CTA Skokie Swift / Yellow Line Ride in the “Railfan Seat”

CTA Skokie Swift / Yellow Line Ride in the
I got on CTA’s Yellow Line / Skokie Swift at Howard Street, and to my surprise, the motorman had closed the door to the control compartment all the way, instead of blocking off the front door area, as has almost always been the case on all ‘L’ lines since the ’90s when the last conductors served the trains. There is a seat in that small space which faces forward (though now almost always backward when the motorman’s door is open if the car in question is coupled to another set or at the rear of a train. Because this line is a shuttle and each platform is on the motorman’s side of the train, there is no need for him to use the opposite-side door controls, and therefore the availability of this seat, which provides a great front-on view of the trip. Leaving Howard Street, the train passes through the throat of Howard Yard, one of CTA’s biggest. A Red Line train parallels my train, then heads up the turnback loop to begin another southbound run. A Purple Line train can be seen on the other side of the bridge coming out of the yard. The train passes under the Metra UP North Line, then under Custer, Ridge and Asbury Avenues in Evanston, the latter of which has a communications hut on a bit of old, pre-1950 platform when this was a local ‘L’ line. Next the line goes over Dodge Avenue- the wide spot in the middle of the bridge was once a station. The line crosses the North Shore Channel and McCormick Blvd, then passes the Skokie Shops, CTA’s heavy-overhaul facility. Next are