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CTA To Refurbish Aging Rail Cars On Orange, Brown Lines

CTA 'L' Train (File Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

CTA ‘L’ Train (File Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

roberts250 Bob Roberts
Bob Roberts is a native of Wilmette who has worked in Chicago media...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – CTA is preparing to spend $166 million to upgrade a group of ‘L’ cars that won’t be around for long after they’re rehabbed.

The ‘L’ cars in question are the 256 cars in the 3200 series, which have been used on the Brown and Orange Lines since they were delivered 20 years ago.

CTA Vice President/Bus and Rail Maintenance Phil Lamont said the cars will be extensively refurbished, including new air conditioning, control and propulsion systems, wheel work and even the fancy LED destination signage being installed on the newest ‘L’ cars.

“We’re not a cheap date,” he said.

CTA routinely undertakes mid-life overhauls of its bus and rapid transit fleet. What makes this one unusual is that the overhaul work won’t begin on the 3200s until 2015, and they are scheduled to be replaced by 2022. When WBBM asked if this means CTA doubts it will get the money needed for replacement ‘L’ cars, most likely from state and federal sources, spokesman Brian Steele said, “Absolutely not.”

CTA has already begun developing a blueprint for the proposed 7000-series cars that will replace the 3200s, and has decided to include more front-facing seating, instead of the “bowling alley” seats that have irked so many riders on the newly-delivered 5000-series cars.