CTA unveils new, roomier L cars featuring multiple security cameras
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter email@example.com November 8, 2011 4:14PM
Updated: December 10, 2011 9:54AM
CTA riders will have new, energy-efficient rail cars with aisle-facing seats, more standing room and multiple security cameras, thanks to a $1.1 billion upgrade showcased Tuesday.
A six-car train comprised of new 5000-series rail cars manufactured by Bombardier Transportation made its debut on the CTA’s Pink Line.
Another six-car train is expected to be put in service every two weeks through 2014, when the entire 706-car order will have been delivered.
Following the Pink Line, new cars will be put into service on the Green and Red lines in 2012, followed by the Orange, Yellow and Purple lines. The upgrade will allow the CTA to retire some of its oldest cars that are between 32 and 41 years old.
CTA President Forrest Claypool noted that every one of the new cars is equipped with “multiple security cameras” to complement the thousands of cameras already installed on station platforms.
“During emergencies, operators and our control center will be able to see a specific rail car by punching up the corresponding camera. … Eventually, these cameras will transmit real-time video that can be assessed by the Chicago Police Department,” Claypool said.
Although no one will monitor the cameras on a constant basis, Claypool noted that the platform cameras have already triggered arrests in several high-profile cases.
“These are a deterrent. They catch criminals and take them off the street,” Claypool said.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel showcased the new cars at the Orange Line’s Midway station, then took a test ride on the first new train.
“This is an investment that will begin to transform … the CTA experience for the riders. New cameras, new stations, new rail. It’s a re-make of the CTA to modernize it and bring it into the 21st Century,” he said.
The mayor noted that the CTA purchased its last new rail cars in 1992.
“In 1992, I was single and on my way down to Little Rock, [Ark.],” to work for then presidential candidate Bill Clinton, said Emanuel, noting that he now has “three kids, a wife and a home, which I’m proud of.”
The new cars meet the latest ADA standards, with two wheelchair positions, doors with an enhanced capability to detect obstructions, and an illuminated text version of audible car announcements for the hearing-impaired.
They also feature new system maps with LED indicator lights that let riders know their current location and the name of the next station.
New aisle-facing seats provide a roomier interior to increase standing room and make it easier to enter and exit the train. The new cars have 38 seats, about one or two less than the current cars. Re-generative braking will allow brake energy to “return back to the third-rail, reducing our carbon footprint and saving money,” Claypool said.