CHICAGO (CBS) — Sometimes it’s a bumpy ride for CTA passengers, with complaints about delays, or crowding, or dirty trains. New rail car being built at a factory in Hegewisch will bring six changes to smooth out your commute.
The wheels are turning for what the CTA hopes is a simpler and easier commute.
Many parts of the CTA’s new fleet of 7000-series rail cars will look familiar. For example, seats are still a combination of fabric and plastic.
“They like consistency,” CRRC Sifang America manufacturing quality engineer Dave Carline said. “The basic design has remained the same.”
However, designers added new curves to the seats to make the ride more ergonomic.
They also reconfigured where the seats will be installed, to provide more leg room.
CBS 2 learned about several engineering tricks being built into the new rail cars during an exclusive tour of CRRC Sifang America’s manufacturing plant in Hegewisch. Our cameras got the first glimpse of crew assembling the inaugural order of 10 prototypes.
Overall, the China-based company expects to deliver 846 new rail cars to the CTA over the next 10 years.
Inside each shell, LCD screens will be installed on the walls near the doors, displaying live surveillance images of riders to deter crime.
Engineers also pointed out the spot where a seat will be attached using a diagonal pole that affixes to the side of the train, instead of the floor, to help make trains easier to clean.
“There are a total of 8,000 wires on this train, and each one of them has to be designated to a particular position,” electrical foreman team lead Perry Nobles said.
The mass of wires includes hookups for new heating and air conditioning units, said to be more efficient and better at circulating air on hot summer days.
Another new feature: sensors above the doors to count passengers using a series of laser beams, so the CTA can make schedule changes by tracking passenger volume on different lines at various times.
Of course, all the bells and whistles come with a price; approximately $1.58 million per car.