CTA’s Prototype Rail Cars Heading to Red Line

February 10, 2011
The prototype 5000-series rail cars will return on CTA’s Red Line beginning Monday, February 14. The rail cars most recently operated on the Yellow and Purple lines and have been previously tested on all other lines.
CTA is testing the 10 prototype rail cars to ascertain how they perform when operating in the conditions that CTA's rail fleet is subjected to throughout the year. The prototypes were tested on the Red Line in spring 2010. CTA is running the trains on the Red Line again because it is the rail system’s busiest line and the agency wants to test the cars during winter conditions under heavy ridership.
The prototypes must successfully complete testing before the agency gives approval for the full order to be manufactured.
The rail cars offer a variety of new features and state-of-the art technologies designed to benefit CTA customers. Each car will have seven networked security cameras, an event recorder system similar to a black box on an airplane and door sensors that will detect obstructions better than CTA's current rail fleet.
The trains will accommodate more customers per car and provide more room for customers carrying backpacks, packages, luggage, strollers and bikes because of an aisle-facing seating configuration. The cars have 38 seats and space for two wheelchair positions and added support poles and hand straps in the center of the car for standing customers. Other amenities include:
  • An LED station indicator map with lights that move in conjunction with the train's location and electronic destination signs – widened to increase the size of the text that improves readability – both inside and outside of the rail car.
  • Interior electronic destination signs showing the next stop, date and time, and can be used to display a text version of stored audible announcements made to customers – for example, when a train is delayed waiting for signal clearance.
  • Regenerative braking that returns braking energy to the third rail for reuse to help power other trains and on-board electrical systems.
  • An alternating current (AC) propulsion system that converts the direct current (DC) energy in the third rail to AC for the traction motors.  AC propulsion systems provide a smoother ride.
More information on the 5000-series rail cars and a complete list of features can be found on the CTA’s website at www.transitchicago.com.
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