February 14, 2013

Chicago Transit to add LEDs, add more Bombardiers

The Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) board approved a contract amendment to improve lighting in its newest generation of railcars, the 5000 series, to LEDs, and increase the total order of the new 5000 series currently being manufactured by Bombardier Transit Corp. to 714 cars. To cover the costs of those improvements, CTA will apply a spare parts credit and has agreed to make an accelerated payment to Bombardier.

Under the amended contract, CTA will change the interior fluorescent lighting to LEDs, which use less energy, are brighter and have an average life expectancy of 12 years. The average life expectancy of fluorescent light bulbs is about two years and requires special hazardous material handling procedures.

Currently, CTA has taken delivery of 202 of the railcars and has 192 in service. The new railcars have been fully rolled out on the Pink Line and are being added to the Red and Green Lines. The railcars currently in CTA’s possession will have all lighting replaced and all new cars will have LED lights installed in them at the Bombardier plant prior to shipment to CTA.

The board also approved amending the Bombardier contract to allow CTA to acquire an additional eight railcars, bringing the total order to 714 from 706, which will allow the CTA to have additional cars to more quickly replace aging railcars, some of which are more than 40 years old. CTA will advance Bombardier an accelerated payment of $61 million and apply a spare parts credit of $15 million in return for the LED lights and the eight railcars.

The total value of the 5000 series project is about $1.1 billion. CTA anticipates taking delivery of all 5000 series railcars by the end of 2015.

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