A work train has passed through Lake Transfer on its way south on on July 25, 1955. This view, looking south from the abandoned upper-level Lake Transfer platform, shows the 1954--mid-60s configuration of the Paulina Connector, with the ramp to the Lake Line (still extant, at left) relative to the original Met Northwest branch (at right). Washington Junction is up ahead where the two lines merge. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Barney L. Stone, courtesy of the Krambles-Peterson Archive)


Washington Junction
Paulina Avenue and Washington Street, Near West Side

Service Notes:


Paulina Connector

Quick Facts:

Established: April 4, 1954
Original Line: Douglas/Paulina Connector & Lake Line
Rebuilt: n/a
Status: Demolished



During the construction of the Congress Line in the median of the Congress Street Superhighway (now the Eisenhower Expressway), Douglas trains were rerouted via the Lake Street elevated to reach the Loop. To accomplish this, a section of the nonrevenue Paulina Connector (the former Metropolitan Division Northwest branch) was reactivated. Originally, the Northwest branch passed over the Lake Street elevated, but did not have a junction with it. To get Douglas trains onto the Lake Street elevated, a new connection had to be built. Thus, a new connection was built from the Connector to the Lake Street elevated adjacent to the flyer-over and abandoned Lake Street Transfer station where the two crossed. The short, curved section of elevated structure met the Connector at Washington Junction and hooked into the Lake Line at what became Paulina Junction.

On April 4, 1954, the CTA reactivated the Paulina Connector between Congress and Lake and Paulina Junction came into use. Washington Junction was manually operated, as most trains took the diverging lineup from the Paulina Connector to the short connector track that led to the Lake Street elevated. Only nonrevenue trains used the portion of the Paulina Connector north of Washington Junction.

By the summer of 1958, construction of the new Congress Line was largely complete. As part of the project, a new ramp was designed and built in the vicinity of Paulina Street that connected the Douglas elevated with the median-level Congress Line. On June 22, 1958, the Congress Line officially opened. Henceforth, Douglas trains would be rerouted via this ramp to the Congress Line at Loomis Junction. Operations of Douglas trains via the Paulina Connector and Lake Street elevated was discontinued. The Paulina Connector was removed from revenue service once again, though 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 Harrison Junction (at the top of the new ramp between the Douglas and Congress lines).

In the years after the Congress Line opened, very few trains used the portion of the Paulina Connector north of Lake Street. A couple of fan trips used it, and a work train or two every now and then. Finally, in August 1964, it was decided to remove the portion of the Paulina Connector between Washington Junction and Evergreen Junction from service in preparation for demolition. Washington Junction was removed from service at that time. Actual demolition may not have occurred until about 1968. The switches were replaced with straight rails, although a slight jog in the Paulina Connector right-of-way at Washington Street belays the site of where Washington Junction once existed.