When the State street subway construction was completed in 1943, fire-safe steel cars were in such demand that only 455 ran.

Rate this fact:

Construction of the State and Dearborn street happened largely because then-mayor Edward Kelly convinced the government they were "essential to the war effort."

Somewhat ironically, the war caused such a shortage of steel, that when the city purchased cars for the subway, which needed to be steel for fire safety, some of the only cars they could find (and afford) were thirty years old.

A few years later, in the 1950s, the availability and purchase of more cars resulted in quite the opposite of the shortage in '43: subway trains arrived up to every ninety seconds.