One Last Chance to See SOM and CTA’s “Blinker” Trains

CTA 2200-series train in Oak Park

In case you missed it, July 31st was the last regular run for the Chicago Transit Authority’s 2200-series subway cars.  They were affectionately known as “blinker” cars because of the way their accordion doors opened.  People in wheelchairs had a less affectionate name for them, since they were built in 1969 and 1970, and thus not A.D.A.-compliant.

CTA 2200-series train in Oak ParkThe C.T.A. orchestrated a final commemorative trip with one of the trains on August 8th.  It was completely done up with the old colors, markings, advertisements, and even yellow “Air Conditioned” badges, which was something of a novelty in transit at the time.

Architecture fans will want to know that these trains were actually designed by Myron Goldsmith of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.  They were the height of modernism, and intended to match the new modern train stations that were still new along the Kennedy and Dan Ryan Expressways.

And while the trains may be quickly forgotten, they’re not quite gone.  Not yet.

We ran into the last ceremonial train sitting in the L’s elevated train yard at the end of the Green Line in Oak Park.  So, railfans and architecture nerds alike have one last chance to take pictures of these historic, mobile structures.

On a side note, does anyone know what’s going to happen to the old 2200-series L cars?  I’ve read that two of them will be sent to the Illinois Railway Museum, but what about the rest?  I’ve scoured the internet and come up with nothing.  Will they be sold for scrap?  Turned into an artificial reef?  Or perhaps find new life in a transit system in some Third World country?

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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