The Chicago Transit Board today approved a contract amendment to improve lighting in its newest generation of rail cars, the 5000 series, to LEDs, and increase the total order of the new 5000 series currently being manufactured by Bombardier Transit Corp. to 714 cars. To cover the costs of those improvements, CTA will apply a spare parts credit and has agreed to make an accelerated payment to Bombardier.
Under the amended contract, CTA will change the interior fluorescent lighting to LEDs, which use less energy, are brighter and have an average life expectancy of 12 years. The average life expectancy of fluorescent light bulbs is about two years, and requires special hazardous material handling procedures. Currently, CTA has taken delivery of 202 of the rail cars and has 192 in service. The new rail cars have been fully rolled out on the Pink Line and are being added to the Red and Green Lines. The rail cars currently in CTA’s possession will have all lighting replaced and all new cars will have LED lights installed in them at the Bombardier plant prior to shipment to CTA.
The Board also approved amending the Bombardier contract to allow CTA to acquire an additional eight rail cars, bringing the total order to 714 from 706, which will allow the CTA to have additional cars to more quickly replace aging rail cars, some of which are more than 40 years old. CTA will advance Bombardier an accelerated payment of $61 million and apply a spare parts credit of $15 million in return for the LED lights and the eight rail cars. The total value of the 5000 series project is about $1.1 billion.
“The CTA is pleased to continue its plan to modernize its rail fleet, which will continue to improve reliability, safety and comfort for our customers,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “Additional cars will allow CTA to replacing older rail cars more quickly, and LED lights will provide better illumination for customers and lower lighting-related costs for CTA.”
CTA anticipates taking delivery of all 5000 series rail cars by the end of 2015. Last week CTA announced it had issued an Invitation for Bids (IFB) seeking manufacturers for a brand-new generation of rail cars, the 7000 series, continuing the agency’s efforts to modernize the transit system to improve service and benefit customers.