Saying Farewell to the CTA’s 2400-Series Railcars

John Morris 1 comment
John Morris/Chicago Patterns

John Morris/Chicago Patterns

On Wednesday, January 21, the CTA bid farewell to its 2400-series railcars, its oldest set, with a ceremonial ride on what was previously known as the Ravenswood Service (Brown Line), followed by a run on the North/South route (Red/Green Line from Howard to Ashland/63rd).

Introduced in 1976, these railcars were in operation for 38 years.

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1976 CTA Quarterly, courtesy of archive.org

New Chicago Aesthetics in Trains

In the CTA Quarterly publication (above), the newly redesigned trains were touted as improvements in aesthetics and safety:

There will be a new look on the CTA rails with the delivery, in the next two years, of 200 modern rapid transit cars. Red, white and blue–the colors of both our nation and the City of Chicago–will provide an important accent, both from the standpoint of aesthetics and safety. In addition to the red, white and blue stripes under the windows for the length of the cars, these colors will be used for the front and end of each pair of cars for providing greater visibility. […]

The new sculptured stainless steel cars will provide a number of benefits to riders: reduced noise levels inside and out, wider sliding doors for easier access, smoother riding. […]

The striping was in stark contrast to the more minimalist style of the 2200-series it was replacing. The red, white, and blue palette represents the nation’s colors as well as Chicago’s. The release of these cars coincided with the nation’s bicentennial, further highlighting the special meaning behind the color palette.

2400 series

John Morris/Chicago Patterns

For Wednesday’s ceremonial ride, the trains’ exterior and interior were recreated with advertisements, maps, and various stylings back when the series was brought to service.

The farewell ride coursed through the original North-South route (present-day Red Line and Green Line), departing from Howard and moving toward Englewood.

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John Morris/Chicago Patterns

The maps in each car featured routes that were used when the series was introduced to the public in the 1970s. Though, as you can see (above), the route map shows a color-coded transit system, not too different from today’s maps. Individual colors for each line were introduced in 1993.

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John Morris/Chicago Patterns

CTA offered unlimited monthly passes for $30 back then. Today it’s $100.

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John Morris/Chicago Patterns

(Above) CTA staff and riders enjoying the retro-themed ride.

John Morris/Chicago Patterns

John Morris/Chicago Patterns

An ad for WDAI 94.7FM

John Morris/Chicago Patterns

John Morris/Chicago Patterns

Englewood Transit Terminal at Ashland/63rd.

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John Morris/Chicago Patterns

Leaving Clark and Lake.

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John Morris/Chicago Patterns

Leaving Randolph and Wabash.

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John Morris/Chicago Patterns

The 2400-series railcar was the last radical redesign of CTA’s rolling stock. There are minor exterior aesthetic differences between the cars introduced in 1976 and the newest ones in use today, but the exterior designs are mostly similar.

I’m hoping we’ll see future railcars with a more modernized exterior design, if only in the end cap (front/rear) of each car.

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Further Reading:



One response to “Saying Farewell to the CTA’s 2400-Series Railcars”

  1. Allan M says:

    Nice blog article, and series of pictures of that final run! I also recall riding the 2400s on their final official run that day, for a little bit.

    BTW, the CTA briefly brought the 2400 cars back into service on the Red Line for special runs open to all regular CTA riders, just before games 3, 4, and 5 of the Cubs vs. Indians World Series last fall. Hopefully they continue this tradition for not just Cub World Series games, but for other special events as well.

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