The Chicago Transit Board approved a contract today for the manufacture and purchase of 406 new rail cars, with additional options that could bring the total purchase to 706 cars. The total contract is not to exceed $933 million, however, CTA currently has funding for the base order of 206 and an additional option in the contract for 200 rail cars for a total of $577 million.
The rail cars will replace older rail cars, some more than 30 years old, such as the 2200-series Budd cars that were purchased in 1969-70, as well as the 2400-series Boeing-Vertol cars purchased in 1976-78. Upgraded features such as security cameras and aisle-facing seating are included in the specifications, as well as AC, or alternating current, traction motor propulsion. The existing CTA fleet uses DC, or direct current, motors to drive trains. AC propulsion converts the DC energy in the third (power) rail to alternating current for the traction motors. AC propulsion systems are used by transit agencies in New York, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, among others.
"We continue to use our capital dollars to invest in our system so that we do not lose the momentum we have gained over the past decade," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. "Converting to a more modern AC system will benefit our customers by improving reliability and reduce the expense of having to maintain an outdated DC system."
"CTA remains dedicated to providing the best service, equipment and facilities possible to our customers with the resources available," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. "Today's action will allow us to continue moving forward with long-term capital improvement efforts that are bringing our system into a state of good repair."
Aisle-facing seating will allow CTA to accommodate more customers per rail car and provide a more comfortable trip, a priority for the second largest transit system in the country. The aisle-facing seating configuration adds six inches to the narrowest portion of the aisle which allows more room for customers carrying backpacks, packages, luggage, strollers and bikes. In addition, it allows more space for standing customers with more support poles and straps in the center of the car and accommodates 40 seats so no seats are lost as a result of the new reconfiguration. Aisle-facing seating also provides space for an additional wheelchair position, increasing the total to two per car.
CTA has been in the planning process for the manufacture and purchase of new rail cars for a number of years prior to finalizing today's procurement. Delivery of prototype rail cars is expected in 2008. Production of the base order of 206 is expected to begin in 2009 with delivery beginning in 2010. If the first option is exercised for 200 additional rail cars, delivery is expected to begin in 2012. Under the contract with Bombardier, CTA will be able to exercise other options for an additional 216 rail cars and another 84 rail cars for airport service as funding becomes available.
CTA's most recent purchase of new rail cars was in the 1990s when 3200-series cars were purchased for the opening of the Orange Line, and to replace older cars on the Brown and Yellow Lines.
Through a competitive RFP process, CTA selected Bombardier Transit Corporation located in Bensalem, Pennsylvania for the contract. Its project history includes the first North American order for high-speed trains from Amtrak; commuter cars for the Long Island Railroad and Metro-North Railroad, and rapid transit cars for the New York City Transit Authority. In the U.S., Bombardier Transportation is also the leader in automated people mover systems which currently operate in 10 airports across the country. Bombardier Inc. is a world-leading manufacturer of transportation solutions, from regional aircraft and business jets to rail transportation equipment, and is headquartered in Canada.
CTA is using capital funding from the Federal Transit Administration Formula Funds ? 5309, and funds from the Illinois Department of Transportation.
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