Chicago 'L' rolling stock

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The rolling stock of the Chicago 'L' rapid transit system consists of rail cars (permanently coupled into married pairs) dating from 1981 to 1994, delivered in two series: the 2600-series and 3200-series, also known as the High Performance Family, because of innovative design and technological features from previous equipment in Chicago transit beginning with the former 2000-series cars which operated between 1964 and 1993. Another fleet of cars in the rolling stock known as the 5000-series are the newest to the Chicago 'L' featuring new technologies such as exterior and interior LED signs, security cameras, new seating configuration, AC motors and new door action.

All cars are 12 ft (3.66 m) tall (from top of rail) and 48 ft 3 in (14.71 m) long (over coupler pulling faces). They are 9 ft 4 in (2.84 m) wide at the window sills but only 8 ft 8 in (2.64 m) wide at the door sills. Currently, most rail cars operating on the Chicago 'L' are DC power only; the 5000-series features AC motors, but the traction power supply continues to use DC.

Historic/Retired[edit]

Locomotives[edit]

Operator Manufacturer Delivered Retired Number built Notes
South Side Elevated Railroad Baldwin Locomotive Works 1892–93 1898 46 Vauclain four-cylinder compound locomotives. Retired when cars were converted to electric operation.
Lake Street Elevated Railroad Rhode Island Locomotive Works 1893–95 1900 35 Retired when cars were converted to electric operation.

Wooden cars[edit]

Operator Manufacturer Delivered Notes
South Side Elevated Railroad Jackson and Sharp Company; Gilbert Car Company; Jewett Car Company 1892–1905 The earliest trains were originally pulled by steam locomotives (Baldwin Locomotive Works Vauclain four-cylinder compound locomotives); the South Side Rapid Transit was the first to use multiple unit electric cars.
Lake Street Elevated Railroad Gilbert Car Company, Pullman Car Company; St. Louis Car Company and Co. Shop 1893–1909 The earliest trains were originally pulled by steam locomotives, cars subsequently converted to electric operation.
Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad Pullman Car Company, Harland and Hollingsworth Company; American Car & Foundry, Barney and Smith Car Company; Jewett Car Company 1894–1907
Northwestern Elevated Railroad Pullman Company; American Car & Foundry; St. Louis Car Company; Jewett Car Company 1898–1908

Metal cars[edit]

Type Operator Manufacturer Delivered Retired Number built Notes
4000-series Chicago Rapid Transit Company; later Chicago Transit Authority Cincinnati Car Company 1914–24 1973 455
5000-series Chicago Transit Authority Pullman Car Company (5001-02) and St. Louis Car Company (5003-04) 1947 1985 4 Built with PCC equipment
6000-series Chicago Transit Authority St. Louis Car Company 1950–59 1992 720 Built with PCC equipment
1-50 \ 61-65 series Cars Chicago Transit Authority St. Louis Car Company 1959–1960 1999 50 Built with PCC equipment
2000-series Chicago Transit Authority Pullman-Standard 1964 1993 180 First of "High Performance" family
2200-series Chicago Transit Authority Budd Company 1969–1970 2013 150
2400-series Chicago Transit Authority Boeing-Vertol 1976–1978 2014 200

4000-series[edit]

A pair of 4000-series "Plushie" cars at the Illinois Railway Museum.

The 4000-series cars were manufactured by the Cincinnati Car Company, between 1914, and 1924. They were the first steel cars on the Chicago 'L' system. These cars were built in 2 distinct variants, with the earlier, metal-roofed cars being known as "Baldies" (due to their smooth iron roofs), and the later, wooden-roofed cars being known as "Plushies" (due to their more comfortable, green plush seats). The "Baldies" were equipped with 6 doors per car, however the center doors were never used regularly. The "Plushies" were equipped with only the end vestibule doors, but the cars internal structure was arranged to allow for the later addition of the center doors.

