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CTA Buying New El Cars

By Margaret Lyons in News on Jan 23, 2008 6:45PM

Photo by On The Flipside

The CTA approved a plan today to buy 406 new El cars for $603.6 million to replace some current cars that are 30 years old. And these new bad boys won't be any old rail cars--no, no. They're the rail cars oooof theeeee fuuuuuuuture! (That's in our "Pigs in Space" announcer voice.)

The new cars will be equipped with digital diagnostic equipment to expedite repair work and cameras on each car so "[t]rain operators will be able to view live video from any railcar when the passenger intercom unit is activated." The CTA is also adding "cellular modems" to the new cars so the control center can directly communicate with passengers (via "visual displays" in each car) and upgrading the seat fabric. According to the CTA, we should have 10 prototypes of the El cars on tracks in 2009 with the full fleet in use by 2012.

We're buying these new cars from Bombardier Transit Corporation, who has designed and made rail cars for New York, Shanghai, Stockholm, Berlin, Bucharest, Helsinki, Lisbon, Mexico City, and a whole ton of other places. They also build monorails, but it looks like the CTA is sticking with the unimaginative regular rails. Sigh. [CTA]