On June 6th, 1892, the first L train rumbled over the streets of Chicago, carting passengers from 39th Street to Congress Street and inaugurating a new, lasting era of public transit in the city.
You wouldn’t have known it from watching, though: while “the opening was a decided success,” the Chicago Tribune wrote at the time, there was “no brass band, no oratory, [and] no enthusiasm.”
A rough birthday for a helpful bunch of train cars. Today—exactly 125 years later—the Chicago Transit Authority wants to make up for it. This afternoon only, they’ve pressed a couple of historic trains back into service.
Interested Chicagoans can ride in a 4000-series car, from 1923—each of which boasts an electric motor, a mechanical braking system, and wooden floors—or a 2400-series car, from 1976—built for America’s bicentennial, and outfitted in festive red, white and blue.
According to the CTA, both train types will be running continuously around the Inner Loop. Employees will also be handing out free posters on several platforms. Better late than never.
Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to [email protected].