CTA's century-old rail cars will be riding around the Loop for a limited time this weekend. Credit: Chicago Transit Authority

DOWNTOWN — The oldest railcars in the Chicago Transit Authority’s fleet date to the 1920s. A century later, riders will get to ride the vintage “L” cars around the Loop.

The CTA will run the 4000-series railcars in the Loop from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.

Cars 4271-4272 in the CTA’s Heritage Fleet feature the same burnt orange and brown color scheme from the 1940s, as well as replica advertisements from the era.

CTA crew members will be making announcements on the train throughout the ride, offering up history about the railcar sets.

“The 4000-series railcars and the entire Heritage Fleet are a treasure not just in CTA’s history, but the city of Chicago’s history too, and Chicagoans of all ages are welcome to come out and experience this century-old gem,” CTA President Dorval R. Carter Jr. said in a statement.

In the late 1970s, sets 4271-4272 were preserved by the CTA and brought to Skokie Shops for restoration, as they needed the least amount of work compared to other railcars.

The remaining 4000-series railcars were discontinued following a collision with a passenger train in 1977. The railcars weren’t equipped with cab signal systems, so they are brought out only for special occasions, like the CTA’s 75th anniversary last year.

“How often do you get to see a 100-year old vehicle out in public running? It’s truly a unique experience,” said Brian Steele, CTA vice president of communications and marketing. “There is no other place to see 100-year-old railcars riding the track where they originally ran.”

The CTA is also celebrating the 50th anniversary of regular passenger service and will be offering commemorative posters Saturday at the Washington-Wells stop, at the south end of the inner platform.

“We are always looking for new opportunities to share not only our vehicles, but other parts of CTA’s really rich history,” Steele said. “CTA’s history is Chicago’s history, and Chicago’s history encompasses the CTA.”

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