New train cars coming soon to CTA

November 8, 2011 10:03:41 AM PST
CTA riders will soon board new train cars, which are the first major change to the transit agency's fleet since 1992.

Some of the cars that need to be replaced are about 40 years old.

"It is time," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Emanuel and CTA President Forrest Claypool made the announcement Tuesday morning at the Midway Airport Orange Line station. They toured one of the 5000-series trains.

The new trains are not as loud. They are energy efficient. They have video cameras for safety and security.

The seating has also changed. There are more aisle-facing seats, allowing more standing room.

New technology will allow for speedy repairs and help riders who are visually or hearing impaired.

The CTA has been testing the sleek new train cars for awhile now, but Tuesday, a full train will be in service on the Pink Line.

In the next two years, riders will see over 700 of the new train cars on most of the CTA's lines. The billion-dollar-plus project is being paid for with CTA bond money and federal funds.

"It's 1992. I was single and on my way down to Little Rock," Emanuel said. "I've got three kids, a wife, a home -- which I'm proud of -- and now mayor, and that was the last time Chicago had a new car for its mass transit system, 1992, and we're gonna replace about 60 percent of them."

The announcement comes a week after the mayor and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced $646 million in state and federal funds for a project to improve the Red Line. Those improvements will tackle slow zones. Tracks will be replaced on parts of the Red Line on the South Side, and some Red Line stations on the North Side will be rebuilt.

A big question is, Will there be fare hikes? There are none planned currently in the operational budget, but there is still a chance there could be fare hikes if the union and CTA officials do not come to an agreement. But that is a separate issue and a separate budget.

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