3200 series (Chicago "L")

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3200 series
Chicago Elevated Train.jpg
In service 1992–present
Manufacturer Morrison-Knudsen
Family name High Performance
Constructed 1992–1994
Entered service 1992
Refurbishment 2015–2019
Number built 257
Number in service 253
Formation Married pair
Fleet numbers 3201–3457
Capacity 39 seated
Operator Chicago Transit Authority
Depot(s) Kimball Yard
Midway Yard
Line(s) served      Orange Line
     Brown Line
Car body construction Stainless steel
Car length 48 feet (14.63 m)
Width 9 feet 4 inches (2.84 m)
Height 12 feet (3.66 m)
Doors 4 per car
Maximum speed 55 miles per hour (89 km/h)
Weight 54,290 pounds (24,630 kg)
Traction motors 4 GE1262A4 per car
Power output 110 horsepower (82 kW) each motor
Electric system(s) 600 V DC third rail
Current collection method Contact shoe
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge

The 3200 series (numbered 3201–3457) is a series of Chicago "L" car built between 1992 and 1994 by Morrison-Knudsen. 257 cars were built. As of 2015, 253 of them remain in service. The bodyshells of these cars were built by Mafersa, of Brazil, as a subcontractor to Morrison-Knudsen.[1]

The 3200 series was the last series of five interoperable series of Chicago "L" cars known as the High Performance Family and the last cars ordered for the Chicago Transit Authority that use direct current motors. Subsequent train orders are using alternating current motors.

The original order for 256 cars was motivated primarily by the impending opening of the Orange Line, which would need new cars when it opened in October 1993.[2] The order was completed in 1994.[3] The 3200-series contains many innovations over the previous 2600-series. Computers control much of the cab functions and simplify operation for the motorman. Diagnostics are also easier to perform on this series than on previous series. In addition, fluted steel siding is included on these cars for the first time since the 2200-series, in order to reduce graffiti. The series also introduced openable hopper windows for use in case of air conditioner failure.[3]

Cars 3441-3456 were originally equipped with pantographs for use on the Yellow Line, which was powered by overhead lines until 2004. The pantographs on 3451-3456 were removed in the late 1990s when they were reassigned to supplement the Brown Line, while the rest lost their pantographs when the Yellow Line was converted to third rail power in 2004.[3]

Car 3457 was an additional car built specifically for the purpose of serving as a mate to the 2600-series car 3032, after its mate 3031 had been damaged from a derailment at Wilson station on March 15, 1988. 3032 was subsequently renumbered 3458. The pair currently runs on the Brown Line.[4]

The 3200-series cars are currently all assigned to the Orange and Brown Lines. At various points during their service life a small number were also assigned to the Yellow and Purple Lines.

Future overhaul[edit]

In May 2014, two trainsets (one on the Brown Line and one on the Orange Line) were retrofitted with LED destination signs similar to those on the 5000-series cars as a pilot project for a future overhaul for the cars. The overhaul plans have been approved as of August 14, 2014.[5] In addition to new LED destination signs, new air conditioning systems will also be installed, and the propulsion systems, passenger door motors, and wheel and axle assemblies will be rebuilt. The 3200 series rehabilitation will begin in 2015 and will be completed in 2019.


  1. ^ Bushell, Chris (Ed.) (1991). Jane's Urban Transport Systems 1991, p. 409. Coulsdon, Surrey (UK): Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-7106-0951-5.
  2. ^ "CTA Selects Manufacturer for New Rail Cars". Chicago Transit Authority. 2006-05-10. Retrieved 2009-01-05. 
  3. ^ a b c "3200-series Cars". Chicago-L.org. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  4. ^ "Frequently asked questions #4.4". Chicago-L.org. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  5. ^ "CTA Prepares to Overhaul Its 3200-Series Rail Cars in 2015". Mass Transit Magazine. August 14, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 

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