The same day the Chicago Transit Authority announced it awarded construction contracts to start work on a futuristic-looking 95th Street Intermodal Superstation Terminal and Ice Cream Parlor* in the West Chesterfield neighborhood, it inked $153 million deal to start work rebuilding the Red Line’s Wilson Station.
The Wilson Station has been the hub of Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood since it was completed in 1900. The current station was built in the 1920′s. In more recent times, the station has seen a resurgence in activity as the beleaguered Uptown neighborhood gentrifies. The arrival of a nearby Target store has helped revitalize the area, and other new shops and restaurants are opening to fill the needs of people moving into the area.
The CTA will also replace about 2,200 feet of… well, let’s call it “legacy” track. The track reconfiguration will also suck a little more of the “express” out of the Purple Line Express by turning Wilson into yet another Red Line transfer point. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends on your personal commuting pattern, but it will eliminate the use of the weird outlying track that currently sends southbound Purple Line trains on a short tour of the neighborhood before rejoining the Red Line for the trip to the Loop.
Fortunately, the old stationhouse is being preserved and rehabilitated for possible use as retail space. The CTA did the same thing when it rebuilt the Brown Line’s Chicago station.
Look for construction to start before the end of this year.