CTA celebrates 70 years of service to Chicago

March 6, 2017

Agency plans events, promotions leading up to Oct. 1 anniversary

In 1947, a loaf of bread cost 13 cents, a gallon of gas cost 15 cents, and a new car could be purchased for $1,300. Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers and “Miracle on 34th Street” debuted.

And in October of that year, buses, streetcars and trains in Chicago began operating under a new governmental organization: the Chicago Transit Authority.

2017 marks the CTA’s 70th anniversary, and the agency plans a celebration throughout the year in recognition of the vital role the CTA has played in the growth and development of Chicago.

“The CTA will forever be woven into the fabric of Chicago,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “The CTA is not only a celebrated part of our City’s past, but also a key component of our future.”

“For 70 years, Chicagoans have looked to the CTA to get them where they needed to go,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “Our 70th anniversary gives us the chance to not only reminisce about our proud history, but also to look ahead to the improvements and investments we’re making to serve customers for another 70 years.”

Throughout 2017, the CTA plans a series of events and activities, including tours, ridership promotions, contests and giveaways, to celebrate its anniversary. CTA’s Heritage Fleet—consisting of vintage trains and buses—will make a number of public appearances as part of the celebration. The CTA has also launched a new Instagram account --@ChicagoCTA--to showcase historical photos, many of them rarely seen.

The CTA also plans a special celebration to mark the 125th anniversary of the ‘L’ in Chicago on June 6. The city’s first elevated railway, the historic “Alley ‘L’,” opened in 1892, and a year later was extended to bring passengers to the World’s Columbian Exposition in Jackson Park.

Prior to 1947, several privately owned companies built and operated elevated train, streetcar and bus lines throughout Chicago. State legislation in 1945 created the CTA, which consolidated various street railway and rapid transit systems. CTA officially began operations on October 1, 1947. A third company that only operated buses was acquired on October 1, 1952, completing the consolidation of mass transit in Chicago under the CTA.

More information on the 70th anniversary celebration is available at transitchicago.com/cta70.

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