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The Green Line is a rapid transit line on the Chicago Transit Authority's "L" system. It is the only completely elevated route in the entire system.[1] It utilizes the system's oldest segments (dating back to 1892), extending 20.695 miles (33.305 km) with 30 stops between Forest Park and Oak Park (Harlem/Lake), through Chicago's West Side to the Loop, and then to the South Side and West Englewood (Ashland/63rd) and Woodlawn (Cottage Grove/63rd). As of September 2012, the average number of weekday boardings on the Green Line was 70,554.

Green Line
Green Line at 51st Street.jpg
A Green Line train of 5000-series cars at 51st.
TypeRapid transit
SystemChicago "L"
LocaleChicago, Oak Park and Forest Park, Illinois, United States
Ashland/63rd, Cottage Grove
Daily ridership70,554
(avg. weekday September 2012)
WebsiteCTA Green Line
OpenedFebruary 21, 1993 (Current operation)
Operator(s)Chicago Transit Authority
Rolling stock5000-series
Line length20.695 mi (33.305 km)
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Minimum radius90 feet (27 m)
ElectrificationThird rail, 600 V DC
Route map

Harlem/Lake Bus interchange
Oak Park Bus interchange
Ridgeland Bus interchange
Austin Bus interchange
Central Bus interchange
Laramie Bus interchange
Cicero Bus interchange
Pulaski Bus interchange
Central Park Drive
Kedzie Bus interchange
California Bus interchange
Pink Line
to 54th/Cermak
Ashland Bus interchange
Clinton Bus interchange
Pink, Purple, Brown
and Orange Lines
Clark/Lake Bus interchange
State/Lake Bus interchange
Randolph/Wabash Bus interchange
Washington/​Wabash Bus interchange
Adams/Wabash Bus interchange
Pink, Purple, Brown
and Orange Lines
Roosevelt Bus interchange
Orange Line
to Midway Pictograms-nps-airport.svg
McCormick Place
Bus interchange
35th–Bronzeville–IIT Bus interchange
Indiana Bus interchange
43rd Bus interchange
47th Bus interchange
51st Bus interchange
Garfield Park and ride Bus interchange
King Drive Bus interchange
Cottage Grove Bus interchange
Red Line
to 95th/Dan Ryan
Halsted Bus interchange
Ashland/63rd Park and ride Bus interchange
Station demolished
during construction
Direct connection
outside of paid area
Other line sharing
Green Line tracks
Multiple lines sharing
Green Line tracks



Lake Street ElevatedEdit

Harlem and Lake Green Line entrance in Forest Park/Oak Park
Green Line train car #5129 getting cleaned at the Harlem yard

Beginning at the yard and inspection facilities in Forest Park, the Green Line runs east through Oak Park towards the city on an embankment adjacent to Metra's Union Pacific/West Line tracks from the Harlem Avenue terminal, on the border of Oak Park and Forest Park, to a point just west of Laramie Avenue. Here the Green Line tracks leaves the railroad embankment and continues east on a steel elevated structure directly above Lake Street, a major east–west thoroughfare. The "L" bridges a couple of railroad tracks before entering downtown Chicago at Clinton Street. East of Clinton Street, the route bridges Metra's Union Pacific railroad tracks (which terminate just south of here at Ogilvie Transportation Center) and the Chicago River before joining the Union Loop "L" tracks at Wells Street.

The Lake Street Elevated bridge over the Chicago River at night

The LoopEdit

Northward view from the Adams/Wabash station at night

In downtown Chicago, the Green Line operates over the famous Union Loop "L" structure along with Brown Line (Ravenswood), Orange Line (Midway), Pink Line (Douglas) and Purple Line Express (weekday rush hours only) trains. However, Green Line trains operate both ways over the Lake Street and Wabash Avenue sides only, and does not use the Wells Street and Van Buren Street sides of the Loop.

The Green Line is the only line in the "L" system that has two entry/exit points to the elevated Loop, and the only route that uses the Loop but does not terminate there. Its route uses the Wabash and Lake sides of the Loop, which are also used by the Orange, Pink, Purple and Brown Lines, which operate around the Loop and then return to their route terminal.

