4000-series CTA train from 1920s at Dempster on the Purple Line
4000-series cars, built in the 1920s, approach Sedgwick during a 2013 event

Heritage Fleet

Our Heritage Fleet Program is designed to preserve and celebrate our history. The program was created to ensure that our vintage buses, rail cars and other equipment are preserved and maintained so they can be remembered and enjoyed through charters and events held for the public.

About the program

This program, established in 2016, is modeled after similar programs at other transit agencies and will establish guidelines and protocols for future preservation, maintenance and repair efforts for the current Heritage Fleet and those vehicles which may join it in the future.

Funding for the program comes from revenue generated by (our online gift shop) and private charters. Repair and upkeep of the vehicles is provided through the generous volunteer work of CTA employees, retirees, and industry experts.

Our heritage

Transit services by our predecessors date back to the late 1850s, with the first horse-drawn streetcar service operating south on State Street from downtown. Since those days, local transit in Chicago has been provided through a variety of cable cars, electric streetcars, elevated railways and subways and many types of buses, all of which have been a part of the important role transit has played in the Chicago and its region's development, by linking people, jobs and communities.

The CTA you ride today is an independent government agency incorporated by the State of Illinois. The first services operated under the CTA name ran in October 1947 when we acquired the then-private Chicago Rapid Transit Company (elevated and subway lines—the 'L' system) and the Chicago Surface Lines (who ran streetcars and buses), followed later by the acquisition of the Chicago Motor Coach company (buses).

This consolidation formed one, unified public transit system whose services became complementary to each other. In fact, many of the services we provide today are descendants or evolutions of those once provided by these three companies, around which the city and its many neighborhoods grew.

Today we operate a fleet of over 3,300 rail cars and buses which operate over 1,500 miles of bus and 'L' routes. On a typical weekday, our modern fleet travels about 380,000 miles, providing roughly 1.6 million rides to the people of Chicago and 35 neighboring communities.

We provide these services today with over a century of our own experience and that of our predecessors, and take pride in the rich history that has led us to where we are today.

What’s in the fleet?

Our initial Heritage Fleet currently consists of a handful of retired rail cars and buses, including:

  • Two 1923 4000-series rail cars, featuring the orange-and-brown paint scheme they wore in the 1940s and adorned with reproduction advertisements from the era.
  • An eight-car train of 2400-series rail cars, produced from 1976-1978 and featuring their restored red-white-and-blue exterior markings.
  • Three buses from the 1960s, all featuring their original markings.


Photo gallery

CTA Heritage Fleet


Related links



Plan a trip

Start (e.g. O'Hare Airport)

End (e.g. 1 N State St, Chicago, IL)

Leave Now
 Get directions with:

About trip planners (and more options)..

System Status



Red Line Normal Service
Blue Line Normal Service
Brown Line Normal Service
Green Line Normal Service
Orange Line Normal Service
Purple Line Normal Service
Pink Line Normal Service
Yellow Line Normal Service


Routes with Current Alerts (View All):
international globe Languages [En] [Pl] [Zh] [Es]