1) John Greenfield and I exhausted but exhilarated at the Pink line 54th/Cermak station moments after we broke the record for fastest time visiting every CTA “L” station. Our time, 9h30m, broke Adham Fisher’s previous record by around five minutes.
2) Me at the Blue line O’Hare station moments before we began.
Now You Too Can Ride The Entire CTA “El” System in Four Minutes!
I collected the data in this video when I rode every inch of every Chicago Transit Authority “El” train line on Wednesday, January 11th, 2012. Chicago’s train system is small compared to those in cities like New York, London, or Paris, but it covers a decent portion of the city’s North, West, and South sides. The trip took roughly fifteen hours, from 5:02am to 8:20pm. I did not visit stations in the exact order listed in the video. In fact, my itinerary could be completed without once leaving a train station (and only transferring once—inevitable due to the setup of the Skokie station).
I moved to Chicago last fall. I traveled much of the city going from job interview to job interview and became obsessed with the public transit system—the first I ever used as my primary means of travel. The idea for this trip grew for several months before I finally completed it.
Soon I will also attempt to break UK native Adham Fisher’s record for fastest time visiting every CTA El station. This trip set a different record, as far as I can tell—fastest (and only?) time riding the full length of every line. Thanks, unemployment, for giving me time to pursue my dream.
With the exception of Red Line Howard and Pink Line Clark/Lake, every stop name you hear was recorded on the line specified and exclusively on the day of the trip. Because of this, some station names are difficult to hear. I have not altered the sound except to raise and lower volume levels.
I also recorded the video on the day of the trip. It is edited in rough chronological order but does not correspond to the audio. I leave some sort of timelapse or other elaborate video/audio pairing to someone with more resources.
Ask me about the zine this video accompanies. It’s full of ridiculous charts and timelines and more stuff than you would ever want.