CTA riders will have new, energy-efficient rail cars with aisle-facing seats, more standing room and multiple security cameras, thanks to a $1.1 billion upgrade showcased Tuesday.
A six-car train comprised of new 5000-series rail cars manufactured by Bombardier Transportation made its debut on the CTA's Pink Line. Another six-car train is expected to be put in service every two weeks through 2014, when the entire 706-car order will have been delivered.
Following the Pink Line, new cars will be put into service on the other CTA lines over the next three years. The upgrade will allow the CTA to retire some of its oldest cars that are between 32 and 41 years old.
CTA President Forrest Claypool noted that every one of the new cars is equipped with "multiple security cameras" to complement the thousands of cameras already installed on station platforms. "Eventually, these cameras will transmit real-time video that can be assessed by the Chicago Police Department," Claypool said.
The CTA purchased its last new rail cars in 1992. The new cars meet the latest ADA standards, with two wheelchair positions, doors with an enhanced capability to detect obstructions, and an illuminated text version of audible car announcements for the hearing-impaired. They also feature new system maps with LED indicator lights that let riders know their current location and the name of the next station. New aisle-facing seats provide a roomier interior to increase standing room and make it easier to enter and exit the train. The new cars have 38 seats, about one or two less than the current cars.
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