Menu Close
Raymond G. Potter

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)
Elevated Train Line

by SMARTT Inc.

The client for this project had us build an extensive replica of many of the highlights of modern Chicago. The highlight of the city, that no replica of Chicago would be complete without, is a working replica of the Chicago Transit Authority Elevated Train Line.

  • This is not actually the first time that I have designed and built a replica of Chicago's CTA. SMARTT was the model railroad contractor for the new Chicago Museum of Science (MSI) HO layout in 2002-2003. Part of the job was a model of downtown Chicago, and it required a replica of the elevated CTA train line. The design of this elevated support structure fell to me, and I spent a lot of time examining the extensive photos I was provided as well as whatever I could gather on the internet.

  • For this new CTA, technology had progressed in the decade since the MSI design, so we decided that the 3D printing technology available would give us incredible fidelity, as well as minute detail including hundreds of rivets per part that are only 0.015" each.

  • I designed about a dozen or so different interchangeable components from the dimensions given to me, based on that extensive earlier research.

  • Eventually, what we produced was a "Chicago EL Construction Kit" for our in-house use. Additionally, some joiner beams and plates that linked the supports were individually designed using Autodesk Inventor's parametric feature and these were also 3D printed.

    Further, I designed and built two of the three elevated train stations that give the CTA's operating cars a place to let passengers board. These two are based on extensive photos of real stations.

  • In addition to the CTA, I also designed most of the Chicago replica structures seen in this photo, including the Marina Towers, Trump Tower Chicago, One Prudential Plaza, and many others.

Size: Spread out across a broad area

Material: Acrylic, Micro-engineering Plate Girders, 3D printed parts

Approach: Completely Custom!

Client: SMARTT Inc. for Private client


Autodesk Inventor
Autodesk AutoCAD

People who helped with this project:
The SMARTT model making staff

© Copyright SMARTT Inc.

error: Content is protected !!
Verified by ExactMetrics