These cars were built as the result of several distinct purchases (dates are the date of the order, not the actual production date):

  • December 29, 1913: 66 Trailer (non motorized) cars, numbered (4001–4066), and 62 motor cars, numbered (4067–4128),"Baldies", Longitudinal seating (Car 4005 later motorized and renumbered 4456)
  • December 30, 1914: 122 Motor cars, numbered (4129–4250), "Baldies", Transverse seating.
  • September 1, 1922: 100 Motor cars, numbered (4251–4350), "Plushies", Transverse seating.
  • April 2, 1923: 5 Motor cars, numbered (4351–4355), "Plushies", Transverse seating.
  • December 13, 1923: 100 Motor cars, numbered (4356–4455), "Plushies", Transverse seating.

The 445 cars of the 4000-series were the last Chicago 'L' cars purchased with air brakes.

When the State Street Subway opened in 1943, the older wooden cars were not allowed to operate through it for safety reasons. The only cars available to operate in the subway were the 4000-series, which eventually led to production of the 5000 and 6000-series cars.[1][2]

The last 4000-series cars were retired in 1973 after being in service for over 50 years.

5000-series [edit]

The 5000-series cars (numbered 5001–5004) were manufactured by the Pullman Car Company and the St. Louis Car Company. They arrived on CTA property in 1947. Only these four cars were ever built. These cars were the first 'L' cars to feature the "blinker door" configuration, in which the doors to the train open inward into the car rather than slide horizontally. This door configuration was later used on the 6000-series, 1-50 series, 2000-series and the 2200-series.

The technology for these cars was based on the Presidents Conference Committee streetcar but also borrowed design elements from the North Shore Line's Electroliners. The 5000-series was distinct in that each car was a three-piece articulated unit, the only cars on the 'L' system to ever feature articulation. They were also the first series of 'L' cars to be wider at the windowsills than at the doorsills to permit more interior space and still provide clearance for station platforms.

They were originally assigned to service on the Garfield Route (a precursor of today's Blue Line) before eventually being refitted with pantographs and renumbered 51 to 54 for service on the Skokie Swift where they finished out their careers. The 5000-series was retired in 1985.[3][4][5]

6000-series[edit]

6000-series cars at the Western Brown Line station on June 28, 1992.

The 6000-series cars (numbered 6001–6720) were manufactured by the St. Louis Car Company of St. Louis, Missouri, and first delivered to the CTA in 1950. 130 were ordered originally with the series eventually totaling 720.

The 6000-series built upon the design of the 5000-series, using PCC technology and blinker doors. Unlike the 5000-series, the 6000-series units consisted of two cars coupled together in married-pairs, the first series of 'L' cars to be so designed.

A large percentage of these cars were built using trucks, motors, control equipment, seats, windows, and other components salvaged from Chicago's recently retired fleet of PCC streetcars.

The 6000-series was in service on all of the CTA's routes except the Skokie Swift. Use on the Lake-Dan Ryan route was however limited to emergencies and during car shortages in late 1969 and during the winter of 1979-80. The last of the 6000-series cars were retired on December 4, 1992.[6][7]

1-50-series[edit]

Car 48 at the Halton County Radial Railway museum.

The 1-50 series cars (numbered 1–50) were manufactured by the St. Louis Car Company and delivered to the CTA in 1959 and 1960. The cars were similar to the 6000 series design, but were double ended, single cars, as opposed to the 6000 series single ended, married pair configuration. The quarter point doors were adjacent to the operators cabs, allowing the operator to collect fares without leaving the cab. Like some members of the 6000 series, these cars utilized parts salvaged from Chicago's recently retired fleet of PCC streetcars.

Cars 1-4 were equipped for high performance test service, with higher horsepower motors, and were delivered in a distinctive maroon and silver gray paint scheme.

Originally assigned to the West-Northwest service, in later years these cars were found mainly on the Ravenswood, Skokie, and Evanston lines.

10 of these cars were converted in 5 married-pair sets, and renumbered 61a-b to 65a-b, and were utilized in Skokie service.

The last cars of the 1-50 series were retired in 1999. Seven cars of this series have been preserved by various railway museums.[8][9]

2000-series[edit]

2000-series cars on Lake St.
leaving the loop at Wells St.

