Leland Interlocking is seen looking south on March 9, 2015, its first day officially in service. At this point, the interlocking consists of home signals on each track at each end of the interlocking, and a single switch that allows Track 1 to merge into Track 2. The tower is the hut on the left, located at the far south end of the Lawrence station platform. For a larger view, click here. (CTA Photo)

Leland Tower
Leland Avenue and Broadway, Uptown

Service Notes:

Services:

Red Line: Howard

Purple Line: Evanston Express

Quick Facts:

Established: 2015
Rebuilt: n/a
Status: In Use

Profile:

The universal crossover at Leland between Tracks 1 and 2 is seen looking south as it existed on September 29, 2005. For a larger view, click here. (Graham Garfield photo)

By the end of the 1990s, a set of crossovers between Tracks 1 and 2 on the North Side Main Line, located between Lawrence station and Leland Avenue, was referred to as Leland Crossover. This arrangement of switches -- a left-hand crossover from Track 1 to Track 2 and a right-hand crossover from Track 2 to Track 1, were the last remnants of a more complex set of crossovers that once existed here, which were interlocked and controlled by a tower called Lawrence Tower until 1961. See Lawrence Tower for the earlier history of these crossovers and the previous tower.

Between 2005 and 2007, the left-hand crossover from Track 1 to Track 2 was removed, leaving just the right-hand crossover from Track 2 to Track 1.

A new set of switches were added at Leland, with work beginning in 2013, which would be interlocked to allow remote (tower) and automatically controlled movement. These switches were needed to control the movement of trains between tracks for various phases of the Wilson Station Reconstruction Project, which were removed one track at a time through the station for reconstruction resulting in the services through the area being consolidated from four tracks to three. This interlocking plant was in the same general location as the old Lawrence Interlocking and tower, but continued to be named for Leland Avenue, which is closer to the actual location of the switches and tower than Lawrence Avenue is.

Construction crews completely replace Track 1 and 2 between Lawrence and Leland avenues, down to the trackbed, seen looking north on April 20, 2013. Special work for the new, future Leland Interlocking was installed as part of this project. For a larger view, click here. (Graham Garfield photo)

Track work to install the new turnouts for a new universal crossover between Tracks 1 and 2 was undertaken as part of life-extension improvement work undertaken at or near seven stations on the north Red Line in 2012-13. Each location included renovations to the station facilities as well as to the viaduct and the tracks near those stations. Work was performed by Contractor Kiewit Infrastructure Co. In April 2013, during one of several weekend track closures and reroutes required for the project, Tracks 1 and 2 were completely removed between Lawrence and Leland, with the trackbed re-graded and new ballast, ties and track laid down. The new track included the turnouts and special work needed for the new universal crossover -- a left-hand crossover from Track 1 to Track 2 on the north and a right-hand crossover from Track 2 to Track 1 immediately to the south -- but not the actual rails between the two switches.

Subsequently, as part of the Wilson Station Reconstruction Project, the necessary signal systems, wayside signals, and track trips were installed, along with the small tower hut at the far south end of the Lawrence station platform. The home signals in the normal direction of traffic on Tracks 1 and 2, the X2 and X4, were placed in service at 1000 hours on Monday, December 30, 2013. However, the actual track connections and final work would not be completed until March 2015, just before the interlocking needed to go into service.

As CTA prepared to begin a new phase of the Wilson Station Reconstruction Project, the final work to place Leland Interlocking was performed during a weekend closure of Tracks 1 and 2 and reroute of all trains to Tracks 3 and 4 over March 7-8, 2015. Over that weekend, the connection between Track 1 and the left-hand turnout onto Track 2 was made. This allowed southbound Purple Line Express trains to merge onto Track 2, required for the next phase of the Wilson project wherein the old Track 1 would be demolished and rebuilt from Leland to Montrose. In this configuration, Track 1 does not have a switch but rather the straight tracks were simply replaced with a curve that merged into the switch on Track 2 -- this made the connection simpler. Leland Interlocking officially came into service at 0400 hours on Monday, March 9, 2015. This began a multi-year period of three-track operations through Wilson station, similar to the operations for construction phasing that took place at Belmont and Fullerton in 2007-08 for those stations' reconstruction.

