Digging the Chicago subway

Streamlining Chicago (1940) from WBEZ on Vimeo.

Hat tip to Source reader Todd Markle for sending over this story from the WBEZ website in Chicago about the city getting its first subway. The above is a film made in 1940 to promote Chicago’s subway and freeway (ahem, expressway) plan. There’s some great footage of the digging for the subway, including some neat shots of steel tunnels being shipped up the Chicago River and then sunk.

Read the accompanying story. There are some familiar themes. Chicago needed help from the federal government to help pay for the subway. And the film, made amid the Great Depression, talks a lot about jobs created by the city’s transportation program.

You could say the same exact thing today. Metro has applied for federal New Starts funds to help fund the Westside Subway Extension and Regional Connector projects. And both are part of the America Fast Forward package of legislation the agency is seeking in Congress to accelerate construction of road and transit projects and create jobs.