South Side ElevatedEdit

A southbound train passes over the McCormick Tribune Campus Center at the Illinois Institute of Technology

Leaving the Loop at Tower 12, the tracks continue along Wabash Avenue and follows an "S" curve (which was realigned in 2002) to the west and south now following the alley between Wabash Avenue and State Street to 40th Street. This 3.8 mile section is the oldest part of Chicago's "L" system. On this segment, the Green Line shares tracks with the Orange Line between the Loop and 17th Street. Passengers can transfer between the two lines at Roosevelt/Wabash station. The other stations on this section are at Cermak–McCormick Place and 35th–Bronzeville–IIT, adjacent the Illinois Institute of Technology campus and the Chicago Police Department Headquarters. At 40th Street, the route turns east to Indiana station, then turns south between Calumet and Prairie Avenues to the Garfield station and continues south to 59th Street where the route splits into two branches—the Englewood (Ashland/63rd) branch and the Jackson Park (East 63rd) branch. Prior to 1994 (and the Green Line's major renovation) the East 63rd branch extended as far east as Stony Island Avenue. It was shortened to University in 1982 and Cottage Grove in 1996.

Ashland branchEdit

The Englewood branch's Ashland/63rd station and terminal

The Ashland branch continues south and west following 59th Street, Princeton Avenue and 63rd Street to the Ashland terminal in West Englewood. The yard and inspection shop lie to the south between the old Racine station and the Ashland/63rd terminal. The "L" tracks continues west to a stub end at Hermitage Avenue, a prediction for a future extension of the route westward, however, those plans were cancelled in the late 1970s. Prior to 1992, the Englewood branch had two additional stops at Wentworth and Harvard, closed by the CTA for service cuts. Halsted/63rd is the only remaining stop on the 3.1 miles (5.0 km) route.

The Englewood branch was permanently renamed the Ashland branch as of March 2013 according to the CTA.

Jackson Park branchEdit

Cottage Grove station

The Jackson Park branch continues south from the mainline between Calumet and Prairie Avenues, passing the old yard and inspection facilities at 61st Street in Washington Park. South of here, the route curves east over 63rd Street and follows it to the current terminal at Cottage Grove/63rd in Woodlawn. Prior to 1994, the Jackson Park branch of the Green Line once terminated at University/63rd and before that, at Stony Island/63rd from 1893 until 1982. In addition to losing the University/63rd station, the Jackson Park branch also lost the 61st Street station and the 58th Street station in 1994.

Operating hours and headwaysEdit

The Green Line operates between Harlem/Lake and Cottage Grove, weekdays from 4 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m., and between Harlem/Lake and Ashland/63rd, weekdays from 3:50 a.m. to 1:05 a.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 4:50 a.m. to 1:05 a.m. On the trunk of the Green Line between Harlem/Lake and Garfield, headways operate weekdays at seven to twelve minutes during rush hour and early evening, and ten minutes middays. On the weekends, Saturday service operates every ten minutes all day, with Sunday service operating every twelve minutes all day. Night service after 10 p.m. operates every 15 minutes. On the Ashland/63rd and Cottage Grove branches, headways double to 15-30 minutes throughout service times.[2]

Rolling stockEdit

The Green Line is operated with the Bombardier-built 5000-series railcars. The 5000-series cars officially began running on the Green Line on July 1, 2012 after the Pink Line became fully equipped with the new cars. As additional 5000-series cars were assigned to the Green Line, the remaining 2400-series cars were reassigned to the Red, Purple and Orange Lines to finish their service lives. Occasionally, 2600-series and 3200-series railcars were used on the Green Line, though these were loaned from the Blue, Brown, and Orange Lines, and only when the Green Line was short on cars. With the 5000-series cars now completely equipping the Green Line fleet after the last of the 2400-series cars were reassigned in mid-May 2013, the borrowing of 2600-series cars and 3200-series cars is no longer necessary. The Green Line was the second line to be fully equipped with the 5000-series cars, following the Pink Line. Frequently, the Green and Pink Lines borrow each other's cars when either line is short on cars. Trains operate using six cars during weekday rush hours and four cars during other times on weekdays and all day on weekends.


Chicago Transit Authority control tower 18 guides Chicago "L" trains, north and southbound Purple and Brown lines intersecting with east and westbound Pink and Green lines and the Orange line above the Wells and Lake street intersection in the loop.

