Chicago Transit Authority Friday introduced prototypes of the agency's new 5000-series rail cars, produced by Bombardier Transportation, and said it will begin testing the cars in revenue next week. The 10 cars are the first of a total of 406 rail cars costing $603.6 million.
The 5000-series prototypes, which already have been undergoing testing by CTA engineers and Bombardier representatives for several months, will debut on the Red Line and then will be tested on all eight rail lines through at least the end of the year. This in-service testing of the 10 railcar prototypes will seek to determine how they perform when operating in the conditions that CTA's rail fleet is subject to throughout the year. The cars must successfully complete testing before the CTA will finalize the order of the remaining 396 rail cars.
The new rail cars will replace CTA's oldest rail cars,between 32 and 41 years old, such as the 2200-series Budd cars that werepurchased in 1969-70 and currently run on the Blue Line, as well as the 2400-series Boeing-Vertol cars purchased in 1976-78 currently operating on the Green and Purple lines.
Equipped with regenerative braking technology, the 5000-series cars also include new diagnostic systems that will alert a train operator to any issues with equipment when they occur on a digital display in the motor cab. The new cars will use AC propulsion, and also have new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems designed to withstand severe weather conditions.