Chicago commuters, rejoice! The CTA is rolling out the long awaited 5000-series rail cars on the Red Line in the coming weeks. Currently, the Red Line runs the 2600-series cars, most of which date back to the early 1980s. The 5000-series will be tested on the other lines as well to ensure they are able to handle rush hour crowds and the city’s temperamental weather.
While the new cars have the appearance of the existing 3200-series that are already in service on the Brown, Orange and Yellow Lines, there are many distinct amenities on-board. New digital destination signs replace the familiar coloured roller curtains, improved lighting inside with glow-in-the-dark flooring to assist in alighting during emergencies, security cameras for enhanced passenger safety, interior destination displays with electronic maps, and updated air conditioning and heating elements for comfort. The side doors have been revised with enhanced sensors and visual displays to alert passengers when they are about to close. For passengers using wheelchairs, new spaces have been provided to allow handicapped passengers enjoy a safer ride.
Another major change is an updated seating arrangement — instead of the traditional forward/backward facing seats, the seats will face the aisle to allow more standing passengers. As a result, additional stanchions have been added to accommodate support for commuters that are holding on.
The Bombardier-built 5000-series will eventually replace the ageing 2200 and 2400-series which have been in service since the late 1960s and mid-1970s respectively.
Check out the photos of the new 5000-series cars on CTA’s flickr photostream. View the full press release on the CTA web site.