CTA Gets That New Car Smell

CTA, not Oprah, will give everybody a new (rail) car

By Matt Bartosik
|  Thursday, Sep 24, 2009  |  Updated 8:16 AM CDT
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CTA Gets That New Car Smell

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By the end of this year, 'L' riders could find themselves making their commute with a new car! A new rail car, that is.

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By the end of this year, 'El' riders could be riding in new car!

A new rail car, that is.

If you've ever taken the Blue Line to O'Hare, you've probably seen those decades-old train cars with cramped seating and narrow folding doors. (Not handicap-friendly.) Those cars are among the oldest in the fleet -- over 40 years old.

Tracy Swartz of Going Public found that rail cars on other Lines range from 15 to 35 years old.

Don't get too excited about the new cars just yet though. Only 10 new cars will be included in the first delivery, and there is no word on which Lines will be testing them. Among a fleet of 1,190 cars, your chances of experiencing one are slim.

Also, the new cars will have to be tested on all the Lines extensively before passengers will be allowed to use them. So while that that new rail car might be with your train, you won't be allowed on it.

Finally, the full order of new rail cars is not due until 2011. But CTA Tattler says it will be worth the wait. The new trains will include: Recessed lighting; reading lights; six 9-inch TV screens in each car, rotating CTA info and advertising; no more advertising cards; computerized Internet controls mean no more herky-jerky rides; a "smart" systems map in the middle of the car pinpointing the train's current location. The same number of seats arranged longitudinally to allow for more standing room; A padded "butt perch" in the area where a wheelchair would go so if there was no disabled passenger onboard, other passengers could rest against the padded perch and security cameras in each car.

The Tattler also notes though that these cars were scheduled to be delivered last year.

A CTA train running late? Imagine that.

Matt Bartosik, a "between blogs" blogger, wants you to get outta his dreams and into his car.

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