6000-series cars on a test trip at Quincy

Customer appreciation event

Photo: Heritage Fleet cars 6711-6712 on a test trip stops at Quincy to pose for a photo between regular services running on Saturday, September 21, 2019.

We want to say "thank you" by sharing a bit of Chicago history... Take a ride with us on our 6000-series cars.

A customer appreciation day

On October 1, 1947, CTA became an operating entity, taking on the operations of the Chicago Rapid Transit Company (the 'L' system) and the Chicago Surface Lines (the streetcar system).

Our service isn’t complete without our riders: You allow us to get you to work, school & many obligations that shape your day and we're proud to be the people who do it.

To help us say "thank you," we’re holding a Customer Appreciation Day, featuring an historic ride around the Loop ‘L’ aboard our Heritage 6000-series railcars, the ones many of you will remember from your childhood!

During the late morning and early afternoon on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, we plan to be offering rides on our historic 6000-series cars (between 11am and 2pm).

Follow our Twitter account for updates, such as if we extend this time.

It'll be an historic event, too: This is the first time these two cars will host the public in Chicago since 1992.

The event will begin with several, limited for several ticketed trips for those who've signed up (sorry, registration is closed as these trips have filled up!). However, afterward, we also plan to run the train a few more times around the Loop for anyone to enjoy, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Jump to event info

Car history

Retired from regular service at the end of 1992 and briefly retained for historical purposes cars 6711-6712 to The National Museum of Transportation in Kirkland, MO (near St. Louis).

The 6000-series represented a total departure in rapid transit car design for Chicago and the first new cars ordered by CTA after it took over the 'L'. The older and heavier wood and steel designs of the 1890s-1920s gave way to lightweight cars with all-electric propulsion and braking, whose technology was first developed for PCC streetcars in the 1930s.

Dual-paneled folding “blinker” doors were placed along the sides of each unit instead of at the ends for more efficient movement in and out of the cars. The first 200 cars were the beginning of a modernization process intended to remove from service the remaining turn-of-the century wooden units still in use, but beginning with car 6201, the remaining 6000s—including 6711-6712—were built using motors, trucks, controls, and body components salvaged from PCC streetcars.

In 2017, these two cars were brought back from the museum and our Heritage Fleet volunteers have been lovingly and meticulously working to bring them to operating condition so we can share them with you.

Learn more about these cars and their unique history here.

The big event

We'll start the day by offering rides to ticketed groups of people. Collect your tickets at the will-call table on the Washington side of Washington/Wabash and you'll be directed where to wait for the train. Each group will get one ride around the Loop 'L'.

After several ticketed trips around the Loop are finished, we plan to run the train for all to enjoy on a "first-come, first-served" basis from the station, from approximately 12:30pm to 2pm. (Each trip takes about 15 minutes.)

Sorry! The ticketed trip groups have filled up so please join us for the public portion of the event at 12:30-2pm.

Where do I pick up my tickets?

If you got an e-mail telling you you're in for the ticketed groups, come to the will-call table at the Washington/Wabash mezzanine (enter from the north side of the station, from the stairs nearest the intersection of Washington & Wabash and look for staff in the area before the turnstiles, or, if arriving by elevated train, exit the station toward Washington).

Please arrive to pick up your ticket at least 30 minutes before your scheduled departure (the e-mail you receive to confirm you're on the trip will prescribe a recommended arrival time), so we have time to check everyone in and give you your tickets before it’s time to go up to the platform area.

Note that tickets allow you to ride during a specific, ticketed group's trip around the Loop--you'll need a farecard to enter/re-enter turnstiles for access to the 'L' system.

Where will the train board?

The train will board at the south end of the Inner Loop platform at Washington/Wabash. Look for information or follow staff instructions on where to board.

Is seating assured?

Because of the popularity of these trips (though we did try to size each trip for around as much seating space as there is in the cars) we aren’t able to guarantee a seat for everyone. Please be kind and offer your seat to someone who is less able to stand if asked (or if you spot someone who seems like they might really like to have a seat).

Is the train wheelchair accessible?

Unfortunately, this train was built in the 1950s, before wheelchair spaces and securement positions inside trains were standard or required of new train cars and has narrower doorways that were common on streetcars and the 'L' in the 50s and 60s.

What if something changes?

Check back at transitchicago.com/appreciation for details on the day of the event in case anything changes.