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Old Posted Jan 26, 2022, 3:54 PM
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Originally Posted by ssiguy View Post
Of course there are many US cities that have done little to improve their systems over the years like Chicago, Boston, and Philly and it shows with some of their rotting stations and rolling stock that looks like it should be moved to the Smithsonian.
i can't speak for boston or philly, but i feel your assessment is overly harsh on chicago.

while it's true that the CTA hasn't engaged in the construction of any brand new el lines since the early '90s (orange line out to midway), they have been making continuous improvements to many of the archaic century-old el lines, and the the rolling stock is actually fairly up to date for a giant legacy american heavy rail rapid transit system.

over the past 30 years, the green, brown, pink, southside red, and northside blue lines lines have all gone through extensive and very expensive renovation projects to keep them running well into the 21st century. and the red/purple northside quad-track mainline is currently in a multi-billion dollar rebuild as well. many of the stations in the loop have also been extensively renovated. and new infill stations have been opened up over the years as formerly vacated sections of the near south and near west sides have been gentrifying - like morgan/lake, cermak-mccormick place, and the soon to be under construction damen stops on the green line. all told, these renovation/rehabilitation projects have cost the agency untold billions of dollars, which has made finding money for actual new-build expansions quite difficult to find. all part of the problem of having a rapid transit system that first opened back in the 19th century.

as for the rolling stock on the el, the CTA is currently in the process of acquiring 846 new 7000-series el cars to the tune of $1.3 billion. as they continue to come into service over this decade, they will eventually replace the entire 2600-series and 3200-series fleets that date from the 80s/early 90s. this will leave the 714 cars of 5000-series as the only older cars in the fleet, and they were all built between 2009 - 2015. so the el is actually well on its way to having a very up to date fleet.

So saying that the CTA "has done little to improve its system", currently and in the recent past, is a bit unfair in my eyes. Could it have been doing a whole lot more? Well of course, but given our nation's miserly attitude towards transit investment, the CTA has been lucky enough to get the billions of dollars it has gotten to rebuild its crumbling rail infrastructure and replace its outdated rolling stock. Those are still real transit wins with tangible benefits for the city of chicago, even if they aren't nearly as sexy as "OMG!!! city X is gonna build a hundred new miles of rail transit!"
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Last edited by Steely Dan; Jan 26, 2022 at 8:37 PM.
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