Pink Line (CTA)

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Pink Line
North Lawndale Sunset.jpg
A Pink Line train of 5000-series cars.
Type Rapid transit
System Chicago "L"
Status Operational
Locale Chicago and Cicero, Illinois, United States
Termini 54th/Cermak
The Loop
Stations 22
Daily ridership 33,737
(avg. weekday September 2012)
Opened June 25, 2006
Operator(s) Chicago Transit Authority
Character Elevated and Street Level
Rolling stock 5000-series
Line length 11.2 mi (18.0 km)
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Minimum radius 90 feet (27 m)
Electrification Third rail, 600 V DC
Route map
Blue Line
Van Buren
Ogilvie T’n
Green Line
to Harlem/Lake
Blue Line
Central Park

The Pink Line is an 11.2 mi (18.0 km) rapid transit line in Chicago, run by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) as part of the Chicago "L" system. It is CTA's newest rail line and began operation for a 180-day trial period on June 25, 2006, running between 54th/Cermak Station in Cicero, Illinois and the Loop in downtown Chicago. The route to the Loop follows tracks shared with Green Line trains on Lake Street, connected by the previously non-revenue Paulina Connector. In September 2012, the average weekday boardings on the Pink Line was 33,737. The Pink Line does not make any 'L' train transfers on the Douglas Branch. The Pink Line operates between 54th/Cermak and the Loop, weekdays from 4:05 a.m. to 1:25 a.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 5:05 a.m. to 1:25 a.m.

Initial proposal[edit]

Northward view from the Adams/Wabash station at night
Chicago Transit Authority control tower 18 guides elevated Chicago "L" north and southbound Purple and Brown lines intersecting with east and westbound Pink and Green lines and the looping Orange line above the Wells and Lake street intersection in the loop
Pink and Green line elevated tracks crossing Franklin Street in the Loop
The Lake Street Elevated bridge over the Chicago River at night

In January 2006, the CTA held hearings on its proposal to reroute trains from 54th/Cermak via the recently rebuilt Paulina Connector to the Lake Street Green Line tracks, then operating around the Loop clockwise for the first time since Douglas trains began using the Milwaukee-Dearborn Subway in downtown Chicago on June 22, 1958. This would allow a doubling of Blue Line trains to Forest Park on the Congress Line, since service would no longer be divided between the Forest Park and 54th/Cermak terminals. The CTA has also promised that service to/from 54th/Cermak would be increased 100% during weekday rush hours.

At the initial time of proposal, this plan was often referred to as the "Silver Line," as the original idea was to use grey as the line color on printed materials and give it the friendlier route name of "Silver."

On February 15, 2006, the CTA approved the separate plan. Non-rush hour trains would be routed via the Loop, Green Line tracks and Paulina Connector. During weekday rush hours, service would be available on this routing as well as the original route via the Dearborn Street Subway every half hour. These changes went into effect beginning June 25, 2006, with the trial period scheduled to end 180 days later on December 22, 2006.


As the Blue Line Douglas Branch[edit]

Originally, Douglas trains were operated by the Metropolitan West Side Elevated directly into the Loop by means of the Metropolitan's main line. Construction of the Congress Street Superhighway (known now as the Eisenhower Expressway, I-290) in the 1950s required the removal of the Metropolitan's main line, resulting in Douglas trains being routed to the Loop via the Paulina Connector and the Lake Street "L" similar to the current service. Upon completion of the new Congress branch in the median of the expressway, all trains of the Douglas branch were operated via the Milwaukee-Dearborn Subway to the city's Northwest Side and to O'Hare International Airport. The entire Douglas Branch is ADA accessible.

Converting to the Pink Line[edit]

On March 30, 2006, the Chicago Transit Authority announced that of the top three colors, Pink, Gold and Silver, Pink had received the most votes in a write-in essay contest for Chicago-area schoolchildren in kindergarten through 8th grade—a $1,000 savings bond was awarded to a selected essay writer who advocated the color pink.[1]

The Pink Line began operation on June 25, 2006, using the rebuilt Paulina Connector which had not been used in regular revenue service for 48 years.

