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CTA debuts shiny new "L" cars


Ben Meyerson

April 15, 2010 @ 11:25 AM

The CTA debuts its new 5000-series rail cars with fewer seats, but more space/Credit: Ben Meyerson

The Chicago Transit Authority will start rolling out its brand-new "L" cars for the public, the agency announced today.

The new cars are decked out with aisle-facing seating, LED screens for passengers and maps that indicate the next train station, among other features.

CTA riders have reported phantom sightings of the train for months, but they’ll finally get a chance to ride it on the Red Line this Monday.

The new cars have slightly fewer seats than the most common current trains — 38 seats as opposed to 42 or 46 on the current models — but aisle-facing seats and a slightly wider car means a whopping 123 people can now cram into cars.

They'll replace the CTA's oldest cars, which are between 32 and 41 years old and expensive to repair.

The trains should be safer, too: Every car now has security cameras in it, which are currently just recorded to a DVR, but will eventually allow police and train operators to watch incidents live. Safety signs will glow in the dark now, as will strips along the floor. 

The trains also run on AC current, which the CTA said should allow for smoother braking.

The CTA has 10 cars it will test: Eight will run in service as a single train, and two will be used to train operators. If everything goes as planned, the CTA will order 396 more cars in 2011.

 

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