Okay, for those of you who weren’t avidly watching television on Saturday nights from 1977 to 1984 (or aren’t old enough to remember those years), please note that I am playing on the phrase “Da plane, da plane!” from the hit television series Fantasy Island. No, this week’s photo blog is not based on a retro t.v. show. I hope you aren’t disappointed…(Cue laughter).

The Chicago elevated train system (called the “El” or “L” by locals) began its service on June 6, 1862. It was originally a little steam engine that pulled equally small wooden cars behind it. By the year 1897 multiple motorized cars were introduced to the transit system and that electrical structure remains what the El is based on today.

Many Chicago commuters depend daily on the public transit buses and trains. I frequent them both fairly often, and like many others, I huff and mutter about the timing being off schedule sometimes. It is also very easy to admit though, on the cold, windy, torrential rain kind of days, you won’t catch me whining about public transit at all. Taking shelter from the sometimes brutal weather in a warm train car will turn my attitude right-side up in an instant. There are several other reasons I use public transportation. One very important personal motive is that it creates fewer emissions, which in turn is not as hard on our ozone layer. Another is the fact that I am insane about being on time. As much as I love walking to get in my exercise, there are days when the clock seems to suddenly jump ahead 15 minutes and I know my feet won’t be able to make up the difference.  Also, it beats the alternative–spending a lot of money on gas and parking. So it’s easy to understand that on most days, seeing that silver streak come speeding down the tracks in my direction gives me a wonderful feeling of relief.

I wandered around the city on various days to capture some of my favorite angles and sights of the El train. Some are in focus, some are in motion, and all of them are wonderful icons of Chicago. Enjoy.

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