upleft Oakton-Skokie
up South Blvd
Jarvis down
Belmont down
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Howard is one of the most unique rapid transit stations in terms of operations I know of and the terminus of three of the CTA's 8 'L' lines. The stop but is located on the northern boarder of the City of Chicago. The line is the southern terminus of two shuttle 'L' routes: the Yellow Line Skokie Swift (4.7 miles long) and Purple Line Evanston Shuttle (3.9 miles long) that run 2 and 4 (or 6) car trains respectively to the inner suburbs immediately north and northwest of the station and Chicago. Here these trains connect with the Red Line, Chicago's busiest that runs 8 car trains through downtown via the State Street Subway and to the South Side via the Dan Ryan Line. The only trains that run through the station, stopping at it as an intermediate stop are Purple Line Express trains that run Rush Hours only running non-stop south to Belmont (bypassing 12 stops) on trips to and from the Loop. The stop is also an important bus connection point housing a bus loop that has 7 connecting CTA Bus Lines and 2 Pace Bus Routes. There are also 592 parking spaces in a parking garage. The station has two island platforms for what is a 4 track line. There is a southbound platform and a northbound platform with all trains discharging their passengers on one platform and then running south of the station in the case of the Yellow and Purple Line Shuttles (hogging up the center tracks) or north of the station near the Howard Yard in the case of the Red Line. The station was renovated in 2006-2009 and today is fully ADA compliant. The platforms both have modern canopies with white posts holding up a white roof with an underlying silver canopy.

The best place to start the tour is at the original entrances at the northern ends of the platforms. Here there is a staircase down from each that leads directly to a high exit turnstile, along the north side of Howard Street's overpass. Between these two exits is what's notable. There are restored terracotta reliefs and columns that surround what are now modern vacant storefronts. Above these is old green lettering spelling out 'North Shore Line.' This was originally the waiting room for the electric interurban line that ran from the loop (sharing tracks with the 'L') to Milwaukee and was discontinued in 1963. Across Howard Street is the original 'L' station entrance, that was modernized in the 1960s but that facade was removed and restored to a replica brick station house designed to look like it's from the 1920s, this entrance is closer to the southbound, Loop-bound platform, and there are a few high exit only turnstiles that lead directly out to the street towards the staircases from the northbound platform. Entering the station passengers find FVMs and then turnstiles. On the wall within fare control across from the turnstiles is a large, colorful Hand-painted ceramic tile mural that looks like planets and the solar system called Destination: Points Unknown by Amy Cheng, 2009. There are then two staircases up to the northbound Purple and Yellow Line platform and a staircase along with an up escalator to the Red Line Loop-bound platform.

The new modern entrance is located inside a four story modern white building. A portion of this building straddles the tracks and houses various nonpublic areas like crew quarters and employee training rooms. To enter this building from the platforms, passengers go up an escalator a staircase or an elevator (at the extreme southern end of both platforms) to a wide covered mezzanine area above the station platforms on the third floor of the building. On the west side of this area are the turnstiles and the modern customer assistance booth. To leave the station there are two escalators with two wide staircases on each side of them that lead first to an intermediate landing that leads to the parking garage and nearby new strip mall. This area has 24/7 by Carla Arocha and Stéphane Schraenen, a Stainless steel mobile. The staircases/escalators then continue down to street level and the inner covered lane of the station's two canopied lane bus loop. There are also not one but two elevators that connect to all three levels. Photos 1 & 2 taken on 17 July, 2006, 3-13 on 4 August, 2011, 14-50 on 25 October, 2011, 51-55 on 2 August, 2012, 56-58 on 3 July, 2013

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#2963 stopped in the station
Looking across the platforms before renovations with old Blue Signs
Modern signs
Towards the southern end of the platforms beneath the secondary roof that extends a bit from the new entrance
#2690 leads a Rush Hour Purple Line Express Train to the Loop into the Station
A Yellow Line train begins switching into the station
A Yellow Line train starts to enter
A Yellow Line train enters
A two car Yellow Line train stops in the middle of the platform to board its passengers for a shuttle trip to Skokie
Looking out the windows of a Skokie Shuttle to Howard about to leave. Notice the unique logo on the destination sign
A Yellow Line Shuttle Prepares to leave
#2893 discharges its passengers, terminating at Howard
The bus loop
The new entrance to the glass walled staircase from the bus loop
The bus loop has two lanes
Looking up at the station platform
The glass facade of the bus loop
Sign for the Bus terminal
Two high exit turnstiles at the original entrance
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Last Updated: 29 September, 2012
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