The 2000-series cars (numbered 2001–2180) were manufactured by the Pullman Car Company and delivered to the CTA in 1964. Like the 6000-series before them, the 2000-series were built as married-pair sets. The cars had a number of modern features, including air conditioning, fluorescent lighting, large picture windows, and sculptured fiberglass front ends for the car bodies. The car bodies were mainly aluminum. These cars were the start of the High Performance Family.

The 2000-series more modern control systems initially prevented them from being used in a train with other types, until the delivery of the 2200-series and later cars.

The last 2000-series cars were scrapped after their final service on the Green Line on December 17, 1993.

The 2000-series had a short service life of only 29 years, with almost every car of the series being scrapped in 1993. Two cars are preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum and two more remain on CTA property stored at Skokie Shops. The rest were scrapped.[10][11]

2200-series[edit]

Main article: 2200 series (CTA)
Retired 2200-series car 2346 in the Harlem Yard on August 24, 2013.

The 2200-series cars (numbered 2201–2350) were manufactured by the Budd Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and first delivered to the CTA in 1969, before the Dan Ryan branch (now known as the south end of the Red Line) was opened. 150 cars were ordered, and all delivered in 1969 and 1970.[12] These cars were the last to feature the blinker door configuration, in which the doors to the train open inward into the car rather than slide horizontally. These doors, which have a much narrower opening than the newer sliding doors, are unable to accommodate a wheelchair. Because of this, all 2200-series cars that ran in regular service on the Blue Line had to be coupled with a married pair of 2600-series cars, in order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. In addition, during eight car operation on the Blue Line, the 2200-series cars were referred to as belly car service (which means that they are not at either end of the consist), with 2600-series cars on the ends of the train.

The 2200-series also featured fluted, unpainted stainless steel sides, a unique feature in the rolling stock until the addition of the 3200-series.

Cars 2307 and 2316 were renumbered 2351 and 2352; 2351 was originally numbered 2307 and repaired after its mate 2308 was damaged in an accident at Addison station in 1976; 2352 was renumbered from 2316 and paired with 2351 after 2315 was damaged in a fire in the Skokie Shops yard in November 1977.

Cars 2289 and 2290 were damaged in the 1977 Chicago Loop derailment on February 4, 1977. After the derailment cars 2289 and 2290 were later retired and scrapped.

They were rehabbed by the New York Rail Car Corporation of Brooklyn, New York, between 1990 and 1992, to extend their service life.

Retirement of the 2200-series cars began in October 2010 and was completed in August 2013.

The last 8 2200-series cars were retired from service after their final service on the Blue Line on August 8, 2013.

The last tour of the 2200-series cars took place on a 6 car private charter ran by Eric Zabelny on August 25, 2013 which toured most of the CTA system.

Two cars are preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois and they are 2243 and 2244.

2400-series[edit]

Prior to their rehab, the 2400 series was painted in red, white, and blue colors to celebrate the Bicentennial.
After their rehab, the 2400 series had their colors removed to better match the rest of the fleet.

The 2400-series cars (numbered 2401–2600) were manufactured by Boeing-Vertol of Eddystone, Pennsylvania and first delivered to the CTA in 1976. 100 were ordered originally, with an option for an additional 100 (which was exercised, and the additional cars delivered through 1978). Retirement of the 2400-series cars began in 2013 after all of the 2200-series cars were retired from service.

The first cars for the 'L' in many decades to feature sliding rather than "blinker" doors, the 2400-series also features smooth steel exteriors, ideal for decals and, in many cases, advertisements. As delivered, the cars featured a red, white, and blue color scheme on the front and rear of the cars, as well as stripes along the sides. These were modified several times over the years and the color has been removed from most cars at present, leaving them unpainted to match the bare stainless steel scheme of the rest of the fleet. Some cars feature advertising and cars 2401–2422 are "work" cars which are identified by red and white striping along their sides as well as on the front and rear of the cars. (Cars 2423-2424 were converted to "work" cars some time after 2401-2422 had been converted.)

They were rehabbed by the Skokie Shops in Skokie, Illinois between 1987 and 1995.

In the 1990s, the 2400-series cars were used on the Red Line in mixed consists with unrefurbished 2600-series cars. While the 2600-series cars were being rehabbed, the 2400-series cars were used temporarily on the Red Line. The 2400-series cars were retired from service on October 31, 2014, with the Orange Line being the last line to operate them.

