The CTA Board Wednesday approved the funding for the final phase of a mid-life project to rehabilitate 598 'L' cars that have been in service for up to 20 years. The work is being performed by Alstom Transportation Inc. at its plant in Hornell, New York. Today the Board approved exercising an option that was part of the original contract, which was approved in 1997.
The 598 cars are numbered from 2600 up and represent about half of the CTA's fleet of 1,190 cars. They were delivered for service between 1981 and 1987. As of June 1, 372 of the cars were already back in service. Others are awaiting rehabilitation under previous contract options or are in the rehab cycle. The $60.1 million option exercised Wednesday is for work on the last 108 cars.
The total contract value to rehab all the cars is $344.6 million.
Installation of a completely new air-conditioning system is one of the major upgrades included in the project. The rehab also provides a new public address system, new lighting, cloth-covered, vandal-resistant seat inserts, and protective plastic film sheeting on interior windows to deter vandalism. A new propulsion system will be installed, as well as four new hopper (transom) windows that tilt inward to offer ventilation in the event of an air-conditioning malfunction.
?The enhanced passenger comforts and safe, smooth rides that rehabbed cars offer are among the many improvements we have been making to meet the needs of our regular customers and attract new riders," said CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. "By reinvesting in our system through improvements in our rail and bus fleets and facilities, we can provide better service for our customers."
Of the 372 rehabbed 'L' cars that have returned to service, 324 are used on the Red Line, which is CTA's busiest and operates almost 22 miles across the city. Some are used on the Purple Line, and the rest will go back into service on the Blue Line, which is the second busiest and serves O'Hare Airport.
CTA President Frank Kruesi said, "By rehabilitating the 2600-series cars now, we are helping ensure that they will provide reliable service throughout their expected life cycle. Thanks to an infusion of funding from Governor George Ryan's Illinois FIRST program, and support from Mayor Richard M. Daley and members of the Illinois Congressional delegation who helped secure federal funding, we have been able to move ahead on a number of capital projects such as this in a way we never could have done before."