The station’s improvements include a new warming house, which officials say has been painted with the colors of a historic Pullman train car to honor the South Side neighborhood’s significance to the history of the railroad industry.
The $250,000 project started in June 2016, and the project scope also entailed replacing the warming house and platform deck boards. Representatives say crews removed an unused portion of the platform, replaced the stairway to the platform and the structure above the stairway and installed new LED lights, heaters and an electronic device charging station in the warming house, as well.
“We like to say our stations are the gateways to the communities we serve, and we’re excited to have enhanced this gateway to the Pullman National Monument,” said Don Orseno, Metra’s executive director and CEO. “We hope it will help encourage tourism to this unique and historic site.”
Representatives say Metra painted the warming house to resemble a Pullman Palace Car Company railcar like those manufactured in the community in 1898. The railcar was initially named “Libertas,” but was later called “Gertrude Emma” after the wife of one of the founders of the Conway Scenic Railroad in New Hampshire, which acquired the car in 1975 and restored it. The railroad reportedly continues to use the railcar for tourist events.
“With the designation of the National Monument, one of the world’s greenest manufacturing plants and historically significant homes, we are delighted Metra is making Pullman a quality transit destination everyone can reach,” said Ald. Anthony Beale (9th).
The 111th Street/Pullman Station project is part of Metra’s 2016 construction program, which calls for about $200 million in infrastructure improvements to 27 stations, 24 road crossings and 21 bridges. The 2016 program also includes the replacement of 120,000 crossties to allow for safe, reliable service and to maintain a state of good repair throughout the system.
Michael Shymanski, president of the Historic Pullman Foundation, described the station’s improvements as significant to welcoming visitors to the Pullman National Monument and the community.
“[The station] is fresh and inviting and a critical wayfinding component,” he said. “Metra is the most direct link between the loop and the Pullman National Monument with multiple museums between Millennium Station and Pullman.”