About the Cards
Photo Gallery
How To Build It
Tips & Techniques
Read More About It
Free Models
Order Cards
Elevated Train modelsL Train

Instructions for Orange Line, Blue Line and Green Line trains:

Before cutting out the body of the train, score the fold lines along the edges of the rooftop and where the sides meet the bottom panels of the train car. Note that the electrical boxes at the center of the train hang straight down while the flaps at the ends fold underneath.

The Blue Line cars have straight vertical side walls, while the Red, Green and Orange Line cars have sides which bulge outward slightly. There are fold lines marked at the ends of the train car which indicate where to score or bend the paper at a slight angle. The line just below the windows is a mountain fold, while the line at the bottom of the doors is a valley fold (see diagram at left).

After scoring, cut out the body of the train. Roll or curl the roof of the train against a round pencil or dowel to give it a slight curve.

Fold in the tabs at the ends of the car. Fold and glue the bottom panels under the train to create a long, open-ended tube.

Cut out the front and back ends of the train. Fold the pointed tabs back at a 90-degree angle. Fold along the vertical fold lines to give the front and back pieces a slight angle.

Tuck the tabs on the top and bottom of the end pieces inside the body of the train and glue in place. Make sure to match the front and back ends of the train as marked!


The long wheel pieces are valley-folded forward: score on the back of the card to make a straight, even fold. The printed wheels on the card should face outwards while the top part of the piece will be glued underneath the train car.
Cut out the couplers at the ends of the train. Fold the side tabs backwards and valley fold the bumper slightly forward so that the lower part will be vertical when connected to the rest of the train in the next step.
Glue the bumpers to the long wheel pieces with a little glue on the small triangle tabs. Strengthen the connection with a drop of glue on the inside of the corners after the first glue has dried.

Glue the wheels to the underside of the train. Match the front wheels to the front of the car and back wheels to the back of the car, as marked.

If you'd like to make a train which rolls on a model railroad, you can substitute N-scale couplers as explained on the Extra Projects page.

Your train is now finished! The full-sized L trains always travel in twos, coupled at the back end of each car. Why don't you build another one and have a complete set?

Instructions for Brown Line and Red Line trains:

First score the fold lines at the top of the walls. The walls of the Brown and Red Line trains bend outward slightly. There are fold lines indicated at the ends of the walls where the middle of the train wall bends outward slightly and the bottom of the wall bends in slightly. You can score the middle fold on the front and score the lower fold on the back, or you can press the paper against a ruler or sharp edge to give it a slight bend without scratching the paper.

Cut out the body of the train and score the fold lines for the tabs at the ends.

Roll or curl the roof of the train against a round pencil or dowel to give it a slight curve.

Score the folds marked on the underside of the train. Cut out the underside and fold the tabs inward. Glue the underside to the walls of the train one side at a time. Place the underside piece flush with the bottom edge of the train walls. The reverse fold on the tabs will match the reverse fold on the bottom of the walls and the top of the tabs will match the middle fold of the walls.


Cut out the ends of the train. Fold the top tabs back.

Glue the front end of the train to the front end of the walls and back to back end. Tuck the top tabs under the roof of the train and press the end pieces in place to match the shape of the walls of the train.

Cut out the wheels of the train. Fold each into a box shape. The flaps on the ends of the wheel pieces are glued inside the sides. The front wheels of the train have a wide bumper with a reverse fold.

Glue the two wheels into place on the underside of the train. Place the wheels with the front bumper at the front of the train.

If you'd like to make a train which rolls on a model railroad, you can substitute N-scale couplers as explained on the Extra Projects page.

Your train is now finished! The full-sized L trains always travel in twos, coupled at the back end of each car. Why don't you build another one and have a complete set?


Read more about CTA Elevated system



Copyright 2013 Matt Bergstrom