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CTA Introduces New Train Cars

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Apr 15, 2010 9:00PM

Photo by slow911
The CTA gave members of the media a sneak peek at new train cars that should be rolling out on to tracks in the very near future. The cars were purchased as part of a $674 million deal the CTA inked earlier this year. Of the 38 seats on the new cars, 34 are also center-facing, allowing you to eye and flirt with fellow passengers across the way (the other four seats are forward-facing that can be folded up to make way for wheelchairs.) There's also more space for passengers hauling bags and luggage and the new cars can manage speeds of up to 70 mph though they won't go faster than 55 mph for the time being. The first 10 cars have been tested by the CTA and get their first go-around with passengers on the Red Line.

But don't be surprised if these new cars seem more crowded than the old ones. The new cars have as many as eight fewer seats compared to the older trains and as many as 123 passengers can be squeezed on to the new cars, an increase of between 20 and 30 passengers. So what happens if the CTA decides to make some alterations to the cars to avoid the same miscues that plagued the short-lived Maxi-car trial run? Paul Fish, the CTA's vice president of budget and capital finance said, "We will gauge customer reaction...If we don't like it, we can do a change order."

The new train cars will see action beginning next week but won't be widely produced until the CTA hammers out final specs. Once those are all figured out, the mass production will begin, probably sometime next year, and a dozen new trains will roll out each month until all 406 new trains are in place by 2013. The CTA also has an option of ordering 300 new cars if the demand - and money - are there. More information on the new cars can be found here.