Photos: Beloved CTA Train Conductor Michael Powell Retires On New Years Eve

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jan 2, 2014 11:15PM

New Years Eve marked the end of an era for thousands of CTA Red Line riders. Michael Powell, who spent much of his 36 years with the public transit agency operating a Red Line train and greeting otherwise grumpy and dejected riders with sayings "take your Vitamin C," "everything is going to be okay" and "may the Force be with you," retired.

Powell's persistent upbeat personality the rush hour commutes of more than a few of us more bearable. Melissa Thornley organized a group of people early New Years Eve for one final ride with Powell, traveling the entire length of the Red Line from Howard Street to 95th Street and back, handing out thank you cards for commuters to sign and giving out free doughnuts along the route.

Photographer and onetime Chicagoist contributor Jill Howe rode with Thornley and her group and offered to share some of her photos with Chicagoist. Howe said, "CTA was all smiles and goodwill—a miracle, no one would argue."