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Chicago
Washington/Wells down
Clark/Lake downright
Merchandise Mart
320N
200W
Home<Chicago CTA<Brown Line<Merchandise Mart
Home<Chicago CTA<Purple Line Express (Rush Hours Only)><Merchandise Mart

Merchandise Mart is the first stop on the Brown Line and Purple Line Expresses after they finish circling the loop. In turn Loop-bound trains change their destination from Loop back to Kimball or Linden for their return trips. The stop is so close to the downtown loop, less than a quarter mile from Tower 18, the large four-way interlocking where trains leave the loop that the CTA 'L' diagram includes the station in the Loop Detail and not on the main map. The stop opened in 1930 to serve the new Merchandise Mart building and is located on an elevated structure above Wells Street and has two side platforms. It was renovated from 1988-1991 and wasn't part of the Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project. This means the station platforms have the standard design from that era with white railings and support beams that form a box-like structure and cross over both tracks with slightly oversized canopies extended beyond the platforms. For about a car length at each end of the platform the platforms are left exposed with modern lampposts. Surprisingly the platforms are made of wood and not concrete, this is probably because the Brown Line elevated structure is so old it can't handle the extra stress from the weight of concrete platform.

The main entrance to the station is extremely unusual with the Customer Assistant Booth and Vending Machines located on the second floor food court of the Merchandise Mart Building. After going through the turnstiles at this unique entrance passengers must go out one of two revolving doors and are than on a landing slightly above the level of the platforms. About five steps (on two different staircases) lead down to the northbound platform, along with an elevator that has three landings, the middle one being here for the platform entrance. A wide staircase along with this elevator leads up to a fully enclosed by the roof of the station overpass that leads to another elevator and two staircases down to the Loop-bound platform. This entrance is at about the 3rd car from the southern end of the station.

Each platform has an additional entrance and exit (which were exit only until June 4, 2010, Google Maps still shows them as such, Google Streetview) with a high farecard only entrance and exit turnstile on each platform that leads down to a staircase to the NE or NW corner of Kinzie and Wells Streets.
All Photos taken on 4 August, 2001

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A platform sign
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#3372 stops in the station
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Sign for the overpass
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The light is on only for Kimball (I think its just a light bulb's out, not intentional although the Purple Line doesn't run during middays)
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The entrances/exits directly to the street at the ends of the platforms
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Exit to Kinzie Street
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Bottom of the Enter With farecards only entrance from Kinzie Street
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The Kinzie Street farecards only entrance to the outbound platform
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Looking back to the staircases from Nelson Street
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The elevated entrance to the Mart directly from the platform
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The entrance inside the Merchandise Mart mall
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The staircase up to the overpass to the outbound platform or down to the Loop-bound platform
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Revolving doors into the Mart
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Going up to the overpass
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Sign for the Brown and purple line northbound platforms
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Staircase down to the Brown and Purple line northbound platforms
Home<Chicago CTA<Purple Line Express (Rush Hours Only)><Merchandise Mart
Home<Chicago CTA<Brown Line<Merchandise Mart

Last Updated: 27 September, 2012
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