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New CTA "L" Cars Coming As Slowly As the Current Ones Move

By Chuck Sudo in News on Dec 17, 2010 5:00PM

Have any of you had a chance to ride in the new "L" cars? We've had a couple of opportunities to do so and, by God, if we weren't spoiled by the experience. It isn't first class travel, but compared to the current train cars, the new cars are an extravagance. The seats are laid out in a common sense manner to accommodate more passengers, are well-lighted and clean.

CTA put in an order for more new "L" cars yesterday, but you won't see them for a while. They've held an option for four years to have new cars built at a cost of $1.4 million apiece; if bid new today the cost would increase to $2.5 million. CTA President Richard Rodriguez asked the Regional transportation Authority to release bonds, if necessary, so that they can put in the order before the options expire in February. RTA readily complied with Rodriguez's request.

The bonds serve as the backup plan, in case Rodriguez can't obtain the financing from the state before going to the builder with the order. In the meantime, Rodriguez is hoping the bitter Chicago winters will put the current new cars through their paces.