January 28, 2004

Ongoing Enhancements Improve CTA Reliability

Chicago Transit Board today approved several contracts that further its ongoing effort to upgrade its bus and rail fleets. A power train overhaul for CTA's Flxible 6000 series buses, rear sidewall replacement for its Flxible 5300 series and the procurement of parts required to support the overhaul of 2200 and 2400 series rail cars will contribute to the life-extending rehabilitation currently underway.

?We believe that one of the keys to ensuring on-time clean, safe and friendly service is to operate a well-maintained bus and rail fleet," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole L. Brown. ?New and rehabbed buses and trains help to improve the reliability of our fleet."

Midwest Bus Corporation of Owosso, Michigan, will furnish all labor, materials, tools, equipment and insurance for the removal and replacement of up to 200 rear sidewalls on the CTA's Flxible 5300 series buses. The $1 million replacement will increase the overall useful life of the bus.

As part of the ongoing, three-year mid-life overhaul of the CTA's 6000-series Flxible buses, Inland Detroit Diesel-Allison of Carol Stream, Illinois, will perform a $12.8 million overhaul to the power train system. The power train is a key element in extending the operating life of the 6000 series buses and contributes to customer comfort by creating a smoother and more reliable ride.

?Over the past six years, the CTA has made it a top priority to bring the entire system to a state of good repair. Investments in our fleet and infrastructure have been possible thanks to strong support from Mayor Richard M. Daley, the Governor's Office and lawmakers at every level of government," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?As we continue to modernize and upgrade our fleet, our customers will enjoy an increased level of service reliability."

The Transit Board also approved $3.9 million in increases to various existing contracts to fund the procurement of parts required to support the overhaul of CTA's 2200 and 2400 series rail cars, which will begin later this spring. This will include rebuilding of all 2200 series trucks and control groups. The trucks will receive new wheels, rebuilt traction motors, rebuilt gearboxes and new cabling. A rebuilt truck provides passengers with a smoother and more reliable ride. Other work includes the upgrade and repair of electric couplers, doors and batteries.

All 2400 series rail cars will receive overhauled cam control groups, which are the heart of the propulsion system and provide for smoother acceleration and braking. The 2400 series rail cars will have master controllers rebuilt, a heavy inspection of trucks, upgrade of door units and upgrade of the friction brake hydraulic pump control units.

The CTA's aggressive campaign to upgrade its fleet of buses and rail cars includes a program of mid-life overhauls and new bus purchases.

In 2002, CTA completed a four-year $354.7 million rehabilitation of its 2600 series railcars. The 2600 series represents half of CTA's rail fleet.

All 474 lift-equipped TMC buses purchased in 1991 underwent a life-extending overhaul that was completed in April 2003.

In addition to the ongoing overhaul of the 6000 series Flxible buses, the CTA is currently overhauling all 65 of its New Flyer buses (5800 Series) at a cost of $7.3 million.

The overhaul process includes rebuilding or upgrading the engine and transmission, pre-heater replacement, air conditioning overhaul, installation of seating fabric, improved destination signs and rebuilt ramps or lifts for mobility devices. Investing in the mid-life overhaul process helps improve performance and reliability as well as extending the service-life of CTA buses. The improved overall condition of the vehicles also helps to reduce maintenance costs.

More than 500 new buses have joined the CTA bus fleet in the past five years. In 2002, CTA completed delivery of 484 low-floor, accessible and air-conditioned, standard-sized Nova buses. Late last summer, CTA began taking delivery of 226 new low-floor articulated, or accordion-style, buses manufactured by North American Bus Industries (NABI). There are currently 77 of the new NABI buses in service.

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