The Green Line operates over the two oldest sections of the Chicago "L". The South Side section started operation in 1892 when Chicago was preparing for the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Jackson Park. The initial section was built to provide service between downtown Chicago and the exposition site. This first section of the Chicago and South Side Rapid Transit Railroad between Wabash Avenue and State Street went into service on June 6, 1892.[3] It extended from Congress Street only as far south as 39th Street (Pershing Road). At that time a large part of the south side was little more than prairie, but by May 1, 1893, when the pioneer "L" line was completed to Jackson Park, construction of homes, apartment buildings and commercial properties was booming in the area.

Continued expansion of the area development was reflected in construction of the Englewood, Normal Park, Kenwood and Stock Yards branches of the South Side "L" between 1905 and 1908. Of these, only the Englewood and Jackson Park branches remain: because of insufficient patronage, the Normal Park, Stock Yards and Kenwood branches were closed in the 1950s.

View from Ashland station along the Lake Street section of the Green Line
Pink and Green line elevated tracks crossing Franklin Street in the Loop

The Lake Street Elevated was Chicago's second rapid transit line. It began operation from a terminal at Madison and Market streets to Lake Street and California Avenue on November 6, 1893.[4] The line was gradually extended westward to Laramie Avenue on April 29, 1894; to Austin Avenue on April 15, 1899;[5] to Wisconsin Avenue, Oak Park using street railway trackage on May 15, 1899 (closed in 1902), and to Marengo Avenue, Forest Park, on May 14, 1910.

The construction of the Lake Street Elevated led to a political quarrel in west suburban Cicero, Illinois, which at the time included Oak Park and Austin. In 1898, Austinites, having a majority on Cicero's town council, used political influence to allow the extension of the Lake Street line from the city border at Laramie Avenue (then called 52nd Avenue) into their community. This infuriated other Cicero residents, who retaliated the following year by holding a joint election to force Austin's annexation to the City of Chicago. Much to the dismay of local residents, this effort succeeded, and Austin became part of Chicago in 1899. A century later, Oak Park commuters, who had come to depend on the service, were among the most vocal critics of the Green Line's closure for rehabilitation.

From 1949 until 1993, the Englewood and Jackson Park branches were part of the North–South Route in various service configurations operating from the north side through the Loop and to the south side. On October 17, 1943, the Englewood and Jackson Park services were rerouted into the State Street Subway to provide improved crosstown access through the heart of city and to alleviate congestion on the over-crowded Union Loop Elevated. On July 31, 1949, during the north–south rapid transit service revision by the CTA, the Howard–Englewood/Jackson Park route was created, operating via the State Street subway, using the 13th Street portal.

On May 6, 1969, the Englewood branch was extended to the current terminal at Ashland/63rd. On December 12, 1982, the Jackson Park branch was shortened to University because of structural deterioration at the Dorchester Bridge which carried the route across the Illinois Central Railroad to the former Stony Island/63rd terminal which closed on March 4, 1982 and was later demolished.

The Lake Street "L" would remain unchanged until 1948, when a number of its historic passenger stations were closed and demolished in an attempt to promote the "A" and "B" skip-stop express train service (discontinued on the Green Line upon its reconfiguration in 1993). On October 28, 1962, the western two and one-half mile section of the line which operated at street level was elevated along the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad right-of-way opening new elevated stops at Central, Austin, Ridgeland, Oak Park and Harlem. On September 28, 1969, the Lake Street branch was paired with the new Dan Ryan Line to form the West–South Route, operating from Forest Park through downtown via the Union Loop "L" to 95th/Dan Ryan. The Lake–Dan Ryan routing was to fulfill the service implementation outlined in the 1968 Chicago Central Area Transit Plan. However, when that controversial subway project was cancelled in 1979, Lake–Dan Ryan service remained and lasted for 24 years.