The service, which was originally set up as a temporary service to be run for a trial period of 180 days (7 months), doubles service on both the Douglas branch and the Forest Park branch of the Blue Line. This is accomplished by routing all but 12 trains per day coming from O'Hare to Forest Park and adding entirely new service from the 54th/Cermak terminal in Cicero to the Loop via the Paulina Connector and the Lake Street branch of the Green Line. Pink Line trains operate clockwise on the Inner Loop track via Lake-Wabash-Van Buren-Wells before returning to 54th/Cermak.

On December 12, 2006, the CTA board approved a six-month extension to the trial period before making a decision on whether or not to make the changes permanent,[2] and another 180-day extension was added to the trial in June 2007.[3] On December 4, 2008, CTA announced its decision to make the Pink Line permanent.

Current routing[edit]

On the Pink Line, what was once the Blue Line's Douglas branch begins at 54th Avenue and Cermak Road in Cicero (5400 W. - 2200 S.). The line runs east on street level right-of-way just north of and parallel to Cermak Road from the terminal to about a quarter-mile (400 m) east of Cicero Avenue, then diagonals northeast until it reaches a corridor parallel and adjacent to 21st Street at Kostner Avenue. It then continues east between 21st Street and Cullerton Street, climbing up from surface level to elevated structure, through the North Lawndale, Little Village and Pilsen neighborhoods of Chicago, with stops at Kostner, Pulaski, Central Park, Kedzie, California, Western and Damen. The line turns north near Paulina Street stopping at 18th and Polk stations, then crosses over the Eisenhower Expressway (Interstate 290). Here, a two track non-revenue branch diverges that descends to the expressway to provide a non-revenue track connection to the Blue Line. It continues on the Paulina Connector to share tracks with the Green Line on Lake Street with stops at Ashland, Morgan and Clinton, before operating around the Loop clockwise.

Rolling stock[edit]

The Pink Line is operated with the Bombardier-built 5000-series railcars. Trains operate using four cars on weekdays and weekends. Frequently, the Pink and Green Lines borrow each other's cars when either line is short on cars. The 5000-series cars returned to the Pink Line on May 7, 2012. At the time of their reintroduction, all Pink Line consists using 5000-series cars were six cars long. As of mid-August 2012, the Pink Line was using 5000-series cars in four and six car consists and with the successful testing of the Pink Line 5000-series cars in four car consists during August, the Pink Line reverted to running four cars during most times of the day (with some of the 5000-series cars that had been assigned to the line, were reassigned to the Green Line). The last 2600-series cars were removed from service from the Pink Line on June 8, 2012, making the Pink Line the first line to be fully equipped with the 5000-series cars. Most of the Pink Line's 2600-series cars were reassigned to the Blue Line to replace its 2200-series cars.

Possible route to Ravenswood[edit]

In 2002, the CTA proposed the creation of the "Circle Line", which would utilize segments of existing rail lines to keep new construction to a minimum, in addition to 6.6 miles (10.6 km) of new subway and elevated segments to the 'L' system to complete the circumferential route. Maps additionally suggested a possible extension of the existing Brown Line beyond the Loop to 54th/Cermak via the Green Line and the Paulina Connector, and Orange Line service from Chicago Midway International Airport to Kimball, as other potential routings using the new infrastructure. This project is currently undergoing a standard federally mandated alternatives analysis.

