Day 96: Ogilvie Transportation Center

Taken from Canal St and Washington

The Richard B. Ogilvie Transportation Center (OTC) is an intriguing blend of the old and the new, long serving as the terminus for some of Chicago’s most celebrated train routes but now connected to the sleek lobby of a modern glass skyscraper.

The OTC station is bounded by Clinton, Canal, Madison and Randolph and has been a rail station since 1911. It was designed by Frost and Grang under the influence of the Renaissance Revival style. When the terminal opened, the head house featured an immense waiting room with a three-story barrel-vaulted skylight, as well as dressing rooms, baths, nurses and matrons rooms, and a doctor’s office. Tracks were on the second level, above a mail substation and other facilities.

The old head house was razed in 1984 to make way for the 42-story Citigroup Center, which was completed in 1987 and now serves as the main station entrance. It also houses a ticketing area as well as a food court and other retail shops, restaurants and amenities.

The passenger platforms and adjoining facilities were renovated starting in 1992, after Metra bought them from Chicago and North Western. The station was renamed the Richard B. Ogilvie Transportation Center in 1997 after the former governor who championed mass transit and was the major architect of legislation that established the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA).

OTC now serves as the terminus for three Metra routes operated by Union Pacific (UP), which bought the Chicago and North Western in 1995. The UP North, Northwest and West lines bring more than 40,000 commuters to the station each weekday.

The unused area under the tracks has been transformed into MetraMarket, a restaurant and shopping destination featuring a French market, a drug store, a coffee shop and other retail shops, restaurants and amenities.

Besides the main entrance, there are entrances on Clinton, Canal and Washington. This photo was taken near Canal and Washington just South of the Canal Street entrances. 

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