This summer, the CTA took two of its 100-year-old railcars on a few spins around the Loop — a reminder that the L has lost both character and efficiency. Here’s what else we miss:

CTA token
Photograph: Smithsonian Institution Museum of American History

Tokens. Phased out in 1999, replaced with Ventra cards. But how many times has your card been rejected because you didn’t apply the right wrist action to your swipe? Tokens dropped right in.

Driver narration. Since 2002, a bland, recorded voice-over artist has recited each stop. Gone is the driver who announced: “Berwyn. Blockbuster Video. Make it a Blockbuster night.” RIP Blockbuster.

The old Wilson stop. It smelled like urine. The stairs were crumbling. But stepping into the next door “Uptown Station” building made you feel like Jimmy Stewart in Call Northside 777.

The Skokie Swift’s overhead wires. No worries about third-rail electrocution here, though city dwellers might have preferred that to the destination.