(CBS) — The CTA’s board Wednesday set the stage to rebuild the ‘L’ cars used on the Orange and Brown lines, even though it expects to junk them in less than 10 years.

The 3200-series ‘L’ cars were built in 1992-93. All 257 are scheduled to be retired by 2022, when CTA finishes taking delivery of its planned 7000-series ‘L’ cars.

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Asked if he considers the $166 million price tag for the major overhauls to be worth it, CTA President Forrest Claypool said an emphatic yes.

“(It is) because the cost to do a gut rehab on the existing vehicles is considerably less than the cost of a new rail car,” Claypool said.

He called the 3200-series cars one of the “workhorses” of the ‘L’ system and said they are “a terrific, terrific train.”

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“I would say their performance is among the best historically, so we want to keep them in service as long as possible and these rehabs are the way to do that in the most cost-effective way,” he said.

Claypool said rehabbing the cars also takes the pressure off of CTA to get the 7000-series cars built. After getting a less-than-enthusiastic response the first time it sought bids, CTA will request bids again this fall. Under the new request, the 7000 series cars need not be compatible with the 5000-series cars now being delivered by Bombardier, Inc.

CTA’s contract with Bombardier calls for 714 of the 5000-series cars to be built. Of that number, 526 have been delivered and 516 have been accepted for service. The first of the 7000-series cars are expected to be delivered in late 2016.

The rehabilitation of the 3200-series cars will begin next year and are not expected to be completed until 2019. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) said the average age of a rapid transit car at retirement is about 25 years, although CTA has a history of maintaining its ‘L’ cars in excess of 40 years.

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Included in the top-to-bottom rehabilitation of the 3200-series cars will be LED lighting and destination signs, replacing fluorescent lighting and Mylar signs, along with renewed heating and air conditioning units and new auxiliary power supply. All propulsion systems, doors and motors will be among the parts of the cars rebuilt.