Effective at the start of service on Monday, January 17, the 5000-series prototype rail cars will begin in-service testing on the Yellow and Purple Lines. The rail cars are currently operating on the Pink Line and have been previously tested on the Brown, Orange, Blue, Green and Red lines.
The 10 prototype rail cars are being tested to determine how they perform when operating in the conditions that CTA's rail fleet is subjected to throughout the year. The prototypes must successfully complete testing on all eight rail lines.
The rail cars offer a variety of new features and technologies to benefit CTA customers. Each car has seven networked security cameras, an event recorder system similar to a black box on an airplane and sensitive door sensors that will detect obstructions better than CTA's current rail fleet.
The new aisle-facing seating configuration is designed to accommodate more customers per car and allow more room for customers carrying backpacks, packages, luggage, strollers and bikes. The configuration provides 38 seats and space for two wheelchair positions and added support poles and hand straps in the center of the car for standing customers. Other amenities include:
- An LED station indicator map with lights that move in conjunction with the train's location and electronic destination signs – widened to increase the size of the text that improves readability – both inside and outside of the rail car.
- Regenerative braking that returns braking energy to the third rail for reuse to help power other trains and on-board electrical systems.
- An alternating current (AC) propulsion system that converts the direct current (DC) energy in the third rail to AC for the traction motors. AC propulsion systems provide a smoother ride.
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