Millennium Station (formerly Randolph Street Terminal; sometimes called Randolph Street Station or Randolph/South Water Street Station) is a major commuter rail terminal in downtown Chicago that serves the Metra Electric Line to University Park, Blue Island, and South Chicago; and the South Shore Line to Gary and South Bend, Indiana. The terminal was built by the Illinois Central Railroad and is now owned by the Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation, or Metra. Not counting commuters on the South Shore Line, over 18,000 people board Metra trains at Millennium Station each day.
Because the tracks leading to the station go through Grant Park in an open cut, the Illinois Central was required by City Council to electrify its suburban services in 1926. As a result, all lines now terminating at Randolph Street use electric multiple units rather than Diesel push-pull trains like all of Metra's other lines. During peak periods, trains leave the terminal as frequently as twice a minute.
The station was torn apart from the mid-1980s until 2005; initially due to construction on the adjacent street, but it was also unrenovated for 20 years due to budget restrictions and, eventually, the planning and building of Millennium Park (a project that also took longer than expected to complete). Its steel girders covered with flame retardant material, badly painted plywood, unrelieved concrete floor, construction/utility lights, and cave-like environs which prevailed for two decades have now been transformed into a modern-looking rail station, which was renamed as Millennium Station in 2006.
Millennium Station serves as a nexus of several Chicago Pedway connections, which links it to several hotels, residential buildings, office buildings, L stations and other notable locations. The pedway itself hosts a number of shops, eateries and services. While some portions of the system remain open at all hours, most of them close by 7:00 PM on weekdays and 6:00 PM on the weekends, rendering a significant portion of the system unusable during non-business hours.
Millennium Station is featured in the 2008 blockbuster, The Dark Knight