Mysterious Metra Marks

I spotted this the other day: two metal tracks, right in the middle of the floor. This is from the 56th street station, and I’ve passed it daily for many years now – and never really noticed it.

But once I spotted it, I couldn’t un-see it.

I kept thinking that maybe it was where the vending machines used to be. But why just two tracks? It was so odd – just there, in the middle like that.

When I showed it to Bob, he thought it was where the original turnstiles were located. He said that if you pulled up those metal panels, you’d find a trough underneath – a place for electrical and wires to reside.

This now has me curious about what the station used to look like originally. I’m imagining turnstiles similar to the ones for the subway in New York, but I’m also imagining the larger, cylindrical “gates” that we have at some CTA stops in Chicago.

I like that, despite time and progress marching onward, the past still remains with us in some small capacity. I wonder what this station looked like 50 years ago, and I wonder what it might look like 50 years from now.

A fun side note: next to the ticket machines, there’s a small phone. It says “Passenger Information Assistance Phone,” and looks to have been converted from what I’m guessing originally was a coin operated pay phone.

You know. From back when there used to be public pay phones. Oh so long ago.

Column Artwork and Text, Hidden Along the 56th Street Metra Stop
Street Signs and Signs of Times Gone By

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