Chicago Transit to overhaul 3200-series railcars

Posted on September 11, 2014

Photo courtesy JeremyA
Photo courtesy JeremyA

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) board approved the biggest component of a plan to completely overhaul the agency’s second-oldest railcars, the 3200-series, as part of the CTA’s major modernization of its rail and bus fleets launched in 2012.

The board unanimously approved a $92 million contract for the materials necessary to substantially renovate all 257 of the 3200-series railcars, originally purchased in 1992-1993. The overhauls will extend the life of the railcars and improve their performance, efficiency and reliability by replacing or rebuilding many of the railcars’ major components, including:

  • Propulsion and power systems.
  • Doors and door motors.
  • Wheel trucks, axles and motors.
  • Replacement of fluorescent lighting with new LED lighting.

Last year, the CTA approved contracts for other components of the 3200-series overhaul work, including:

  • Replacing all existing heating and cooling units.
  • Replacing all auxiliary power supply units.
  • Installing new, color LED destination signs, similar to those found on the CTA’s newest generation of railcars, the 5000-series, which are on the Pink, Green, Yellow, Red and Purple lines.

RELATED: Chicago Transit Authority enhances customer service with new initiatives

In total, the CTA will invest more than $166 million in the 3200-series fleet overhaul, which will improve reliability and lower repair and maintenance costs for the cars that currently run on the Brown and Orange lines. The CTA will perform the overhaul work in-house.

Since 2011, the CTA has made a huge investment in modernizing Chicago’s transit system, including new and rehabbed trains and buses. In addition to the new 5000-series railcars and the 3200-series overhauls, the CTA is also planning for the next generation of railcars, the 7000-series. The CTA will seek bids from manufacturers for those cars this year.

The CTA has also purchased more than 400 new buses and is performing frame-up restorations of 1,030 buses, providing to CTA customers a nearly entirely new bus fleet.

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