Current[edit]

Type Manufacturer Delivered Rehabilitated Number built Assigned lines
2600-series Budd Company 1981–1987 1999–2002 600      Red Line
     Blue Line
     Purple Line
     Orange Line
3200-series Morrison-Knudsen 1992–1994 2015–2019
(planned)
257      Brown Line
     Orange Line
5000-series Bombardier Transportation 2009–2015 714      Red Line
     Green Line
     Pink Line
     Yellow Line
     Purple Line

2600-series[edit]

The 2600 series had red, white, and blue on the sides and the Spirit of Chicago logo prior to their rehab.
After their rehab, the 2600 series had their colors and the Spirit of Chicago logo removed to better match the rest of the fleet.

The 2600-series cars (numbered 2601–3200) were manufactured by the Budd Company, the same company that made the 2200-series, and first delivered to the CTA in 1981, in time for the upcoming O'Hare Airport extension of the Kennedy Line (now known as the northwestern end of the Blue Line). Originally, an order was made for 300 cars, but this order was later increased to 600 cars, all of which were delivered between 1981 and 1987. They were the final cars to be constructed by Budd, later renamed to Transit America. With 565 active cars, the series is by far the most abundant in the 'L' rolling stock. They were rehabbed by Alstom of Hornell, New York, between 1999 and 2002. They have few features to differentiate them from the earlier 2400-series, but nevertheless remain a mainstay of the 'L'.

These cars make up the entire Blue Line fleet, parts of the Red, Purple, and Orange Line fleets, and car 3458 (originally car 3032) can be found on the Brown Line. In June 2014, as more 5000-series cars were being delivered, CTA began to transfer the Red Line's 2600-series cars over to the Blue Line due to them being newer than the existing 2600-series Blue Line cars, in turn transferring the Blue Line's older 2600-series cars to the Orange Line as an interim replacement for its 2400-series cars until the Red and Purple Lines are fully equipped with 5000-series cars.

Budd/Transit America had completed car 3200 on April 3, 1987.[13] Car 3200 was not only the final railcar of the 2600-series order, but was the final railcar to be constructed by Budd/Transit America. Once the order was completed, Budd shut down its railcar business.

3200-series[edit]

3200-series cars at Quincy.

The 3200-series cars (numbered 3201–3457) were manufactured by Morrison-Knudsen of Hornell, New York, and first delivered to the CTA in 1992. 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. The order was completed in 1994.[14]

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.[14]

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.[14]

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.[15]

The 3200-series cars are currently assigned to the Orange and Brown Lines, composing the entire fleet of the Brown Line and the majority of the Orange Line fleet. At various points during their service life a small number were also assigned to the Yellow and Purple Lines.

An overhaul is planned for the 3200-series cars, replacing the cars' rollsigns with multicolor LED destination signs similar to those on the 5000-series, as well as replacing the air conditioning systems and rebuilding the propulsion system, passenger door motors, and the wheel and axle assemblies.[16]

5000-series[edit]

Main article: 5000 series (CTA)
5000-series cars at Quincy

The next series of rail cars, expected to replace the aging 2200-series and 2400-series cars (and half of the 2600-series cars), is the 5000-series (numbered 5001–5714).[17] The series was built by Bombardier of Plattsburgh, New York. The CTA received ten prototype cars in 2009, which underwent testing,[18] and began operating in 2011.[19] The order is for 406 cars, with options for up to 308 more. The Chicago Transit Authority planned to put the first ten cars into in-service testing in mid-April 2010.[20] The first in-service test run was made on April 19.[21][22][23]

Originally assumed to be the 3500-series, the procurement of these cars experienced several delays, including a cancellation of the original bid announcement in 2002.[24]

New features[edit]

  • AC motors
  • New LED signs (amber in early production cars, newer cars have multicolor lights for line identification[25])
  • Predominance of longitudinal seating
  • The seat fabric will be upgraded to an anti-stain/anti-microbial fabric newly available in the industry.
  • Train operators will be able to view live video from any railcar when the passenger intercom unit is activated. This will ensure operators are better able to immediately provide information to first responders.
  • Adding cellular modems to railcars will allow the CTA's Control Center to communicate directly with customers in real-time via audio and text messages using speakers and six visual displays in each car.
  • In the future, suitably equipped emergency vehicles could also access rail car video through the wireless connection.
  • New pulsing white lights and beeping sounds are built into each door assembly, which will activate when the doors are closing.

