Progress going right over our heads

The Chicago Transit Authority is currently in the process of rebuilding the Clark Interlocking, where the Ravenswood Branch (Brown Line) diverges from the North Side Main Line (Red/Purple Lines). Long story short, the current interlocking is all at one level, and when northbound Brown Line trains diverge, they must cross three other tracks, blocking them. In order to reduce delays and increase train capacity, the junction is being rebuilt so that northbound Brown Line trains will use a flyover to pass over the other three tracks so trains can continue underneath them.

I am doing my best to photograph the progress as it goes on, though I am somewhat limited in what I can do from the ground while the system is elevated, and I am avoiding unnecessary travel on public transportation due to the ongoing pandemic, which means I can’t get pictures from the nearby Belmont station platform either. Still, here’s what things looked like back over the summer:

Red-Purple Bypass supports under construction, June 6, 2020
Progress in June, 2020

I haven’t been down there for more photography since then, and this weekend I decided that given the sunny weather, I should go down there again. This time though, I walked and did not enter the station to minimize COVID-19 risk. Here’s how it looks now:

Clark Interlocking progress as of December 2020
Progress in December, 2020

They’re starting to lay the trackbed now, so that’s definite progress. The apartment building that was under construction in my June photo also looks completed, at least from the exterior. The track passes surprisingly close to the building though, and given that the building was still under construction in June, there’s no way they could have built it without knowing about and coordinating with the CTA construction. I guess one lucky tenant will have the train going right outside their window. Interestingly a situation like this exists on the Singapore LRT where it passes very close to buildings at some points, but on that system they actually frost the windows to preserve privacy for the occupants of those buildings. I know there is no way the CTA rolling stock supports that, and I somehow doubt our new railcars will either. Still, I don’t live there, so not my concern.

A side note: when I was there, I got one-upped by a guy taking a photo from above with a drone. That’s way better than what I can do from the ground given the elevated nature and the fact that I can’t (or at least really shouldn’t) walk on the tracks. One of these days I’ll try using a drone, but I want to master my photography skills from the ground before I start adding flying to the equation. I talked a bit with the guy flying the drone, and he indicated that they will be laying track for the actual overpass (i.e. above the existing track) fairly soon.

While I was there, I also photographed the track in the area, and I definitely got a very strong “Chicago” vibe from it:

Below the Brown Line tracks just past Belmont
Alley underneath the Brown Line tracks
Brown Line train just past Belmont
Inbound train approaching the station

I then walked back home and got a few photos on the way back. I realized I haven’t really photographed Edgewater, my own neighborhood, much, which is a shame given its distinct (and awesome) character, so I got some photos there too.

Addison Station from Sheffield Road
Addison station from street level
Wrigley Rooftops
Wrigley Rooftops
Edgewater Beach Hotel from the south
Edgewater Beach Hotel
Apartment building at Sheridan and Catalpa
Apartment building at Sheridan and Catalpa, I don’t know the name of it
Looking up The Bryn
The Bryn, apartment building at Sheridan and Bryn Mawr

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