On February 21, 1993, the south side sections of the North–South and West–South Routes were switched south of Roosevelt Road, creating the current Red Line (Howard–Dan Ryan) and the Green Line (Lake–Englewood/Jackson Park)

On January 9, 1994, the Green Line closed for the largest transit rehabilitation project in the city's history. The Green Line reopened on May 12, 1996, with much of the renewal work completed and with the exception of a few stations. Six stations were closed permanently following the rehabilitation project, which angered many commuters who depend on the Green Line. In September 1997, after political pressure brought on by community leaders, the Jackson Park branch was shortened again from University to Cottage Grove after previous attempts by the City, CTA and other agencies to extend the route eastward to Dorchester, immediately west of the Illinois Central Railroad. This had seemed logical to the Dorchester Terminal, due to the fact that the Metra Electric District and South Shore Line both share a station along the IC ROW, at 63rd Street.

On April 26, 1998, the Green Line, like the Purple Line and the Douglas branch of the Blue Line lost its 24-hour service due to budget cuts and operates only between the hours of 4 a.m. and 1 a.m weekdays.


On February 4, 1977, an accident occurred on the sharp left-hand curve at Wabash/Lake. Two trains were involved, one was the Ravenswood Line (today's Brown Line) with the second being the Lake-Dan Ryan Line (parts of today's Red and Green Line). The Ravenswood train was stopped waiting for the clearance to proceed. The motorman of the Lake-Dan Ryan train failed to see the signals warning him of a stopped train. What occurred was a rear-end collision, the initial collision was only minor. However the motorman continued to apply power forward; which led to three cars being pushed off the elevated tracks to the street below. The fourth car was dangling while still attached to the other four cars on the track. 11 deaths were reported with more than 180 injuries.[6]

On May 28, 2008, a derailment was reported, with approximately 24 injuries. Two train cars on the four-car train appeared to be derailed, with the leading car abutting the one behind it at an angle of approximately 150 degrees. The train cars were separated at a switching point near 59th Street.[7]

On August 5, 2015, a derailment was reported near 63rd and Calumet in Chicago's Washington Park neighborhood. The train derailed around 2:40 p.m., the third of the four-car train was the one to derail. No one was injured, firefighters had to help over 80 passengers off the train; two of which were in wheelchairs. Service was suspended between the Cottage Grove and Garfield stops. Service was back to normal in the affected stops around 7:15 p.m.[8]

Points of interestEdit

The Green Line provides access to other destinations, the Garfield Park Conservatory (Conservatory–Central Park Drive), United Center (Ashland) James R. Thompson Center, Richard J. Daley Center and City Hall–Cook County Building (Clark/Lake), Millennium Park (Washington/Wabash), the Art Institute of Chicago (Adams/Wabash), the Auditorium Building of Roosevelt University, Museum Campus and Soldier Field (Roosevelt/Wabash), the Illinois Institute of Technology and Guaranteed Rate Field (White Sox Park) (35th–Bronzeville–IIT), the University of Chicago (Garfield) and Kennedy–King College (Halsted/63rd). The Clinton/Lake and Washington/Wabash stops are useful for reaching Metra and South Shore Line trains at the Ogilvie Transportation Center and Millennium Station.

Station listingEdit

Station Location Municipality Points of interest and notes
Harlem/Lake   1 S. Harlem Avenue Oak Park / Forest Park Points of interest:

Downtown Oak Park, transfer to Oak Park (Metra), Forest Preserve District of Cook County Headquarters
  Metra trains: Union Pacific / West Line (at Oak Park)
  CTA buses: 90 Harlem
  Pace buses: 307 Harlem, 309 Lake Street, 313 St. Charles Road, 318 West North Avenue, 757 Oak Park/Schaumburg Limited, and 770 Brookfield Zoo Express/CTA Green Line

Oak Park 100 S. Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park Oak Park Points of interest:

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, Unity Temple, Ernest Hemingway Museum & Brithplace, Oak Park Public Library
  Pace buses: 309 Lake Street, 311 Oak Park Avenue, and 313 St. Charles Road

Ridgeland 36 S. Ridgeland Avenue Points of interest:

Oak Park and River Forest High School
  CTA buses: 86 Narragansett/Ridgeland
  Pace buses: 309 Lake Street, 313 St. Charles Road, and 315 Austin-Ridgeland

Austin 351 N. Austin Boulevard Chicago Connections:

  CTA buses: N20 Madison and 91 Austin
  Pace buses: 309 Lake Street and 313 St. Charles Road

