CHICAGO — The CTA is getting ready to pony up some $2 billion in the coming years for a fresh batch of new L cars to update its aging fleet.
The Chicago Transit Authority said Wednesday it's seeking bids for up to 846 new cars that will be called the 7000 Series.
The goal is to begin getting the new trains by 2016 and replace cars that have been on the rails for three decades. The plan is to cut the average age of CTA cars to less than 10 years by 2022.
"Having world-class public transportation is essential for any world-class city," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. "This is not just an investment in our rail system, but in our neighborhoods. By strengthening our transportation, we will continue Chicago's economic growth and increase the quality of life for all residents."
The CTA is still in the process of rolling out 706 state-of-the-art cars known as the 5000 series. Those cars include built-in security cameras, "New York-style" seats that have passengers face each other across the middle aisle and hanging straps.
The 5000 series trains are being used now on the Pink Line. They also are being rolled out on the Red and Green lines.
Just over a year ago, the CTA doubled its order for those 5000 cars to 706 cars. Some 190 have been delivered, and the new 7000 series will follow starting most likely in 2016, after the last of the 5000 series has been delivered.
“The CTA is continuing its aggressive plan of investment and modernization of the nation’s second-largest mass transit system, benefiting our customers and the regional economy, which depends on a vibrant, modern transit system,” said CTA President Claypool. “Under Mayor Emanuel, the CTA is undertaking a massive and timely replacement of both bus and rail fleets, which includes replacing aging vehicles, improving passenger comfort and service reliability.”
According to the CTA, if it didn't proceed with the additional purchases, average age of L cars would top 20 years by 2022. The industry standard for a rail car's useful life is 25 years.