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ChicagoBruce May 9, 2006 9:05 PM

I’m sure it could support more than one, but remember the Milwaukee – Chicago run has a fair number of commuters on it, either as an everyday commute, a couple times a week, or just for a meeting. Not to mention people that do day trips on the weekend or take it to get to the airport in either city. St. Louis is just too far for that kind of stuff.

Still a good idea. I was at Union Station when the St. Louis train was boarding and the line was incredible, which lead me to believe that it runs at a fairly high capacity and that it’s a longer train than the typical Hiawatha run.

VivaLFuego May 10, 2006 8:45 PM

CTA board just approved a $600 million rail car purchase for 406 cars from Bombardier. Sweet. The bad news is that prototype delivery isnt until the end of '08, to be followed by 9-12 months of testing time.

Big development though....if options are exercised, this contractis worth $1 billion, and includes the specialised rail cars for the airport express service.

spyguy May 10, 2006 8:48 PM

Please something at least semi-modern. At least they went with Bombardier so there is some hope.

headcase May 10, 2006 9:48 PM

I've said this before, I really don't care about the cars. 600millions goes along way towards the Circle line, or the pension plan.

What good are new cars if they don't run when and where you need them?

Chicago103 May 10, 2006 10:06 PM


Originally Posted by headcase
I've said this before, I really don't care about the cars. 600millions goes along way towards the Circle line, or the pension plan.

What good are new cars if they don't run when and where you need them?

I agree with that, newer more modern cars are always nice but its much more important to build a new line or increase service.

spyguy May 10, 2006 10:11 PM

If the stations and cars are modernized and generally cleaner I believe that could help increase ridership among more wealthy residents, or at least those who have an obsession with their car like that Dan Ryan story showed. Taking the train in HK or Tokyo or London is much more of an experience and something Chicago should try and emulate.

alex1 May 10, 2006 10:40 PM

if i had $1.1 billion, i'd give $1 billion to the CTA for rail upgrades. It would be nice to get a system that's world class yet still keeps the quirks that makes the chicago system unique. Unfortunately for all of us, I don't have that kind of money laying around.

whenever I think of funding for transit, Boston's big dig always comes to mind. $15 billion to bury a highway...imagine if we had that cash to put towards mass transit?

VivaLFuego May 10, 2006 10:54 PM

It will be pretty modern. AC propulsion, so smoother acceleration and braking (not to mention regenerative braking that gives a 10-20% savings on overall power consumption). Active suspension for real time adjustment of shock pressue for matching platform heights exactly and ensuring a smooth ride. LED signs all over the place (i.e. destination signs, plus route maps with LED lights showing the trains current location).

If you've ridden on the IRT lines in New York (the numbered lines....1,2,3,4,5,9, etc) I think you have an idea of what these will be like. Bombardier just did a 1000-car order for them and the cars are quite nice.

Think of it as the difference between riding the Brown Line or Orange Line (newer cars) and the Red Line.....except more so. The new cars will make a huge difference on peoples impressions riding the system, by being very quiet, smooth, and high-tech/modern (and let's hope not too dirty).

The downside is it will be 2008-2009 before we can experience it.

Also, this order for new cars will first replace the 150 cars on the blue line (2200 series, with the funky blinker doors) that are currently about 37 years old, and will be over 40 by the time of delivery, which is very, very old. And they'll also replace the 200 2400-series cars (currently on the green and purple line), which are currently 30 years old and will be nearly 35 by the time of their replacement.

FTA recommends replacings cars every 25-30 years, and of course Chicago's weather is extra hard on them. As they get older, it gets increasingly more costly to repair, because parts are harder to find and more expensive.

Chicago Shawn May 10, 2006 11:26 PM

^Dude, you just made my day. The new cars on NYC's system are fantastic. They also offer the smoothest rail ride I have ever experienced in a subway, especially the express runs cruising at 50 mph through 100 year old tunnels. The smoothness, combined with the high-tech features really made a huge impression on me.

Will the new cars have bowling alley seating? I am not a fan of that style of seating, but will happilly take it for those new cars.

Norsider May 11, 2006 2:31 AM

I wonder if the new cars will have a New York style seat layout or the same old completely insane and stupid current layout

trvlr70 May 11, 2006 1:54 PM


Originally Posted by Norsider
I wonder if the new cars will have a New York style seat layout or the same old completely insane and stupid current layout

NYC layout. People are already complaining about that because of anticipated motion sickness due to some non-forward facing seats. Oh, please!

ChicagoBruce May 11, 2006 6:27 PM

Yuck. I don't like the new seating arrangement. I like to be able to look out the window.

Plus, how am I going to be able to avoid making eye contact with the drunken bum sitting across from me that way.

Oh well, not a big deal.

Wright Concept May 11, 2006 7:05 PM

More than anything the CTA trains just needed overhead grap bars to so that more standees can stand in the middle of the train rather than stay by the doors and remove a seat or two by the doorways creating a "vestibule" whether seats are facing in or not makes very little difference if there are is nothing to hold on to if you're a standee.

nomarandlee May 11, 2006 7:13 PM

I like the front facting seats myself and don't care much for the sideway motion but Chicago will just be joining the majority of most other rail systems in the world I guess.

The overhead grip bars are important though and are welcomed. Nothing worse then metro cars that don't have enough of them in good placement. Also, it would be nice if some of the interior was upholstered like some other metro lines I have seen but that might be asking a bit too much.

Busy Bee May 11, 2006 9:15 PM

I hope the exterior design of these cars are alot more stylish. For the most part, every CTA rail car series look very similar, with maybe the exception of those really old Budd cars(that I think look sweet btw.) While we can pretty much guarentee that they will be stainless, I hope Bombardier has an excellent industrial designer to give them a very forward looking flare(and the CTA doesn't think it's unneccessary to have great looking rail cars.)

It seems so many newer international heavy rail systems have some very slick looking rail cars, particularly in Asia and Europe. Go to and look at the Berlin U/S-Bahn yellow cars, wow! Something in the range of those would look fantastic running on CTA rails and would do wonders for the technological condition/image of the system.

oshkeoto May 11, 2006 9:40 PM

^ I hope the cars look the same forever. Some new age yuppy train running on old rusty el tracks would look ridiculous.

ChicagoBruce May 11, 2006 9:45 PM

I love the exterior of the cars, they just scream “Chicago” I hope they keep them. Some ultra-modern looking cars just wouldn’t look right rolling through Chicago’s neighborhoods. It’s not that kind of city.

jjk1103 May 13, 2006 3:28 PM

.........half the fun of riding the CTA is looking out the windows ! the CTA ride will always be jerky as long as they use direct current.

VivaLFuego May 13, 2006 5:16 PM

The cars will look very similar. Recognizably new to rail buffs, but the overall aesthetic won't vary much. CTA is big on having a coherent system, even modifying old cars bit by bit to fit in with the overall aesthetic.

like they added tacky fake wood panels on the interior of the old 2200 Budd cars (the ones with blinker doors on the blue line), they're taking the stripes and colored ends off the 2400-series, etc.

CTA dabbled with chopper DC motors which provide smoother acceleration and are in use throughout Europe but the decision was made to finally switch to AC which is why this purcahse was delayed

jjk1103 May 13, 2006 11:14 PM

......thanks for the info. I presume that DC is cheaper (somehow ?) and that is the reason the CTA hasen't switched to AC long ago.

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