Central   350 N. Central Avenue Points of interest:

Columbus Park, Walser House, and Austin Town Hall
  CTA buses: 85 Central

Laramie   5148 W. Lake Street Connections:

  CTA buses: 57 Laramie

Cicero   4800 W. Lake Street Points of interest:

Former Brach's Candy Factory
  CTA buses: 54 Cicero
  Pace buses: 392 Green Line Cicero CTA/UPS Hodgkins

Pulaski   4000 W. Lake Street Points of interest:

Chicago Public Library Legler branch
  CTA buses: 53 Pulaski

Conservatory–Central Park Drive   3630 W. Lake Street Points of interest:

Garfield Park Conservatory, Garfield Park Field house

Homan 3400 W. Lake Street Closed January 9, 1994; structure reused for Conservatory–Central Park Drive
Kedzie   3200 W. Lake Street Connections:

  Metra trains: Union Pacific / West Line (at Kedzie)
  CTA buses: 52 Kedzie/California

California   2800 W. Lake Street Points of interest:

Chicago Center for Green Technology
  CTA buses: 94 South California

Damen   2000 W. Lake Street Announced February 9, 2017[9]
Ashland   1601 W. Lake Street Points of interest:

United Center (Home of the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Blackhawks), Union Park
  CTA "L" trains: Pink Line
  CTA buses: 9 Ashland, and X9 Ashland Express

Morgan   958 W. Lake Street Points of interest:

UIC, Greektown, Coyne College, Fulton Market District

Halsted 800 W. Lake Street Closed January 9, 1994
Clinton   540 W. Lake Street Points of interest:

Chicago Transit Authority Headquarters
  CTA "L" trains: Pink Line
  Metra trains: Union Pacific / North Line, Union Pacific / Northwest Line, and Union Pacific / West Line (at Ogilvie Transportation Center)
  CTA buses: J14 Jeffery Jump, 56 Milwaukee, and 125 Water Tower Express

Clark/Lake   100/124 W. Lake Street Points of interest:

James R. Thompson Center and Richard J. Daley Center
  CTA "L" trains: Purple, Orange, Blue, Brown, and Pink Lines
  CTA buses: 22 Clark, 24 Wentworth, 134 Stockton/LaSalle Express, 135 Clarendon/LaSalle Express, 136 Sheridan/LaSalle Express, and 156 LaSalle

State/Lake 200 N. State Street Points of interest:

Chicago Theatre, Gene Siskel Film Center, Harold Washington College
  CTA "L" trains: Red Line (at Lake)
  CTA buses: 2 Hyde Park Express, 6 Jackson Park Express, 10 Museum of Science and Industry, 29 State, 36 Broadway, 62 Archer, and 146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express


151 N. Wabash Avenue Closed September 3, 2017; demolished and replaced by Washington/Wabash
Washington/Wabash   29 N. Wabash Avenue Consolidation of Madison/Wabash and Randolph/Wabash. Opened August 31, 2017

Points of interest:
Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park
  Metra trains: Metra Electric District (at Millennium Station)
  South Shore Line (at Millennium Station)
  CTA buses: J14 Jeffery Jump, 20 Madison, 56 Milwaukee, 60 Blue Island/26th, 124 Navy Pier, 147 Outer Drive Express, 151 Sheridan, and 157 Streeterville/Taylor

Madison/Wabash 2 N. Wabash Avenue Closed March 16, 2015; demolished and replaced by Washington/Wabash
Adams/Wabash 201/223 S. Wabash Ave. Points of interest:

Grant Park, Petrillo Music Shell, Buckingham Fountain, Art Institute of Chicago, Orchestra Hall, and DePaul University
  CTA "L" trains: Purple, Orange, Brown, and Pink Lines
  CTA buses: 1 Bronzeville/Union Station, 7 Harrison, 28 Stony Island, 126 Jackson, and 151 Sheridan

Roosevelt   22 E. Roosevelt Road Points of interest:

Field Museum of Natural History, Soldier Field, Shedd Aquarium, and Adler Planetarium
  CTA "L" trains: Orange and Red Lines
  Metra trains: Metra Electric District (at Museum Campus/11th Street)
  South Shore Line (at Museum Campus/11th Street)
  CTA buses: 12 Roosevelt, 18 16th/18th, 29 State, 62 Archer, 130 Museum Campus, 146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express, and 192 University of Chicago Hospitals Express

