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Sign of the Season: CTA turns on all platform heat lamps

In another sign that winter is nipping at our heels, some 2,200 heat lamps will be ready for action across Chicago Transit Authority rail platforms by Friday.

The CTA typically begins activating its platform heat lamps in mid-October and completes the process by Nov. 1, CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said Thursday.

The result: a toasty shower of warmth, if needed, for those waiting on rail platforms below. Bus riders are out of luck; CTA bus stops are not heated.

Of the transit agency’s 145 rail stations, 125 have heat lamps, Chase said. That’s because the CTA does not install them in subway stations.

Two lamps each are contained in nearly 1,100 systemwide CTA electric heat fixtures that hold a surface temperature of 400 degrees when lit, Chase said. Customers activate the lamps by hitting a big button.

What’s the warming effect of a CTA heat lamp on a passenger standing below it? Chase couldn’t say exactly but the “closer you are, the warmer you are. There’s no measurement for that.”

Winter officially hits Dec. 21, and heat lamps will offer riders an extra layer of warmth all winter long — as well as beyond the Mar. 20 start of spring.

They won’t be turned off until Mar. 31.