The non-revenue junction between the Douglas and Congress Branch that used to serve Blue Line trains.
|Locale||Chicago, Illinois, USA
|Daily ridership||17,474 (average weekday Feb. 2013)|
|Opening||April 28, 1896|
|Operator(s)||Chicago Transit Authority|
|Character||Elevated, Surface level|
|Line length||6.6 mi (10.6 km)|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Electrification||Third rail, 600 V DC|
The Douglas Branch, also known as the Cermak Branch, is a 6.6 mi (10.6 km) long section of the Pink Line of the Chicago 'L' system run by the Chicago Transit Authority in Chicago, Illinois built by the Metropolitan West Side Elevated west of the Loop. As of February 2013, it serves an average of 17,474 passengers every weekday. The branch serves the Near West Side, Pilsen, Lower West Side, Marshall Square, and North Lawndale neighborhoods of Chicago, and the near west suburb Cicero, Illinois. The branch operates from 4am to 1am every day of the week, including holidays.
Initially known as the Douglas Park branch, construction began in June 1893 and the line was inaugurated on April 28, 1896 between Marshfield Avenue and 18th Street. The branch started off with four stations and was the shortest of the Metropolitan West Side Elevated. Construction time was longer than in other sections. On August 7, 1896, the Douglas Park Branch was extended to Western Avenue.
On June 29, 1900, the City of Chicago approved an extension of the branch to 40th Avenue (Pulaski Road) and construction took place in mid-June 1901. On March 10, 1902, the Douglas Park Branch was extended to Lawndale Avenue, which allowed the opening of four new stations: California, Kedzie, Homan, and Clifton Park (Drake).
On May 22, 1907, the Douglas Park Branch was extended to 46th Avenue (Kenton Avenue), which is the Chicago city limits. The station was a few meters from the Hawthorne plant of the Western Electric which was one of the largest employers in the area of Chicago at the time. On December 16, 1907, the Douglas Park Branch was extended to 48th Avenue (Cicero Avenue), extending service to the town of Cicero, Illinois.
On August 20, 1910, the Douglas Park Branch was extended to 52nd Avenue (Laramie Avenue). On August 1, 1912, service was extended to 56th Avenue (Central Avenue) and extended again to Lombard Avenue exactly three years later. The final stretch on the branch was to Oak Park Avenue, in Berwyn, Illinois, which opened on March 16, 1924.
On December 9, 1951, during the establishment of skip/stop A/B, the CTA streamlined service on the line and shut down five stations: 14th Place, Homan, Drake, Lawndale and Kenton, while opening a station at Central Park. On February 3, 1952, service on the Douglas line was suspended to all stations west of 54th Avenue. Service to these areas was replaced by a bus route.
The stations at Roosevelt and Douglas Park were closed three months later. On June 22, 1958, Douglas trains were rerouted to the West-Northwest route, utilizing the Congress Branch, the new line in the middle of the Eisenhower Expressway and connecting routes to the Milwaukee-Dearborn Subway, heading north to Logan Square. The new system changed the service and it was decided that all stations on the Douglas Branch would now be "B" and the Congress Branch would now be "A". In 1973, due to budget cuts, the 50th Avenue station was closed.
In 1983, Polk and Cicero were rebuilt to make them ADA compliant for passengers with disabilities. The poorly utilized Laramie station was closed to accelerate service the following year. In 1993, 18th Street was rebuilt to provide access for passengers with disabilities and the CTA color-coded the lines, placing the Douglas Branch as part of the Blue Line. In 1995, the A/B service was abandoned and all trains stop at every station, which in practice does not affect the service of the stations on the Douglas Branch. In 1996, the CTA changed the name of the branch to the Cermak Branch, although Chicagoans still primarily use the name "Douglas" to refer to the line. In 1998, the branch lost its 24-hour service (night service), along with four of the other lines. On September 10, 2001, the CTA began a $363 million renovation project which was completed January 8, 2005. As of today, all eleven stations on the branch are ADA compliant.
