(james benedict brown) on the road

Snapshots: the el

Posted in Posts by James Benedict Brown on 13 July, 2008

A sunny afternoon with time to kill in Logan Square, a very mixed district of north-western Chicago. The elevated railway (“el”) runs very close the apartment I found (somewhat indirectly) through the Hospitality Club.

Every five or ten minutes (thankfully less often at night) a blue line train roars past. I’m staying not far from an incline that takes the elevated track from eight metres above ground to eight metres below ground. As if the roar of a steel train running on steel wheels along steel tracks on a steel elevated structure were not enough to keep you awake at night, the additional noise created by the braking of descending trains and the acceleration of ascending trains surely is.

The ascent from subterranean to above ground running marks the end of the branch to O’Hare, the newest in the city. From this point on the train runs along an elevated structure, parallel to Milwaukee Avnue, built in 1895. That’s what a quick bit of research revealed. This noisy structure is one of the oldest I will see on my trip to America.

And to think that when I originally walked this alleyway, it was the authentic-yet-retro logo of the Chicago Transit Authority that caught my eye.


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