Metra Electric District

Metra Electric District

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Metra Electric District

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The Metra Electric District is an electrified commuter rail line owned and operated by Metra which connects Millennium Station (formerly Randolph Street Station) in downtown Chicago, with the city's southern suburbs. While Metra does not explicitly refer to any of its lines by color, the timetable accents for the Metra Electric District are printed in bright "Panama orange" to reflect the line's origins with the Illinois Central Railroad (IC) and its Panama Limited passenger train.

The line is the only Metra line powered by overhead catenary lines, and the only to have three branches. Trains operate on 1500 volts direct current, and all stations have high-level platforms. The Metra Electric District shares the main line north of Kensington with NICTD's South Shore Line, which is also powered by overhead lines and is an interurban line that runs through the Chicago suburbs of northern Indiana to South Bend.


Steam era

The line was originally built and operated by the Illinois Central Railroad. This commuter service, one of the first outside the major metropolitan areas of the northeastern United States, began operation on July 21, 1856 and ran between the IC's downtown station (at the current location of Millennium Station) and Hyde Park. Extensions of the commuter service were later made, and part of the line was elevated for the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Jackson Park.

The line predates the 1871 Great Chicago Fire and...
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