The CTA board today OK'ed a change in lighting in the new aisle-facing rail cars from fluorescent to LED lights. Officials say the switch will save energy, improve lighting and result in longer bulb life of 12 years. The average life expectancy of fluorescent light bulbs is about two years, and the bulbs require special hazardous material handling procedures.
The board also approved purchase of eight more 5000 series rail cars, bringing the final total on the current order to 714. Currently, CTA has taken delivery of 202 of the rail cars and has 192 in service, according to a news release. The new rail cars have been fully rolled out on the Pink Line and are being added to the Red and Green Lines. The rail cars currently in CTA’s possession will have all lighting replaced and all new cars will have LED lights installed in them at the Bombardier plant prior to shipment to CTA.
Under the deal with car manufacturer Bombardier, CTA will advance Bombardier an accelerated payment of $61 million and apply a spare parts credit of $15 million in return for the LED lights and the eight rail cars. The total value of the 5000 series project is about $1.1 billion. The CTA will save about $300,000 per car over the original contract price.
The CTA will continue to take delivery of the 500-plus additional rail cars through the end of 2015.