Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: metraRI, JamesT4

  by orangeline
A few minutes ago there was a report on WGN News at 5:00 that CTA is looking to place an order for several hundred brand new railcars to be called the 7000-series. It seems the transit agency has access to $2-plus billion to pay for them. The initial order will be for 100 cars to start arriving on the property ~ 2016. I take it once this order is completed the fleet will consist of 3200s (will they be incompatible with newer cars?), 5000s and 7000s and will be somewhat larger in number than the current 1100 or so cars.

Has anyone else heard anything about this?
  by Tadman
I saw that in Crain's this AM. They cited a desire by the city to have equipment under 20 years old, because maintenance costs balloon at 20 years. Obviously this is a bit of an oversimplification and does not go into detail on how helpful a capital rebuild is - the 2600 fleet got such rebuilds in the late 1990's (age ~15) and seem to be pretty solid, but will be 30 next year and 35 by the time this new fleet of 7000's arrive. Such is likely a good time to retire a railcar.
  by Fan Railer
More info here:
http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/pas ... nnel=Array
This week, the CTA issued an Invitation for Bids (IFB) for new rail cars that will offer customers a smoother, more comfortable ride. These rail cars, expected to begin delivery around 2016, will replace current rail stock that is nearing or beyond 30 years of age. Replacement of these aging cars will reduce service delays from mechanical breakdowns and save millions in operating costs. The project, if all options are exercised, would provide CTA with up to 846 new rail cars and have an estimated value of more than $2 billion.

The 7000 series will complement the new 5000 series cars currently being used on three CTA rail lines. In late 2011, the CTA nearly doubled its order for those state-of-the-art cars, bringing the total order to 706 cars. Approximately 190 of the 5000 series have arrived to date, with new rail cars arriving at a rate of one per weekday.

The 7000 series purchase will allow for continuous replacement of CTA's aging rail fleet—departing from past practice of waiting as much as 20 years between rail car orders. The CTA anticipates the new 7000 series cars will begin arriving shortly after the last 5000 is delivered.

The 7000 series would replace the oldest rail cars in the CTA's fleet, potentially reducing the average age of the CTA's fleet to less than 10 years by 2022. Without the purchase of new rail cars, the average age of the fleet will be greater than 20 years by that time. The CTA fleet currently consists of approximately 1,280 rail cars.
And here: http://www.transitchicago.com/news/defa ... cleId=3141
  by byte
Rumors have been floating around over the past couple years that the 3200s might get a rebuild which would make them AC cars, compatible with the 5000s (and presumably this new 7000 series). I'm wondering if they'd still plan on doing that in conjunction with this order, or forget about it entirely.

Also with Nippon-Sharyo now having an assembly plant in Illinois, and Bombardier's less-than-stellar record on the 5000-series cars, I would be very surprised if these new 7000-series cars weren't being assembled in Rochelle.
  by orangeline
I have a question regarding the potential new rail car order.

Suppose CTA does go ahead and receive all 706 5000-series cars and 846 7000-series cars and disposes of all older rolling stock. That would create a fleet of 1552 railcars, about 300 more than are in use today. To my knowledge there are no new lines being built and extensions to existing lines (Red, Orange, Yellow) are still far in the future. Given that trains on some lines (Purple, Yellow, Pink, and Green) typically never go beyond 6 cars even during rush hours (Yellow is 2 cars at all times), and CTA recently announced shorter trains during "normal hours", where will the additional capacity be used?
  by doepack
Can't remember where I heard or saw this, but CTA would eventually like to run 10 car trains on Red during rush, so some of the additional capacity could be used there. Or perhaps beef up headways a little on Green, maybe add more Purple line express service, etc...
  by Pacific 2-3-1
Hot news on a cold day:

Bombardier appears to have submitted the low bid for this new series of CTA cars, coming in lower than Sumitomo/Nippon-Sharyo (Rochelle). Kawasaki expressed an interest also, but did not bid.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/loca ... 6553.story" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by Tadman
Shoot. I was hoping to see Sumitomo get this one. I don't dislike BBD, but I notice Sumitomo products have definitely had smoother EIS when compared to BBD products.
  by Milwaukee_F40C
Bombardier: $1.39 billion
Sumitomo: $1.55 billion

Bombardier should have the natural advantage from already being ready to build the cars, but not by that much. I would say Sumitomo overshot it a little bit. The amount of contracts each company already has might have something to do with it. Or maybe Sumitomo thought they could get away with a number closer to $2 billion, wherever that was coming from. At least taxpayers are saving stacks.

