CTA rolls out new cars again

  • The new 5000 Series CTA rail car is seen in the maintenance shop of the CTA Orange Line terminal at Midway Airport in Chicago on Wednesday, March 7, 2012. Defective and dangerous steel parts, made in China, were installed on the bottom part of the car, called the truck assembly, a CTA investigation found.
The new 5000 Series CTA rail car is seen in the maintenance shop of the CTA… (Terrence Antonio James/…)
May 07, 2012|By Tracy Swartz, RedEye

It was a soggy but quiet homecoming for the CTA's 5000-series rail cars, which debuted on the Pink Line this week after a nearly six-month hiatus.

The CTA on Sunday rolled out two trains, each composed of six cars, which feature electronic signs, security cameras and the controversial aisle-facing seats.

The cars had been out of service since late last year, when the CTA noticed defective wheel parts. Cars already in the CTA's possession were retrofit with new parts. The CTA said it has asked for additional inspections and checks from Bombardier, the company that manufactures the cars.

The CTA said it has ordered 706 rail cars, and the agency expects to add new trains to its fleet every week so it can phase out older cars, some of which are more than 32 years old.

At about 5:15 a.m. Monday, one of the new trains picked up riders at the Clinton stop next to CTA headquarters. There were few passengers on the train, which still looked clean despite the wet weather.

Ismael Rocha, who was on his way to work downtown, said he was surprised but glad to see the new cars.

"It's been awhile since I've seen them," said Rocha, 31, of Berwyn. "They're a lot better [than the current cars]. They're more comfortable."

Summit transit sum-up

Some CTA buses will be rerouted because of road closures for the NATO summit, which begins next week. The CTA said rail is the best option, and the agency is prepared to increase train service and capacity. A list of planned bus reroutes is posted at transitchicago.com/nato. The list doesn't include unplanned reroutes, and Bus Tracker can't make predictions for buses that aren't traveling their normal route.

Less fuss with rapid bus

The Chicago Architecture Foundation will debut an exhibit devoted to bus rapid transit, a program that typically creates faster bus service with bus-only lanes and traffic signal priority, on June 1 at 224 S.Michigan Ave.

The Chicago Department of Transportation held an open house last week at the foundation about bus rapid transit in downtown, which is targeted to begin in 2014. Bus rapid transit is expected to begin on Jeffery Boulevard on the South Side later this year.

Good in the hack?

Web developers are invited to attend the first hackathon on a CTA train June 16. Developers aboard a Brown Line train will attempt to build software to solve a transportation problem. Go to hackatrain.com for more information about the event, which is organized by private developers.


A weekly dispatch from a CTA station of note

This week: 79th Red Line stop

Weeks after a rider complained to the Chicago Transit Board about trash lining the tracks along the southern portion of the Red Line, garbage still frames the 79th Red Line tracks. On Monday morning, Going Public spotted a US Polo Association sandal, a nearly full bottle of Faygo peach soda, a bag of white cheddar Cheez-Its and a bottle of Aleve among empty liquor bottles, worn fare cards and packs of Newport cigarettes on the tracks. Trash on the tracks can lead to fires, and not just because several lighters were disposed there.

Next up: Cicero Pink Line.

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