News pickup: New rail cars back; CTA gets fed $$ for BRT, circulator

I took a few days off last week and didn't blog as much as usual. But the CTA news never stops. So I'm catching up with some news from last week.

New rail cars back in service on Green Line. The new Series 5000 rail cars, with their aisle-facing seating plan, will return to service Monday after the CTA made adjustments to the braking system.

CTA gets $36 million to kick off BRT project, circulator.
The CTA last week won federal funds -- about $25 million to connect Union Station and Navy Pier, plus $11 million for the Bus Rapid Transit project on Jeffery Boulevard from 103rd Street and Stony Island Avenue to the Loop. I like the idea of the circulator. And the Jeffery Boulevard BRT route might work. I have doubts about other BRT ideas, such as the Halsted route.

CTA seeks new lubricant in wake of track fire.
After an electrical arc set fire to a lubricant used to keep wheels running smoothly, the CTA is now looking for a new lubricant that can withstand higher heat. The June 20 track fire sent 19 people to the hospital. Meanwhile, the Sun-Times reports that a manager in the CTA's control center was fired as a result of the fire: "Sources offered different reasons why he was fired -- with one version
saying he didn't adequately communicate with CTA staff, and another
saying he was scapegoated."

Whither Wilson Red Line attendant? A number of readers wrote me late last week to note the Uptown Update post that the Wilson Red Line stop attendant was missing in action. One commenter there noted police made 12 arrests for theft of service from CTA at this station. Here's hoping the CTA is aware of this. 


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  • Ed, couldn't you take the bus over to Wabash and get on the Purple line at Madison? It might not be so full over there.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    Basically, as discussed in this thread in, the project is overnamed for what it promises. It looks lie the same buses, as mentioned by Cheryl, just some bus lanes, street furniture, and BusTracker displays.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    I happened upon the 5000s on the Green Line at Clark/Lake about 8:15 this morning. I only rode to Ashland, plus there was practically noone in the car, so it was hard to judge what the experience would be during rush hour. The floor seemed to adjust close to the station platform at Clark/Lake, but felt like the 2" distance at Ashland. Agreed with Scooter Libby that the close door stuff is pretty useless - the light wasn't at all noticeable and the warning is quieter than the old-style bing-bong chime. I also love Scooter's suggestion about the "Doors closing" announcement.

    The end-of-car panel with route/time certainly wouldn't be visible during a crowded ride, although it was unexpectedly geekly nice to be able to see the internal route name on the side window (where we now get the reverse of the roller) - not that I NEED to know that once I'm on the train. And although I had little trouble guessing that the train pulling into the station saying HARLEM with no color on the route name MUST be the Green Line, I can also see how the lack of color coding would be a real problem distinguishing trains on the Red/Brown/Purple route. And for people who have adjusted to the color coding that replaced the end-station naming convention.

    As far as the seating, I plunked my fat butt next to the endpanel by the door and spread over into the adjoining seat by about 4". With the vertical poles every 2 seats, I predict it would have taken quite crowd on the train before someone would have packed themselves between me and the pole and gentleman sitting next to it. Not as "adjustable" as the NYC bench type seats with center-of-car poles.

  • Pure coincidence today around 11AM. I was at Adams/Wabash waiting for a Brown & a eight car Green showed up. I haven't seen one of those midday, well, forever. It was a 5000.
    The layout is awful, the electronic signs are so-so. I didn't see any adjustment of the floor height to the platform, there was about a 2" difference. The acceleration was smoother, but the train sure braked hard at Clark/Lake.
    The new close door warning isn't loud enough & the light over the door is meaningless, especially since it isn't centered. Why aren't there two lights & why doesn't the light have the words "Doors closing" painted on it?
    And I'm totally sick of the motormen having to make the redundant announcement that the doors are closing!
    They wouldn't need to if they didn't push the recorded "Doors closing" announcement as soon as they opened the damn doors. What's need is linkage between the announcement & the close doors switch. When that switch was pulled, there would be a two second delay on its initial close so that the announcement would automatically happen. Take that out of the motormen's control. All other closing attempts & retrys wouldn't trigger the announcement.

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