Home<Chicago CTA<Red Line<Cermak-Chinatown

Cermak-Chinatown is the most northern station on the Dan Ryan extension which opened on September 28, 1969. It is the only stop not located in the median of the expressway with trains leaving the expressway median just south of the station and entering a partially concrete ariel guideway that looks notably more modern than the much older steel 'L' elevated structures. The station is located above a parking lot (for Chinatown, not commuters). On the guideway trains run on ballast track, not over the standard wooden and steel of older elevated structures. Portions of the guideway are painted and the same light brown was used as is found on the older elevated. The other unusual feature of this guideway (compared to the steel and wooden elevated structure) is that it actually has small concrete fences along the edge of the tracks, the sides of most 'L's don't have any fencing at all and simply drop to the street.

Just north of the station is Cermak Junction where two (now unused in revenue service) middle tracks lead up and curve straight onto the guideway now used by the Orange Line to reach the South Side Elevated and the loop. This was originally the only routing for trains from the Dan Ryan Line. Trains from Dan Ryan ran from the line's opening to Harlem/Lake via the loop (the routing of todays green line). The State Street Subway was in turn served by trains running from Howard through to the South Side elevated (up via the 13th Street incline) and to the two branches along 63rd Street (the northern half of today's Red Line to the southern half of today's Green Line). The CTA wanted to build a connection for through routing to streamline operations, originally one was in the original plans for the Dan Ryan Line but was cut due to already high costs and a connection only built to the el, ridership on today's red line branches is a lot higher than today's green line branches and always was the case. Groundbreaking occurred in November 1985. It took until January 19, 1993 for the new underground connector (with no new stations) to open and on that date the operations that continue to this day were put in effect. (Source from http://www.chicago-l.org/operations/lines/danryan.html Chicago-L.org)

The elevated station itself was renovated in 2009 using Recovery Act stimulus funds after a truck drove into the station, servery damaging it in 2008 (http://www.chicago-l.org/stations/cermak-chinatown.html History is all from Chicago-L.org). This saw fare control moved from the ends of the platform to street level where it exists today. The stop has the usual island platform for the two track line. There are entrances at either end. The southern end of the platform has the main entrance. Here glass walls begin covering the sides of the platform (trains don't stop here) but the area of the platform continues between the tracks. First there is an up escalator and staircase, followed by an elevator. These lead down to a new and modern station house opened on April 15, 2011, designed in the style with a flat red roof of the other station houses along the line. Here there are is a bank of turnstiles to the west side (where the only vending machines are) and exit only high turnstiles to the east side of the building, along the northside of Cermak Road. The walkway between the tracks continues away from the platform area to a single narrow staircase down to two high turnstiles with fare card readers (allowing entry) along the southside of Cermak Road between on/off ramps to the Dan Ryan (I-90/I-94) and Stevenson (I-55) Expressways. There is an additional entrance towards the northern end of the platform where a single staircase leads down to a short enclosed pathway to two more high turnstiles with fare card readers on the southside of Archer Avenue. This was a completely new entrance opened at 5am on Friday June 4, 2010 allowing the main entrances a block south on Cermak Road to both be closed for the renovations. It was the only entrance with regular turnstiles until April 2011 when Cermak Road headhouse opened, it was then converted to todays high turnstile configuration with even the Farecard Vending Machines Removed.
Photos 1-4 taken on 15 July, 2006, 5-22 on 1 August, 2011; 23: 4 June, 2017

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One of the Original? platform signs
#2657 curves away from the station, notice the original platform level turnstiles that are visible
#2889 enters for Howard
#2889 enters, the front car door is open for some reason
Two trains in the station, the platform is much more airy do to the plastic translucent roof that was built during renovations
The main stairs/escalators down to the new headhouse
The elevator Out to Street and Buses
Looking back towards the platforms
The staircase to the southside of Cermak
High turnstiles to the southside of Cermak
Front view of the southside entrance, only enter through the turnstiles, not the gate!
Looking across to the main headhouse
Street view of the southern end of the station
A wide view of the station in view of a decorative pagoda
The station goes over a private parking lot
The northern entrance with doors
This entrance was regular turnstiles during construction, there is a customer assitant booth but now just high turnstiles
Looking back to the Archer Ave exit
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Last Updated: 4 September, 2012
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