Metropolitan Main Line (Chicago Transit Authority)

Metropolitan Main Line (Chicago Transit Authority)
Metropolitan Line
Type Rapid transit
System Chicago 'L'
Locale Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Termini Wells Street Terminal and Franklin/Van Buren
Stations 6
Opened May 6, 1895[1]
Closed June 22, 1958
Operator(s) Chicago Transit Authority
Character Elevated
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification Third rail, 600 V DC

The Metropolitan Main Line is a defunct rapid transit line which was part of the Chicago 'L' system. The line ran from two downtown termini, the Wells Street Terminal and the Loop via Franklin/Van Buren, to Marshfield, where it split into four branches; the Garfield Park branch, Humboldt Park branch, Northwest (Logan Square) branch, and Douglas Park branch. The Metropolitan Main Line served eight stations aside from those in the Loop. The line opened on May 6, 1895 and closed on June 22, 1958, upon the opening of the Congress branch.


The Metropolitan Main Line opened on May 6, 1895; trains initially ran from Canal to Marshfield, where they continued onto the Northwest branch and eventually the other branches. The Franklin Street Terminal opened on May 17, extending the line eastward. This terminal was closed in 1897, and the line was routed to the Loop via Van Buren Street. The Wells Street Terminal opened on October 3, 1904, and Metropolitan Main Line trains terminated at both this terminal and the Loop. In 1951, the Milwaukee/Dearborn Subway opened, and Northwest branch trains were rerouted to the subway; at the same time, the Humboldt Park branch became a shuttle service, leaving only the Garfield Park and Douglas Park branches operating on the Main Line. Wells Street Terminal and Laflin closed in 1951, and Racine and Marshfield both closed in 1954. Franklin/Van Buren station closed in 1955; trains on the line entered the Loop from the Wells Street track after this point. The Metropolitan Main Line closed on July 22, 1958 upon the opening of the Congress branch, which also replaced the Garfield Park branch.[2]

Station listing

Metropolitan Main Line
Station Location Opened Closed
Wells Street leg
Wells Street Terminal 314 S. Wells Street October 3, 1904 February 25, 1951
Franklin Terminal Franklin Street between Jackson Boulevard and Van Buren Street May 17, 1895 1897
Van Buren Street leg
Franklin/Van Buren Franklin Street and Van Buren Street October 11, 1897 October 11, 1955
Main leg
Canal Canal Street between Jackson and Van Buren Streets May 6, 1895 June 22, 1958
Halsted Halsted Street and Van Buren Street May 6, 1895 1958
Racine 416-18 S. Racine Avenue May 6, 1895 April 4, 1954
Laflin 418 S. Laflin Street May 6, 1895 December 9, 1951
Marshfield 418 S. Marshfield Avenue May 6, 1895 1954


  1. ^ "New "L" Road Opens". Chicago Daily Tribune: p. 12. May 7, 1895. 
  2. ^ Graham Garfield. "Metropolitan Main Line and Garfield Park branch". Chicago-'L'.org. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 

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