Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Transit Authority broke ground Thursday on a $100 million facility where rail cars will be assembled on the city’s Southeast Side—creating more than 300 skilled factory and construction jobs, the city announced in a news release.
When production begins at the CRRC Sifang America facility it will be the first time in more than 50 years CTA cars have been made in Chicago, the release says.
“This new facility represents a major investment in Chicago that will bring economic opportunities to the Southeast Side, while creating good-paying jobs for hundreds of workers,” Emanuel said. “The rail cars that emerge from this facility will be the latest step we’ve taken to invest in world-class transportation, and to create a 21st Century transit system.”
The 7000-series rail cars, which, according to the news release, will be the first CTA rail cars made in Chicago since 1964, include such features as AC-power propulsion for smooth, quiet rides; additional security cameras both inside and outside the vehicle; and GPS-triggered announcements and automatic passenger counting for improved service planning.
“We are committed to providing our customers with more reliable and comfortable transportation for decades to come,” CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. said. “We are continuing our investments in new buses and trains that will improve commutes, lower maintenance costs and provide a more pleasant customer experience.”
The facility, which was paid for entirely by CRRC, is 380,994-square-feet and will employ at least 169 factory and warehouse workers, as well as support approximately 200 construction jobs to build the facility. About $7 million will be spent on training for their Chicago final assembly facility workforce, the news release says.
The facility is expected to be completed by spring 2018 and the first rail car prototypes are expected to be completed in 2019.