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The CTA in the 1950s: Innovation (continued)
 

Modernizing Facilities

There was little money left in the CTA’s budget for modernizing all of the aging facilites throughout the “L” system. In the mid-1950s, the CTA partnered with a major downtown department store, Marshall Field & Company, to tear down an original 1896 Loop “L” station house at Randolph & Wabash, and to replace it with a sleek modern version. The CTA and Field’s, alike, surely hoped that this updated station and direct entrance to the store would attract customers who might otherwise be drawn to new stores in the suburbs.

Elevation of the original Randolph and Wabash station, prepared October 26, 1896 for the Union Elevated Loop Railroad.
Elevation of the original Randolph and Wabash station, prepared October 26, 1896 for the Union Elevated Loop Railroad.

Courtesy of Chicago Transit Authority and Graham Garfield

Elevation of the original Randolph and Wabash station, prepared October 26, 1896 for the Union Elevated Loop Railroad.
Elevation of the original Randolph and Wabash station, prepared October 26, 1896 for the Union Elevated Loop Railroad.

Courtesy of Chicago Transit Authority and Graham Garfield

Inner Loop Station to Undergo Remodeling, 1954 From CTA Transit News, August 1954.
Inner Loop Station to Undergo Remodeling, 1954 From CTA Transit News, August 1954.

This article shows a conceptualization of the planned interior and exterior renovations at CTA’s Randloph & Wabash “L” station in the mid-1950s.
Courtesy of Chicago Transit Authority and William Wulfert

Experimenting With Alternative Fuel

The CTA also pioneered the use of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), or Propane, fuel as it modernized its bus fleet after World War II. In the 1950s and 60s, the Chicago Transit Authority owned and operated the largest fleet of propane gas buses in the world. Propane was less expensive than diesel fuel at the time, allowing the CTA to allocate more resources to upgrading service and operations.

The First of CTA’s Fleet of 500 Odorless Propane Buses.
The First of CTA’s Fleet of 500 Odorless Propane Buses.

This photograph, taken the winter of 1950-1951, is one of a series in CTA collections documenting the delivery of the CTA’s new Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), or Propane, fueled buses.

Twin Coach bus in Chicago, 1950s.
Twin Coach bus in Chicago, 1950s.

This green-and-white CTA bus is one of a fleet of about 1400 Twin Coach propane buses, manufactured by the Fageol, later Flxible, bus company. These classic, “Old Look” buses are easily recognized by their high, 6-paned windshields.

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