authority
Attn: Wilson Transfer Station Project
567 W. Lake Street
Chicago, IL 60661-1465