The 5000-series cars currently make up the entire Pink, Green, and Yellow Line fleets, as well as most of the Red and Purple Line fleets.

Future[edit]

7000-series[edit]

On February 6, 2013, the CTA announced intentions to initiate the procurement process for up to 846 new rail cars to replace the remaining 2600 and 3200 series trains and expand the fleet. The CTA hopes to begin delivery shortly after the last 5000-series car is delivered in 2015. If all options are picked up, the 846 car procurement is estimated to cost a total of more than $2 billion.[26] In June 2014, it was announced that the 7000-series cars are not expected to begin delivery until 2019 with prototypes for testing to be delivered in August 2018 and then delivery of production cars to begin delivery starting in August 2019 at a rate of 10 to 14 cars a month. [27]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "4000-series Cars". Chicago-'L'.org. Retrieved 2009-02-22. 
  2. ^ C.E.R.A. (1973). Chicago’s Rapid Transit v.1: Rolling Stock/1892-1947. Central Electric Railfans’ Association. pp. 191–214. ISBN 0-915348-15-2. 
  3. ^ "5000-series Cars". Chicago-'L'.org. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  4. ^ C.E.R.A. (1973), pp. 215-227.
  5. ^ C.E.R.A. (1976). Chicago’s Rapid Transit v.2: Rolling Stock/1947-1976. Central Electric Railfans’ Association. pp. 62–71. ISBN 0-915348-15-2. 
  6. ^ "6000-series Cars". Chicago-'L'.org. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  7. ^ C.E.R.A. (1976), pp. 8-43.
  8. ^ "1-50 \ 61-65 series Cars". Chicago-'L'.org. Retrieved 2009-02-22. 
  9. ^ C.E.R.A. (1976), pp. 44-61.
  10. ^ "2000-series Cars". Chicago-'L'.org. Retrieved 2009-02-22. 
  11. ^ C.E.R.A. (1976), pp. 73-83.
  12. ^ C.E.R.A. (1976), pp. 84-91.
  13. ^ http://www.trainweb.org/phillynrhs/RPOTW050403.html
  14. ^ a b c "3200-series Cars". Chicago-'L'.org. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  15. ^ "Frequently asked questions #4.4". Chicago-'L'.org. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  16. ^ "CTA Prepares to Overhaul Its 3200-Series Rail Cars in 2015". Mass Transit Magazine. August 14, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  17. ^ "President's Report". Chicago Transit Authority. January 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-05. 
  18. ^ "CTA to Issue Bonds to Complete Purchase of New Rail Cars" (Press release). Chicago Transit Authority. 02-10-2010. Retrieved 2010-04-14.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  19. ^ "Clean Vehicles:Trains". Chicago Transit Authority. Retrieved 2010-04-14. 
  20. ^ "CTA to Begin In-Service Testing of New Rail Cars" (Press release). Chicago Transit Authority. April 15, 2010. Retrieved April 15, 2010. 
  21. ^ Roberts, Bob (April 19, 2010). "New CTA trains make first run". WBBM. Retrieved April 20, 2010. [dead link]
  22. ^ Jackson, Cheryl V. (April 20, 2010). "New CTA cars: 'Cleaner, looks a lot safer'". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 9. Retrieved April 20, 2010. 
  23. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6eE7UGCKmk
  24. ^ "Frequently asked questions #4.10". Chicago-'L'.org. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  25. ^ Hilkevitch, Jon (December 14, 2011). "Retrofits planned for new CTA rail cars". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 15, 2011. 
  26. ^ http://www.transitchicago.com/news/default.aspx?Month=&Year=&Category=2&ArticleId=3141
  27. ^ http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11519307/new-cta-rail-cars-expected-in-2019

External links[edit]