Reporting Kris Habermehl
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CHICAGO (CBS) — Metra wants to make your commute more comfortable, whether you’re on your computer or in the can.
As CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl reports, Metra has announced that it will be rehabbing 176 double-decker train cars that were built between 1995 and 1998, according to a Chicago Tribune report. Some of the rehabs are already complete.
One major upgrade involves electrical outlets. Currently, there are no outlets on the trains, and commuters using their laptops, iPads or iPhones have no choice but to run their batteries down as they ride.
There will be 19 outlets per train car on the lower level only, because of fire restrictions on the cars. And Metra chief executive officer Alex Clifford emphasizes in the Tribune report that the outlets are only for electronic devices, and are not an invitation for commuters to bring toasters and curling irons along on their commute.
Metra will also upgrade the toilets on the trains. Currently, using a toilet on a Metra train is an experience like using an outhouse or a port-a-potty, with human waste just accumulating in a tank instead of flushing.
But on the rehabbed cars, the toilets will flush.
The cars will also get new seats, elevator-style doors that will pop back open if someone enters as they’re closing, reconstructed air conditioning units, and wheelchair lifts, the Tribune reported.
Forty cars have already been rehabbed, and 60 more will be completed by year’s end. All 176 train cars will be upgraded by 2016, the Tribune reported.
The move will essentially double the life of the cars.
The train car upgrades are being undertaken at the 47th Street Metra car shop, keeping the jobs not only in Illinois, but in Chicago.