April 24, 2002

The CTA is advertising for bids for the manufacture of up to 406 rapid transit ('L') cars for its rail fleet, with options to build up to 300 additional cars. Prospective contractors have until October 15 to submit their bids.

The new cars will replace cars that were purchased from the Budd Company of Philadelphia in 1969-70. Also to be replaced will be cars built by the Boeing-Vertol Company of Philadelphia in 1976-78.

CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett said, "The improvements in customer comforts and service reliability that these new cars bring will make CTA 'L' service more attractive to all of our customers. The new cars will replace one third of our entire fleet, so their delivery will have a welcome impact throughout the system."

?These will be our first new 'L' cars since 1992," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. "Those cars have proven highly successful, but now it's time to address the needs of the new century. Some of our older cars have been in service for as long as 33 years, and must be replaced. We also need more cars to accommodate the growing ridership we?ve experienced on our busier lines."

The new cars will have many of the same features as the 3200-series cars delivered in 1992, which are used on the Orange, Brown and Yellow Lines. These include full-width motor cabs for one-person operation, air-conditioning, upholstered seat inserts, wide sliding doors for rapid boarding and exiting and accessibility by customers with disabilities, and an intercom system for communication with the train operator. The new cars will also have a video surveillance system and protective film on windows to deter graffiti vandalism.

If a firm is selected by the end of the year, the first prototype cars would be delivered in 2005. After these cars have operated successfully in regular service for six months, full production would follow.

The new rail car purchase is a part of CTA's ongoing fleet modernization. By the end of 2002, the CTA will have received 484 new standard-size buses from Nova Bus Corp. The first of up to 200 new articulated (accordion-style) buses will be delivered early next year. Also upgrading the fleet are the mid-life rehabilitation of 598 rail cars built in the 1980s and 474 buses delivered in 1991.

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