Chicago Transit Adventures

Riding the Green Line out to Oak Park to start a Metra Adventure

This is part 1 of what will be a 3 part series on my February 17th Metra adventures.

This past weekend, Louise and I spent in Chicago so Louise could go to a one-day conference on Saturday. I decided to spend the day doing another Metra Weekend Pass adventure. Looking at schedules I realized that the BNSF Line (except for Metra Electric, which seems silly to do when not combined with the South Shore Line) seemed like the obvious route to do since it has the most Saturday service of the diesel lines. I also looked at the Pace map and schedule and found that Pace Bus Route 802 could take me for Aurora up to the Geneva Station on the UP West Line, letting me get a few stations on this line as well (with minimal layovers) and letting me ride a second Metra route on my way back to Chicago.

Saturday morning came and we were not quite early enough waking up and getting breakfast in our hotel for me to make it down to Union Station to catch the 8:40 train (which would have let me make a few quick stops due to an inbound express train) so instead I left the hotel around 9:00, heading to the CTA, to connect to the BNSF line in the inner suburbs via a CTA to Pace Transfer.

Walking past the Grand(2 Photos) stop and seeing a soon to arrive train on the countdown clocks I decide to get on the ‘L’ here, reloading my Vetra card with enough money for today’s ‘L’ and pace rides.

I take the Red Line one stop to Lake(3 Photos)


There I follow the signs to Lake Street and the Loop ‘L’ taking advantage of the free transfer with my Ventra Card. I notice on the countdown clocks at street level the next Harlem/Lake Green Line isn’t due for 10 minutes so I enter State/Lake(8 Photos) on the Inner Loop and take an Orange Line train.


I take the Orange Line train one stop to the new Washington/Wabash Station(1 Photo), passing through the former area of the Randolph/Wabash station where I couldn’t notice any evidence of the former station from my train. I can see the Green Line approaching going the other direction (with the countdown clocks saying there isn’t a train more than 10 minutes) so I quickly use the underpass, and my attempted photos all except for one as I wait for the Green Line train to open it’s doors are too blurry to share.

I then get on the Green Line and ride it all the way out to it’s terminus at Harlem/Lake(23 Photos) in Oak Park, a station that I didn’t have enough photos of to write a summary for when I made the initial page. I start by getting off the ‘L’, getting some platform photos and exiting into the Marion Street station house.


The Marion Street Station house is shared with the Metra Oak Park(42 Photos) From there I use the ramps to begin my photo essay of the interesting station with a bare island platform and unique side platform with a clock tower, second waiting area, and odd old wooden shelter.


I eventually walk back to wait outside the unique 1960s Harlem Station house to wait for Pace Bus 307, which is scheduled for 10:05 but arrives a couple minutes late. I scan my Ventra Card at 10:07, paying 30 cents for the transfer.

From there it’s a ride down Harlem Avenue, where we suffer a 5 minutes delay waiting for a freight train to pass on a different (freight only) rail line.

Then I get off in front of Bank of America at Burlington Street, where I stop to get some cash to buy my weekend pass from the conductor and begin my BNSF and Metra adventure with a photo essay of Harlem Ave(19 Photos).

Here is a screenshot of the Ventra app showing my reload and three taps and charges for the trip out from Downtown to Berwyn.

Continuing reading as I board my BNSF Railway Train out to Aurora.