Cermak–McCormick Place   12 E. Cermak Road Points of interest:

McCormick Place, Wintrust Arena, and Motor Row District
  CTA buses: 21 Cermak

35th–Bronzeville–IIT   16 E. 35th Street Points of interest:

Illinois Institute of Technology, Shimer College, De La Salle Institute, Chicago Police Headquarters, Douglas Tomb State Memorial, Pilgrim Baptist Church, Victory Sculpture, Chicago Defender Building, Eighth Regiment Armory, Guaranteed Rate Field, Black Metropolis-Bronzeville District, and Bronzeville
  Metra trains: Rock Island District (at 35th Street)
  CTA buses: 29 State, 31 31st, and 35 31st/35th

Indiana   4003 S. Indiana Avenue Former terminal for Stock Yards and Kenwood Lines

Points of interest:
Wendell Phillips Academy High School, and South Side Community Art Center
  CTA buses: 39 Pershing

43rd   314 E. 43rd Street Points of interest:

North Kenwood District, and King College Prep High School
  CTA buses: 43 43rd

47th   314 E. 47th Street Points of interest:

Harold Washington Cultural Center, and Robert S. Abbott House
  CTA buses: 47 47th

51st   319 E. 51st Street Points of interest:

Provident Hospital of Cook County, KAM Isaiah Israel, Kenwood Academy, and Barack Obama House
  CTA buses: 15 Jeffery Local

Garfield     320 E. Garfield Boulevard Transfer between Ashland and Cottage Grove bound trains

Points of interest:
Museum of Science and Industry, Washington Park, University of Chicago, DuSable Museum of African American History, and Historic Garfield Station Entrance
  CTA buses: 55 Garfield

58th 320/324 E. 58th Street Closed January 9, 1994
Halsted   6321 S. Halsted Street Englewood branch

Points of interest:
Kennedy-King College, Whole Foods Market, Englewood
  CTA buses: 8 Halsted and 63 63rd

Racine 6314-16 S. Racine Avenue Englewood branch, closed January 9, 1994
Ashland/63rd     6315 S. Ashland Avenue Englewood branch

Points of interest:
Englewood, West Englewood
  CTA buses: 9 Ashland and 63 63rd

61st 316 E. 61st St. Jackson Park branch, Closed January 9, 1994
King Drive   400 E. 63rd St. Jackson Park branch, inbound boarding only

Points of interest:
  CTA buses: 3 King Drive, N4 Cottage Grove, and 63 63rd

Cottage Grove   800 E. 63rd St. Jackson Park branch

Points of interest:
University of Chicago, University of Chicago Medical Center, Jackson Park, Oak Woods Cemetery, and Woodlawn
  CTA buses: 4 Cottage Grove and 63 63rd

University 1200 E. 63rd St. Jackson Park branch, closed January 9, 1994
Dorchester 1400 E. 63rd St. Jackson Park branch. Closed January 13, 1973, partially rebuilt during Green Line rehab then demolished


  1. ^ – Chicago Green Line
  2. ^ "Green Line Trains schedule" (PDF). Chicago Transit Authority. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  3. ^ "Running on the "L."". Chicago Daily Tribune. June 7, 1892. p. 9.
  4. ^ "Crowds on Lake Street "L."". Chicago Daily Tribune. November 7, 1893. p. 8.
  5. ^ "Austin Hails Five-Cent Fares". Chicago Daily Tribune. April 15, 1899. p. 5.
  6. ^ Krambles, George; Peterson, Arthur H. (1993). CTA at 45. Oak Park, IL, U.S.A: Published for the George Krambles Transit Scholarship Foundation. p. 116. ISBN 9780963796547.
  7. ^ Several Minor Injuries In Green Line Derailment
  8. ^ "CTA Green Line train derails at 63rd, Calumet". ABC7 Chicago. Retrieved 2015-08-05.
  9. ^ Wisniewski, Mary (February 9, 2017). "City plans new CTA Green Line station at Damen, near United Center". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 9, 2017.

External linksEdit