First group of 7000-series railcars—the most modern in the United States—are being tested in-service along the Blue Line, bringing customers a smoother ride with several new amenities
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) today announced the start of in-service testing of its next-generation railcars—the 7000-series—which feature a host of customer amenities and new technologies that make them one of the most modern railcars in the United States. The new railcars will make their debut along the CTA’s Blue Line – the second most heavily traveled rail line in the system, operating between Forest Park and O’Hare International Airport.
The new railcars, which were delivered on schedule, were assembled in Chicago at a new, $100 million facility built in the Hegewisch neighborhood on the Far South Side, which has generated hundreds of jobs for Chicagoans and created significant opportunities for suppliers and related businesses. The assembly facility, which opened in 2017, marked the first time in more than 50 years that railcars were produced in Chicago.
“As CTA President, one of my main priorities has been to modernize our system to benefit our customers, as well as the communities we serve,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “These new railcars are the latest step we’re taking to build a 21st century transit experience, while also boosting the local economy through the creation of good paying, local jobs.”
Distinguishing the 7000-series from the rest of the CTA rail fleet are its bold, blue end caps; new layout of headlights and taillights; as well as a redesigned interior featuring a new seating configuration that includes a mix of forward-facing and aisle-facing seats. This hybrid seating configuration, which maximizes available space and customer comfort, was developed based on input from customer surveys seeking the best features from existing CTA railcar layouts.
Inside, the 7000-series feature LED lighting, plentiful grab bars and straps, and improved suspension for a smoother ride, along with a host of new and improved customer amenities, including:
- Redesigned, all-glass windbreak panels flanking the passenger side doors.
- Double-sided displays located in the center of the cars displaying a moving rail system map that shows the line, next station and the upcoming stations.
- Passenger information displays at both ends of the railcar providing next stop information and accompanying text for pre-recorded audio announcements.
- Pre-recorded announcements now have an “express mode” feature for hearing-impaired customers. This feature will provide a visual indication of where the train will be running express to, in the event of a need to skip stops or run express.
- Distinct door chimes for the opening and closing doors to aid vision-impaired riders
- Improved active vehicle suspension system that uses new sensors to adjust the height of the railcar floor to with that of the platform.
Behind the scenes, this new generation of railcars also comes equipped with new technologies that will help improve the safety and security of day-to-day operations, including new touchscreen controls with improved operator notifications for safer operation and troubleshooting assistance.
The 7000-series, manufactured by CRRC Sifang America, are the first new CTA railcars in a decade, following the introduction of the 5000-series cars in 2011.
The CTA has been testing the 10 prototype railcars since last fall, operating them out-of-service on each of the eight rail lines. The rigorous testing allows the CTA to evaluate their performance in a wide range of weather and operating conditions. The cars will continue in-service testing through early 2022. Once testing is satisfactorily completed, production and delivery will begin on the remaining balance of 390 cars.
More information of the 7000-series cars is available at transitchicago.com/7000-series/.