|Pink Line (Cermak "Douglas" Branch)|
|Station||Location||Points of interest and notes|
|Oak Park||Oak Park Avenue and 22nd Street||Closed February 3, 1952|
|Ridgeland||Ridgeland Avenue and 21st Street||Closed February 3, 1952|
|Lombard||Lombard Avenue and 21st Street||Closed February 3, 1952|
|Austin||Austin Boulevard and 21st Street||Closed February 3, 1952|
|58th Avenue||58th Avenue and 21st Street||Closed February 3, 1952|
|Central||Central Avenue and Cermak Road||Closed February 3, 1952
Originally known as 56th Avenue
|54th/Cermak||2151 S. 54th Avenue, Cicero, Illinois||Morton College, Chicago Motor Speedway, Morton East High School
Auxiliary entrance at Laramie Avenue
|Laramie||2130 S. Laramie Avenue, Cicero, Illinois||Closed February 9, 1992; reopened in December 2001 during Douglas Branch renovation and closed on August 16, 2003
Originally known as 52nd Avenue
|50th Avenue||2133 S. 50th Avenue, Cicero, Illinois||Closed 1978; deconstructed, reassembled, and preserved in Illinois Railway Museum|
|Cicero||2134 S. Cicero Avenue, Cicero, Illinois||Cicero, Hawthorne Works. Transfer to Metra trains at Cicero
Originally known as 48th Avenue
|Kenton||Cermak Road west of Kilbourn Avenue||Closed December 9, 1951|
|Kostner||2019 S. Kostner Avenue||Hawthorne Race Course, Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame
Originally known as Kildare (one block east of Kostner) until 2002; became Kostner July 17, 2003 and Kildare was converted into an auxiliary entrance
|Pulaski||2021 S. Pulaski Road||North Lawndale, Homan Square
Originally known as 40th Avenue Terminal and later Crawford Avenue.
|Lawndale||Lawndale Avenue and 21st Street||Closed December 9, 1951|
|Central Park||1944 S. Central Park Avenue||South Lawndale, Little Village|
|Drake||Drake Avenue and 21st Street||Closed December 9, 1951|
|Homan||Homan Avenue and 21st Street||Closed December 9, 1951|
|Kedzie||1944 S. Kedzie Avenue||Douglas Park, Our Lady of Tepeyac High School|
|Douglas Park||2008 S. Marshall Boulevard||Closed May 3, 1952|
|California||2010 S. California Avenue||Douglas Park, Cook County Jail, Little Village, Mount Sinai Medical Center|
|Western||2010 S. Western Avenue||Heart of Chicago, Heart of Italy, St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran School|
|Damen||2010 S. Damen Avenue||Lower West Side, Chicago International Produce Market, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School
Originally known as Hoyne (one block west of Damen) until 2002; became Damen on July 22, 2004 and Hoyne was converted into an auxiliary entrance
|Wood||Wood Street and 21st Street||Closed May 19, 1957|
|18th||1710 W. 18th Street||Pilsen, St. Adalbert's, Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum|
|14th Place||14th Place and Paulina Street||Closed December 9, 1951|
|Roosevelt||Roosevelt Road and Paulina Street||Closed May 3, 1952
Originally known as 12th Street
|Polk||1713 W. Polk Street||Illinois Medical District, University of Illinois at Chicago, Rush University, Rush University Medical Center, Little Italy|
An art wall sitting just outside the entrance at Western
The 18th Street station is built with art walls and structures
The Kedzie station has a wide-wooden platform with comfortable shelter for the passengers
The side entrance and small plaza at Central Park
- Douglas Branch at Chicago-l.org
- "Ridership Report: February 2013". Chicago Transit Authority. transitchicago.com. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
- Cermak (Douglas) branch Chicago"L".org. Accessed August 18, 2013
- Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad (1898). The Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad (Map). http://www.chicago-l.org/maps/route/maps/1898met-map.jpg. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
- Chicago Elevated Railways (1913). Chicago Elevated Railroads (Map). http://www.chicago-l.org/maps/route/maps/1913map.jpg. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
- J.P. Shealy Street Guide (1925). Know Chicago - Shealy's New Idea Street Guide for Quick Service (Map). http://www.chicago-l.org/maps/route/maps/1925guidemap.jpg. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
- Chicago Transit Authority (1954). Chicago Transit Map (Map). http://www.chicago-l.org/maps/route/maps/1954map.jpg. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
- Chicago Transit Authority (1965). Skokie Swift: "The Commuter's Friend" (Map). http://www.chicago-l.org/maps/route/maps/1965swift-map.jpg. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
- "Douglas Branch renovation". Kiewit Corporation. kiewit.com. Retrieved February 9, 2013.
- Groark, Virginia. "CTA Pink Line is ready for service". Chicago Tribune. articles.chicagotribune.com. Retrieved February 9, 2013.