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Millennium Station

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Millennium Station

Post by lunamoonfang on Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:41 pm

Millennium Station (formerly Randolph Street Terminal; sometimes called Randolph Street Station or Randolph/South Water Street Station) is a major commuter rail terminal in downtown Chicago that serves the Metra Electric Line to University Park, Blue Island, and South Chicago; and the South Shore Line to Gary and South Bend, Indiana. The terminal was built by the Illinois Central Railroad and is now owned by the Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation (Metra). Not counting commuters on the South Shore Line, over 18,000 people board Metra trains at Millennium Station each day.[1]

Along with the station a few blocks south at Van Buren Street, Randolph Street Terminal was IC's primary downtown Chicago terminal until the completion of Central Station just south of Grant Park at today's Roosevelt Road in 1893; it still received many trains thereafter, but was of secondary importance. Its importance increased dramatically in 1926 with the electrification of commuter services on IC's main line and its Blue Island and South Chicago branches. Commuter trains from all three branches were now routed into the Randolph Street Terminal, while intercity traffic continued to terminate at Central Station.

Although it serves only one branch of the Metra system, high ridership on the Metra Electric District and the South Shore Line means that Millennium Station rivals Union Station and Ogilvie Transportation Center for ridership. During peak periods, trains leave the terminal as frequently as twice a minute.

Originally, the station platforms were exposed and the ticketing facilities and the waiting room were located in the attached facility. The construction of Millennium Park gradually placed the entire station "underground." Millennium station existed in a state of perpetual construction from the mid-1980s until 2005: exposed steel girders covered in flame retardant, unpainted plywood walls, bare concrete floors, and dim utility lights created a notoriously unfriendly, cave-like environment. Skidmore, Owings and Merrill was the architect for the station redesign

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