I admit it. I'm suffering from CTA service cuts burnout. So it was great that the CTA board met Wednesday and acted on a couple topics near and dear to my heart -- the new train cars and CTA safety. Next week we'll discuss safety.
But first, the board approved an ordinance to issue revenue bonds that will allow the CTA to buy 406 new rail cars. Put in another context, 406 train cars would be enough to make up about 50 eight-car train runs,
and or about 101 four-car train runs.
The total cost is $674 million, or almost $1.7 million per rail car. Yeow! And the CTA has options to buy another 300 from the manufacturer, Bombardier Transit Corp. in Bensalem, Pa. The CTA will pay $550 million. The Federal Transit Administration and the Illinois Dept. of Transportation also kicked in some capital cash for this big buy.
It will take two to three years to build and deliver the cars. Some features of the new train cars, according to the press release:
The new rail cars--the prototypes of which are undergoing testing on
CTA's system--have upgraded features such as security cameras,
aisle-facing seating and AC, or alternating current, traction motor
propulsion. Using the AC system will allow the agency to reduce the
costs associated with maintaining the outdated DC (direct current)
CTA Tattler reported details on these new rail cars four years ago. Check that out. And see the continuation for photos.
Here's a not-too-revealing photo of one of the 10 already delivered and in test mode now. Photo by esotericus.
And the Tribune has this interior shot (CTA photo by Irwin Davis):
In general, I support longitudinal (aisle-facing) seating. The number of seats is the same, and it should be easier on standees to maneuver. But I do worry about seat hogs taking up even more seats than they do now.
For instance, what if we have legs-wide-spread-man sitting near really-big-guy and doofus-with duffle-bag-on-the-seat. That could wipe out six or seven seats in a row. I say we have to stand up for our rights to those seats and challenge them all.
Except maybe really-big-guy. He can't exactly put his extra 150 pounds on his lap or the floor.