The "el" ran to Oak Park Ave.
This is true. When I was very small, our street (Harvey), had a shack at the El track crossing, and an old guy watched over the pedestrians. I don't recall gates, but there surely had to be some there. A station stop was still located on Lombard then. This was maybe when I was 4 or 5; within a few years, the route was terminated at, I think, Laramie. We had to take a bus there to get on the El to go downtown.
The "third rail" was obviously visible at all the crossings, it stopped perhaps 30 or 40 feet short of the crossing sidewalk. I never heard of any kid or adult injured or killed by the third rail, though I knew for sure it was a lethal encounter for living things to touch it! Some had seen dogs killed by it. Our neighbor, Mrs. Conrad, had a brother who lived with them, worked for the El, conductor, I think, was killed when he fell off a platfporm, or car, onto the third rail. I believe they used 600 Volts D.C. In winter, icy or wet conditions caused lots of brilliant sparks as the contact "shoes" ran over them, a display certain to get a kid's attention! berwynson