The long-awaited, much bally-hooed Series 5000 rail cars should start arriving on CTA tracks by sometime next year after the transit agency's board on Thursday approved a $625 million bond issuance to finance them.
A total of 706 cars are on order. The first 300 that will come next year will replace the oldest cars in use on the Blue Line. The CTA will save money in the long run with the new cars, the Tribune reports:
CTA officials said the rail car purchase is a good deal for the agency and its customers. Interest rates are at historic lows and the CTA expects to sell bonds at about a 5 percent rate, officials said.
The cost of each rail car comes out to $1.4 million, said Karen Walker, CTA chief financial officer. The cost to overhaul existing CTA trains averages $1.2 million per car, she said.
By retiring old cars, the CTA anticipates maintenance savings of $8 million to $10 million a year, Claypool said.
Meanwhile, Claypool still hasn't released his budget for 2012, though certainly myself and others had expected him to show it to the board Thursday. Maybe next week we'll learn the extent of the sacrifice both riders and employees can expect next year.
(Photos by Ben Meyerson and Max T-M)