Harrison Junction
Harrison Street and Paulina Avenue, Near West Side

Service Notes:


Pink Line: 54/Cermak

Quick Facts:

Established: June 22, 1958
Original Line: West-Northwest Route, Congress-Douglas branches
Rebuilt: n/a
Status: In Use



Harrison Junction was established on June 22, 1958 when the Douglas branch was rerouted to join the new Congress Line. The elevated Douglas branch connected to the expressway median Congress Line by way of a long ramp descending into the depressed median, connecting at a junction located at Loomis Street, immediately west of Racine station. Operation of Douglas trains via the Paulina Connector and Lake Street elevated were discontinued. The Paulina Connector was removed from revenue service, although its entire length from Congress to Evergreen remained for the time, now with three connections to the rest of the system: Evergreen Junction (at the Milwaukee Elevated), Washington Junction (where it connected to the Lake Line) and a new Harrison Junction, at the connection between the Paulina Connector and the ramp from the Douglas to Congress Line. Harrison Junction was a manually-operated junction for the next several decades.

During 2004-05, new switches, relay houses, and a tower panel were installed at Harrison Junction. Effective Sunday, June 25, 2006, the majority of Douglas trains used a new Pink Line routing, sending them to the Loop via the Paulina Connector and Lake branch rather than to O'Hare via the Congress Line. There were, however, still some O'Hare-54th rush hour trains that still needed to access the Congress branch through Harrison Junction and the ramp down into the median. As such, the automatic interlocking logic at Harrison Junction was programmed to route all eastbound trains to the Paulina Connector. Blue Line trains operating from 54th/Cermak to O'Hare must use the wayside route selector to establish the proper lineup at Harrison Junction unless a towerman is staffing Harrison Tower. A tower panel is also located at the north end of the Loop-bound platform at Polk station, allowing the junction to the remotely controlled from the tower booth at the station.

As of 2007, Harrison Junction is operated with the automatic train sorting system, staffed only during rush periods and other high-traffic periods.

After a two-year experimental period, the CTA revised service on the Cermak branch to eliminate the rush period Blue Line trains, leaving the Pink Line to provide all service to 54th/Cermak. The last day of Blue Line Cermak service was Friday, April 25, 2008. Today, Harrison Tower is operated on automatic, with all revenue trains moving through the interlocking on the "main line" routing. Only nonrevenue trains use the diverging route to access the Blue Line.



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