Van Buren Street
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Van Buren Street is the second to last stop on the Metra Electric (formerly IC Line) that is also used by the South Shore Line to enter Chicago. The station is four-fifths of a mile from Millennium Station terminus, a journey that due to switching (particularly on South Shore Trains) can take 3 to 5 minutes. It is an important station and staffed by Metra from 6:00am to 10:30pm Monday through Friday, with the ticket office closed on weekends. The South Shore Line has it's own ticket agent available 6:00am to 9:20pm on weekends.

The station is nestled in an open-cut between two different areas of Grant Park. For trains there are two platforms, an island platform, primarily used by inbound trains (and a few outbound rush hour Metra trains), and a side platform used by most outbound trains. These platforms run from Jackson Drive at their northern ends, where a staircase leads down to the end of each platform, under the Van Buren Street pedestrian bridge and continue south ending just before the Congress Street bridge across the rail line.

The main entrance to the station is in the middle of platforms. Along the side platform is a waiting room beneath Grant Park. This long room has cream and white tiled walls, along with pillars holding up the street above. One end has the historic ticket office. For waiting passengers wooden benches are provided.

To leave the ticketing area and reach the street along with the island platform, a ramp leads downward from the ticket office to an underpass, at a junction point, a second ramp continues downward beneath the tracks providing staircase and elevator access to the island platform. This underpass has a bad smell along with modern cream with a line of faux marble. Exits from the underpass are first up to Grant Park on the east side of Michigan Avenue. This entrance has a replica Hector Gulmard Art-Neuvo entrance donated by Paris and installed in the same style as the Paris Metro in 2001. The underpass continues beneath Michigan Avenue to a staircase and elevator on the SW corner and staircase only up to the NW corner of Michigan Avenue and Van Buren Street. The staircases are in silver portals with both Metra and South Shore Line logos.

Both platforms are fully canopied with the island platforms having some glass skylights to allow more natural light down onto the platforms. The island platform also has some enclosed areas including the elevator being fully enclosed inside a waiting shed and all passengers coming from Jackson Drive required to pass through a small enclosed area at the northern end of the platform with a booth and where automatic fare gates once were when the IC and then Metra electric used them from 1966 to 2003.
Photos 1 & 2: 13 October, 2003; 3-30: 5 August, 2012; 31-36: 25 June, 2016; 37-38: 4 June, 2017

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A South Shore Line train passes Metra Electric trains including Highliner #136. Buses run in the parallel McCormick Place busway
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Highliners in the yard near the station
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The staircase and elevator at the SW corner of Michigan Avenue and Van Buren Street
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The Van Buren Street Station: Electric District and South Shore Trains sign
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The elevator is modern but has an ornate canopy structure
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The replica Paris Metro Metra entrance
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The Paris Metro script for Van Buren Street Station and a sign for the Century of Progress on the Paris Metro entrance
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The Paris Metro framework is around a very much more modern entrance
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One of the long smelly tunnels at the station
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The split, go up for the side platform, down for the underpass to the island platform
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On the ramp up to the main station area on the side platform
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The ornate ticket windows
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Another view of the ticket office and elevator down to the bottom of the underpass for track 2
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Another underground ticket office view
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Out on the side platform
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Wooden benches inside for waiting passengers
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Restrooms
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Pillars in the station have nice ornamentation
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Last Updated: 24 September, 2017
All photos are by Jeremiah Cox
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