Top: The reconfigured Leland Interlocking is ready on the first day of phase 2 of the Wilson renovation project, on March 21, 2016. The signals weren't touched, but the tracks were reconfigured. For a larger view, click here. Above: Close-up view of the rerouted Track 2, curving into the trailing switch to merge into Track 1, as a 95th-bound Red Line passes through. For a larger view, click here. (Photos by Graham Garfield)

During this phase, the special work for the trailing right-hand switch on Track 1, for a future connection from Track 2 to Track 1, was in place south of the existing switch but remained unconnected, awaiting a future phase of the project. This future stage came when CTA began the second phase of the Wilson Station Reconstruction project, a milestone that marked the "one-third complete" stage for the project.

In phase 2 of the Wilson project, Red Line and Purple Line Express service continued to share one southbound track during weekday rush hours, but now shared the newly-opened Track 1, while Track 2 closed for demolition and reconstruction. The track arrangement at Leland Interlocking was effectively mirror-reversed from what it had been -- the curved track on Track 1 that led to the merging switch on Track 2 was removed and replaced with straight rail, connecting back into the track with a trailing right-hand switch along Track 1 that had been previously laid for this eventuality. Conversely, Track 2 was severed and a new right-hand curve was installed which merged Track 2 into Track 1, to allow southbound Red Line trains access to the rebuilt Track 1 through Wilson station. This new operating pattern took effect on March 21, 2016, following a weekend closure of Tracks 1 and 2 for replacement of the trackwork involved.

This arrangement continued for approximately six months until the switch from the second to the third phase of construction for the project, which occurred over the weekend of September 23-26, 2016. At this point, the new Track 2 was placed into service through Wilson station and the old Track 3 and 1900-vintage center island platform were removed from service for demolition. However, while Track 2 was the eventual southbound Red Line track, during phases 3 and 4 northbound Red Line trains used Track 2 and stop on the station's new west island platform. This meant that connections had to be made to Track 3 at each end so trains could make the transitions. North of Wilson station, in the area of Leland Interlocking, a temporary curved track was laid during the cutover weekend connecting the new Track 2 through the station to the existing Track 3 near Leland. No changes were made to the interlocked junction between Tracks 1 and 2 at this phase, as southbound Red and Purple line trains continued to merge and share Track 1 through Wilson station during this phase.

The Wilson Station Reconstruction Project was planned to transition from phase 3 to phase 4 in March 2017, with the new Track 3 through Wilson station coming into use and the old Track 4 closing for demolition and replacement. Northbound Purple Line trains would temporarily use the new Track 3, requiring connections to the old Track 4 north and south of the station. In the area of Leland Interlocking, a temporary curved track was laid during the cutover weekend connecting the new Track 3 through the station to the existing Track 4. No changes were made to the interlocked junction between Tracks 1 and 2 at this phase, or to the Track 2-to-Track 3 connection used by northbound Red Line trains at this time.

 


leland02.jpg (257k)
The state of Leland Crossover is seen looking south as it existed on October 6, 2012 -- the right-hand crossover from Track 2 to Track 1 remains, but the left-hand crossover from Track 1 to Track 2 which used to be immediately beyond it has been removed. A northbound Red Line train passes led by car 2730, but note which track it's on -- its presence on the outer express track, Track 4, instead of the usual Track 3 suggests that a reroute is in effect, probably for maintenance or construction elsewhere in the vicinity. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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A Loop-bound Purple Line Express train pass through Leland Interlocking the morning of March 9, 2015, the first day the interlocking was officially in service. The train's merging from Track 1 onto Track 2, which it would share with 95th-bound Red Line trains, signals the beginning of 'three-track operation' through Wilson station, part of the reconstruction phasing to allow Track 1 to be demolished and rebuilt. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Special work on Track 1 for a right-hand turnout was installed in 2013, but has yet to be brought into use. It was installed in anticipation of a future phase of Wilson Station Reconstruction wherein Leland Interlocking will be reconfigured to have trains from Track 2 merge onto Track 1 to allow the former track's demolition and reconstruction. (Photo by Graham Garfield)