I like that the 5000 and 7000 series should be similar except for the seating. Hopefully whatever works for the 5000s, they will stick with for the 7000s. And the fleet will look nicely consistent.
  by justalurker66
There would have been extra costs to tool up for the build ... otherwise the price isn't that much different and creating jobs in Illinois might have smoothed over paying the extra $160 million.

At least Rochelle has the other contracts ... and it looks like NICTD South Shore will be buying new cars in a few years. 41 cars bought in 1982 should be reordered in 2019, 17 cars bought in 1992 should be reordered in 2029. The first order is only 5 years away.

(NICTD West Lake has been revived but is at least 9 years away.)
  by BrianLM007
Yes, that would make sense for NICTD and I have to think Sumitomo / Nippon-Sharyo would once again have the inside track as NICTD has been doing business with them (and seem happy with them) since they've existed. Still, I remember reading in a recent board meeting minutes (I looked it up, it's on page 12 in the following link: http://nictd.com/minutes/Jul262013.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) that with a order of new AC propulsion units to replace the ones on the 100 series cars and the first few retrofitted cars (they intend on salvaging the old ones to repair to be spares), the 1982 fleet can soldier on to 2022 (and beyond).

As for the West Lake Project, they can get cracking on that at anytime...

On the CTA cars, I wouldn't be surprised if both Bombardier and Sumitomo come with adjusted bids, especially if the CTA tweaks their needs.
  by Milwaukee_F40C
Back in May CTA made the decision to retract their request so that they can create a new one with altered requirements and restart the bidding process. With a price that seemed reasonable (much lower than CTA's expectation) and ending up with a final fleet that would have been very uniform, I thought CTA couldn't have done much better than what Bombardier offered them. But maybe they just don't like Bombardier after the 5000s. They could still be the low bidder since they will probably make the minimal amount of changes to their proposal.

CTA is changing the proposal so that the 7000 series do not have to be train compatible with 5000s. It doesn't sound like that fantastic of an idea. They are increasing the size of the base order from 100 cars in the previous proposal, but since they will need more than that, why not just make it much closer to whatever the actual number of cars is that they would need? They should have recourse if there is a problem with any size order anyway.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014 ... base-order" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by frequentflyer
Will these cars look different from their predecessors like the new Washington Metro and Bart cars?
  by Tadman
I believe CTA owns the rights to the basic look/design of the 3200/5000 which isn't hardly different from 2600 other than fluting, so I wouldn't bet on it.

My question - is Nippon Sharyo bidding? They're in-state and proven at DC multiple units, as well as known for good pricing and reliability. I frankly don't know why they're not more aggressive in bidding Amtrak work. Given their repeated success with Metra, South Shore, Caltrain, MARC, and VRE.
  by Milwaukee_F40C
Nippon Sharyo submitted a bid in the first round for the 7000s where Bombardier was the low bidder. They will probably bid again.

As for the look, I found this which refers to the first bid request:
http://chi.streetsblog.org/2013/02/08/c ... -redesign/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
CTA’s “Invitation for Bids” [PDF] requires rail car manufacturers to show them proposed designs for the interior and exterior of new cars. Each bidder has to present three alternatives for the front end cap, three color schemes for the sides, and three design alternatives for the interior (lighting, ceiling, flooring, seating, etc.). CTA wants the sides of the cars to have the same corrugated look as the 5000-series cars, the most recent addition to the agency’s fleet.
I seem to recall some recent publicity bit where the mayor or someone was yapping about how new CTA cars should look more futuristic and sophisticated so it will look like they are keeping up with other cities. I would prefer that the 7000 series is compatible with the 5000 series and keeps the same exterior look, and that CTA disperses mixed consists proportinally around the system. Some of the past combinations of stuff CTA ended up with were sort of strange.