Management & Operations

New Chicago Transit program to preserve transit history

Posted on June 3, 2016

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) created the Heritage Fleet program, an effort to preserve and celebrate more than 100 years of history of the CTA and its predecessor companies.

The Heritage Fleet program was designed to ensure that vintage buses, railcars, and equipment are properly maintained and stored, and that the historic vehicles continue to be used for charters and other public events.

“The CTA has a very rich history, one that has contributed to the growth of Chicago as one of the world’s most vibrant cities,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter. “The Heritage Fleet will allow the CTA and its customers to celebrate and appreciate that history in a real, tangible way.”

The Heritage Fleet currently consists of select retired railcars and buses, including:

  • Two 1923 4000-series railcars, featuring the orange-and-brown paint scheme they wore in the 1940s and adorned with reproduced advertisements from the era.
  • An eight-car train of 2400-series railcars, produced from 1976-1978 and featuring their restored red-white-and-blue exterior markings.
  • Three buses from the 1960s, all featuring their original markings.

The new program, modeled after similar programs at other U.S. transit agencies, will set guidelines for future preservation, maintenance and repair efforts for these vehicles, as well as additional vehicles that may be added to the Heritage Fleet in the future.

The creation of the program formalizes many years of voluntary efforts by CTA employees to preserve CTA’s rich history. Most of the activities to be assumed by the Heritage Fleet program, including repairs and upkeep, are already handled on a voluntary basis by CTA employees, or as part of regular CTA operations. Under the Heritage Fleet program, retired CTA employees, and rail-industry experts will also be invited to volunteer for maintenance and upkeep efforts.

Funding for the program will come from revenue generated from, the CTA’s online merchandise store, and from private charters of vehicles, including Heritage Fleet vehicles. CTA is also developing a plan to showcase the historic vehicles at city events and activities.

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