CHICAGO — Approximately 5 million people turned out to celebrate the Chicago Cubs World Series victory, city officials said Friday.
The estimate from the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications includes fans that gathered at Wrigley Field to send off the buses carrying the team to the rally at Grant Park.
Though the city's population is only about 2.7 million people, people from all over the Midwest packed trains and roads in advance of the Friday rally.
Metra trains were packed to capacity all morning, and began passing some stations altogether. "L" trains have been loaded with Cubs fans before 6 a.m.
Michael Gillis, a Metra spokesman, confirmed that trains were passing some stops closer to the city as trains were too packed. He thanked riders for their patience on what he said will likely by one of the busiest days in the agency's history.
"It certainly was an extremely busy day," Gillis said. "It went about as well as expected."
Neither Metra nor CTA had official tallies on today's ridership as of Friday afternoon, but both commuter agencies said the day will likely be their busiest in history.
Currently the busiest day on CTA "L" lines was the game 3 of the World Series at Wrigley Field on Oct. 28, when 918,723 passengers rode CTA rail service, said spokesman Irene Ferradaz.
The second busiest day in CTA history? The Blackhawks 2015 parade day, when 914,768 people rode the "L", Ferradaz said.
Metra's busiest ever day was July 3, 2007, when 430,488 people rode trains to the Downtown fireworks display, Gillis said.
"Those were our busiest days, before our teams started winning championships," Gillis said of the Fourth of July displays. "[Friday] is going to be right at the top, if it isn't the top."
Fans lined up as early as 3 a.m. to get into Grant Park, where the rally began around 1 p.m. Fans also lined the Chicago River, where crews began dyeing it blue just after 7 a.m.
The timing worked out well for Chicago Public Schools students, who have the day off for a teacher development day.
The Cubs and Wrigley Field are 95 percent owned by an entity controlled by a trust established for the benefit of the family of Joe Ricketts, owner and CEO of DNAinfo.com. Joe Ricketts has no direct involvement in the management of the iconic team.