Image by Rene Schwietzke licensed under Creative Commons.

A ride on the ‘L’ Train in Chicago normally costs $2.25, but what if you don’t want to wait or share a car with strangers, or you really want to have a party on a moving train? For a cool $2,000 (up from $1,800 two years ago!), an ‘L’ train is all yours.

When you rent a train, you can pack 35 friends into each car, and you’re welcome to bring food, drinks, and even your own DJ along. Chicago Transit Authority allows rentals anytime outside of rush hour and for a minimum of three hours.

The service often anchors historic tours, and one couple is hosting their wedding on the ‘L’ because it’s where they first met. Not a bad choice given how great the view is from some of the ‘L’ lines.

Could Metro do this?

The ‘L’ isn’t the only rail line that lets you charter a train car. Amtrak will let you charter a train car, or even connect one you already own to one of their services. And luxury trains, which people ride more for the experience than for practical transportation, exist around the world.

Metro couldn’t exactly do the exact same thing as Chicago. For one, WMATA has strict rules against eating and drinking on trains and in stations, and who knows if they’d lift them. Also, rides through downtown wouldn’t be nearly as scenic since in DC, they'd be underground.

Still, if Metro ever wanted to make it happen, I’ve got a suggestion for where to host Greater Greater Washington’s next happy hour!

This post first ran in 2015, but since the information is still accurate (except for the new price!), we wanted to share it again.

Tagged: chicago, fun, transit

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Canaan Merchant was born and raised in Powhatan, Virginia and attended George Mason University where he studied English. He became interested in urban design and transportation issues when listening to a presentation by Jeff Speck while attending GMU. He lives in Reston.