Station listing[edit]

Pink Line (Cermak "Douglas" Branch)
Station Location Transfers Points of interest and notes
54th/Cermak Handicapped/disabled accessAiga parking inv.svg 2151 S. 54th Avenue, Cicero, Illinois Morton College, Chicago Motor Speedway, Morton East High School, Unity Junior High School

Auxiliary entrance at Laramie Avenue

Cicero Handicapped/disabled access 2134 S. Cicero Avenue, Cicero, Illinois Cicero, Hawthorne Works
Kostner Handicapped/disabled access 2019 S. Kostner Avenue Hawthorne Race Course, Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame
Formerly 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
Central Park Handicapped/disabled access 1944 S. Central Park Avenue South Lawndale, Little Village
Kedzie Handicapped/disabled access 1944 S. Kedzie Avenue Douglas Park, Our Lady of Tepeyac High School, WRLL Radio Station
California Handicapped/disabled access 2010 S. California Avenue Douglas Park, Cook County Jail, Little Village, Mount Sinai Medical Center
Western Handicapped/disabled access25 railtransportation.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

Formerly known as Hoyne (one block west of Damen) until 2002; became Damen on July 22, 2004 and Hoyne was converted into an auxiliary entrance

18th Handicapped/disabled access 1710 W. 18th Street Pilsen, St. Adalbert's, Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum
Polk Handicapped/disabled access 1713 W. Polk Street Illinois Medical District, University of Illinois at Chicago, Rush University, Rush University Medical Center, Little Italy
Pink Line (Lake Street Elevated)
Station Location Transfers Points of interest and notes
Ashland Handicapped/disabled access 1601 W. Lake Street      Green Line Near West Side, United Center, Jackson Boulevard District and Extension, Groesbeck House
Morgan Handicapped/disabled access 958 W. Lake Street UIC, Harpo Studios, Greektown, Coyne College, Fulton Market District
Clinton Handicapped/disabled access 25 railtransportation.svg 540 W. Lake Street Ogilvie Transportation Center, Chicago Transit Authority Headquarters
Pink Line (Loop)
Station Location Transfers Points of interest and notes
Clark/Lake Handicapped/disabled access 100 W. Lake Street      Blue Line
     Brown Line
     Green Line
     Orange Line
     Purple Line
James R. Thompson Center, Richard J. Daley Center

Transfer to Blue, Brown, Green, Orange, and Purple Line trains

State/Lake 200 N. State Street      Red Line (via Lake) Chicago Theatre, Gene Siskel Film Center, Harold Washington College

Transfer station for Red Line via Lake

Randolph/Wabash Metra or South Shore connection 151 N. Wabash Avenue Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park
Washington/Wabash TBD Consolidation of Madison/Wabash and Randolph/Wabash scheduled to open in 2017
Madison/Wabash 2 N. Wabash Avenue Closed March 16, 2015
Adams/Wabash 201-23 S. Wabash Avenue      Green Line
     Orange Line
Grant Park, Petrillo Music Shell, Buckingham Fountain, Art Institute of Chicago, Orchestra Hall, DePaul University
Harold Washington Library–State/Van Buren Handicapped/disabled access 1 W. Van Buren Street      Brown Line
     Orange Line
     Purple Line
     Red Line (via Jackson/State)
     Blue Line (via Jackson/Dearborn)
Harold Washington Library Center, DePaul University, Robert Morris University, John Marshall Law School, Chicago Bar Association and The Auditorium Building of Roosevelt University
LaSalle/Van Buren Metra or South Shore connection 121 W. Van Buren Street Chicago Board of Trade, Chicago Board Options Exchange
Quincy Metra or South Shore connection 220 S. Wells Street Willis Tower

Transfer station for Amtrak trains

Washington/Wells Handicapped/disabled access 100 N. Wells Street      Brown Line
     Purple Line
Chicago City Hall, Civic Opera House, Chicago Mercantile Exchange

After stopping at Washington/Wells, Pink Line trains return to Clinton, then make all stops back to 54th/Cermak.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chicago Transit Authority. And the color is... Pink Line. Last updated March 30, 2006. Retrieved March 30, 2006.
  2. ^ Monifa Thomas. "Nonstop airport trains on pause". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved 2006-12-19. 
  3. ^ "Agenda - Chicago Transit Board - Regular Meeting, June 13, 2007". Chicago Transit Authority. Retrieved 2007-08-19. [dead link]

External links[edit]

Route map: Bing / Google

KML is from Wikidata