Douglas branch

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Douglas branch
Douglas Branch junction.jpg
The non-revenue junction between the Douglas and Congress branch that used to serve Blue Line trains.
Type Rapid transit
System Chicago "L"
Status Operational
Locale Chicago, Illinois, United States
Cicero, Illinois
Termini 54th/Cermak
Stations 11
Services      Pink Line
Daily ridership 17,474 (average weekday Feb. 2013)
Opened April 28, 1896
Operator(s) Chicago Transit Authority
Character Elevated, Street Level
Rolling stock 5000-series
Line length 6.6 mi (10.6 km)
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification Third rail, 600 V DC
Route map
Paulina connector
Congress branch
Garfield Park branch | Main Line
14th Place
BNSF Railway Line
Douglas Park
BNSF Railway Line
Central Park
Pulaski Yard
Kildare Ave.
Kostner Ave.
Kilbourn Ave.
Belt Railway of Chicago
47th Ave.
47th Ct.
Cicero Ave.
49th Ave.
50th Ave.
Laramie Ave.
54th/Cermak Park and ride
54th Ave.
54th Yard
Central Ave.
58th Ave.
Austin Ave.
61st Ave.
Lombard Ave.
Ridgeland Ave.
Wesley Ave.
Oak Park

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.[1] The branch serves the Near West Side, Pilsen, Lower West Side, South Lawndale, and North Lawndale neighborhoods of Chicago, and the west suburb Cicero, Illinois. The branch operates from 4:05 a.m. to 1:25 a.m., weekdays, and Saturdays from 5:05 a.m. to 1:25 a.m., and Sundays from 5:00 a.m. to 1:25 a.m., 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.[2] On August 7, 1896, the Douglas Park branch was extended to Western Avenue.[3]

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).[2] On August 1, 1912, service was extended to 56th Avenue (Central Avenue)[4] 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.[5]

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.[6]

The stations at Roosevelt and Douglas Park were closed three months later.[2] On June 22, 1958, Douglas trains were rerouted to the West-Northwest route, 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.[7] 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 closed.[2]


In 1983, Polk and Cicero were rebuilt to make them ADA accessible 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, 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 use the name "Douglas" to refer to the line. In 1998, the branch lost its 24-hour service, along with the Purple and Green lines. On September 10, 2001, the CTA began a $363 million renovation project of the branch which was completed on January 8, 2005.[8] As of today, all eleven stations on the branch are ADA accessible.


The current Pink Line route was assigned to the Douglas branch on June 25, 2006.[9] The CTA ended Blue Line service on the Douglas branch on April 25, 2008.[2]

Station listing[edit]

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 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 Handicapped/disabled accessAiga parking inv.svg 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 2133 S. 50th Avenue, Cicero, Illinois Closed 1978; deconstructed, reassembled, and preserved in Illinois Railway Museum
Cicero Handicapped/disabled access 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 Handicapped/disabled access 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 Handicapped/disabled access 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 Handicapped/disabled access 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 Handicapped/disabled access 1944 S. Kedzie Avenue Douglas Park, Our Lady of Tepeyac High School
Douglas Park 2008 S. Marshall Boulevard Closed May 3, 1952
California Handicapped/disabled access 2010 S. California Avenue Douglas Park, Cook County Jail, Little Village, Mount Sinai Medical Center
Western Handicapped/disabled accessAiga railtransportation 25.svg 2010 S. Western Avenue Heart of Chicago, Heart of Italy, St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran School

Transfer to Metra trains at Western Avenue

Damen Handicapped/disabled access 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 Handicapped/disabled access 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 Handicapped/disabled access 1713 W. Polk Street Illinois Medical District, University of Illinois at Chicago, Rush University, Rush University Medical Center, Little Italy

Image gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Ridership Report: February 2013" (PDF). Chicago Transit Authority. Retrieved April 8, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Cermak (Douglas) branch Chicago"L".org. Accessed August 18, 2013
  3. ^ The Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad (Map). Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad. 1898. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  4. ^ Chicago Elevated Railroads (Map). Chicago Elevated Railways. 1913. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  5. ^ Know Chicago - Shealy's New Idea Street Guide for Quick Service (Map). J.P. Shealy Street Guide. 1925. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  6. ^ Chicago Transit Map (Map). Chicago Transit Authority. 1954. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  7. ^ Skokie Swift: "The Commuter's Friend" (Map). Chicago Transit Authority. 1965. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  8. ^ "Douglas branch renovation". Kiewit Corporation. Retrieved February 9, 2013. 
  9. ^ Groark, Virginia. "CTA Pink Line is ready for service". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 9, 2013.