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Are there any N scale Chicago L train sets out there? Or anything that looks like it? Trying to model Chicago suburbs, I have the Metra, the Amtrak, but not the L...

Thank you!
Brandon
 

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Wow! Now that would indeed be way cool. I've been on the Chicago "L" & subways 100's of times and it's always fun!
Last September we took Amtrak from Flint, MI thru Chicago and on to Salt Lake City via the California Zephyr. I've still got a grin on my face. Fun stuff!! :)
 

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Don R,
You've just spawned a brainstorm for me!
I've been wracking my pea-sized brain on how to expand my layout, but don't have any more room. It's 10'X10' right now and there's no room to grow outward in any direction. :mad:
HOWEVER, how about a SUBWAY underneath the whole shebang???
Holy crossbucks, Batman, now I'm gonna lay awake nights designing that beauty in my head.
Life is good,
Bob
 

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I was in Chicago many years ago and rode the L, that was neat as we used to say. Stayed in some hotel on Whacker/Wacker street. Any further discussion of my activities that weekend can take place in PM's if you wish.
 

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When you're in downtown Chicago (the "Loop" area) you walk under the overhead tracks of the "L", which means "elevated" in case you didn't know.
The volume level of your conversation rises and falls as the "L" trains roar bye. Depending on where you are, you either walk DOWN the stairs, or UP the stairs to board the train and be on your way.
Chicago, Chicago, that toddlin' town......great place to visit and great place to enjoy trains!
Union Station is a place of history. No trains run thru, just terminate from East or West.
The greatest "termination" in history was the demise of "Silver Streak". What a flick....what a crash.....one of the greatest train shows in cinema history.
Dang, makes me want to catch the Amtrak to Chicago in the morning. It departs Flint at
7:32am EST. All aboard!
 

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I live near St Louis, about 7 years ago I was in chicago for a die cast car convention
and my boss was in chicago then also. He got me tickets to a cubs cardinal game and
everyone said to take the L instead of driving to Wrigely Field. I did that and it was very
easy and much better than driving to somewhere in chicago I had never been. I was surprised how close to the houses the train ran.
 

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Yep, it seems like in some areas they pass within mere feet of the back stoop and you could lose and arm waving at them on the way bye. :eek:
Not only that......they're haulin' the mail, big time!
 

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I might be able to help you guys. I'm a Chicagoan, I've lived here all my life. I was born and raised in the city, and live in the suburbs now. I ride the "L" trains once in a while, not very often anymore. I used to take them everyday for a couple of years, in the early 1990's.

There are no ready to run N scale equipment for the Chicago "L" trains. There have been some bodies made, where you need to provide your own chassis. You can also use subway equipment made by Kato, Tomix, Greenmax, and other Japanese companies. None of those models are an exact match, but they capture the essence.

Here in Chicago we call the entire system the "L", and have since the 1890's. The first elevated track was build in 1892. Our first subway lines were opened in the 1940's. From this website, http://www.chicago-l.org/FAQ.html

1.3 Q: Why is it called the "L" TM if it isn't always elevated?

A: The thing to remember here is that Chicago's non-elevated sections are relatively new. Unlike cities like New York, Chicago didn't get its first subway until 1943. Up until this time, most of the system was elevated (with the exception of a few short sections in outlying suburbs, but even these were mostly elevated by the 1920s). So, by the time the State Street subway opened, the name "L" (short for "elevated railroad") had already been in popular use and thus stuck.

However, what is known is that the use of the term "L" pre-dates the opening of the first line in 1892 and was quickly adopted by the press and public. It could be seen on printed materials and painted on the elevated structure at stations by 1893, the year after the first line opened. So it has been with us from the beginning of the system.

Here in Chicago, unlike many other cities, we only call the actual subway portions the subway. The entire system is called the "L".

Also the cars are a little shorter then typical subway cars in other cities. Some of the curves are very sharp. Also from same site, http://www.chicago-l.org/FAQ.html

4.7 Q: Are the CTA railcars shorter than that of the NYCTA (New York City Transit Authority) or other cities? To me they look a lot shorter in length.

A: Yes, CTA cars are shorter than an NYCT/IRT Division car. Those cars are around 51 feet long.

Chicago's car length was really dictated by the need to be able to traverse those tight curves in the loop and at places like Harrison/Wabash. Remember, these were private undertakings so condemnation/eminent domain was not an option for them, and every curve easement meant buying more real estate.

Each "L" car is 48 feet long and, since 1950, are permanently coupled into two-car married-pair units. I think a longer car might be more useful now, but Chicago has built it's system into a 48 foot-only clearance.

The newest deliveries, the 5000 series of 2009 are:

Car length - 48 feet (14.63 m)
Width - 9 feet 4 inches (2.84 m)
Height - 12 feet (3.66 m)
Weight - 57,000 pounds (26,000 kg) empty
Track gauge - 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)
Maximum speed - Design: 70 miles per hour (110 km/h)
Service: 55 miles per hour (89 km/h)
 

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Howard

Great discussion, full of facts.

As a streetcar buff I can add one possibly little know fact
about the Chicago L cars of the 60s.

CTA had an extensive Streetcar system and several lines,
Broadway/State, Western, and Clark St. mainly were
provided with 600 of the longest PCC streetcars ever made. But,
a decision came from on high to convert all streetcar lines to
buses in spite of the fact that a couple hundred of the
PCCs were only a few years old.

A deal was made with St. Louis Car Co. to remove the
trucks from the PCCs, all electrical equipment, even the
doors and windows were taken off. Then all of it
was glued together to form new L cars which ran
on the system for decades.

Saavy folks could clearly recognize that the window walls
of the L cars were former PCCs.

Sadly, only one of the very unique Chicago PCCs was preserved and it is
still in operation at an Illinois rail museum.

Don
 
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