City Living: Taking the El

Although many pre-Kellogg Chicagoans pulled up stakes and moved 7 miles up the road to Evanston at the beginning of the school year, I was one of the few who did not make the Great Migration in August 2011. Continuing to live in the city while attending Kellogg full-time has been a great decision for me for may reasons, both personal and academic, but certainly brings with it some challenges, including…

TAKING THE EL*

Purple and Red Lines from downtown to Evanston

*For those new to Chicago, the “El” is the nickname for the train system (Chicago Transit Authority or CTA). It is derived from “Elevated Train”, despite the fact that different train lines run both above, below and at street level.

There is a train line (Purple Line) that gets you from Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood (Belmont stop) to Evanston (Foster stop) in about 25 minutes. The express route (it omits many of the normal stops) runs during morning and evening rush hours, but can easily get you to class in time for an 8:30a class (leave the city at 7:45a) and get you home efficiently after 3:00p.

The train runs throughout the day, but not always on the express schedule (in which case, the same journey takes approximately 45 minutes and requires switching to the Red Line). Students also take the el to get downtown for nights out, which usually requires switching from the Purple Line to the Red Line.

The CTA website has a handy route tracker that you can play with if you’re trying to estimate your commute from one of the urban neighborhoods.

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