2600 series (Chicago "L")

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2600 series
Blue Line at California heading to Forest Park.jpg
Rehabbed 2600 series cars on the Blue Line.
In service 1981–present
Manufacturer Budd Company
Built at Red Lion Plant, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Family name High Performance
Constructed 1981–1987
Entered service 1981
Refurbishment 1998–2002
Number built 600
Number in service 517
Number scrapped 5
Formation Married pair
Fleet numbers 2601–3200
3458 (renumbered from 3032)
Capacity 45 (seated-A car)
46 (seated-B car)
Operator(s) Chicago Transit Authority
Depot(s) Desplaines Yard
Rosemont Yard
Midway Yard
98th Yard
Line(s) served      Blue Line - 402 cars
     Orange Line - 114 cars
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 54,140 pounds (24,560 kg)
Traction motors 4 GE1262A1 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 2600 series is a series of Chicago "L" car built between 1981 and 1987 by the Budd Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 600 cars were built, and 517 of them remain in service as of 2015.

The 2600 series was the fourth series of five interoperable series of Chicago "L" cars known as the High Performance Family.

The 2600 series cars (numbered 2601–3200) were manufactured by the Budd Company, the same company that made the 2200 series. The cars were 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 last railcars to be built by the Budd Company later renamed to Transit America.

The cars were rebuilt by Alstom of Hornell, New York, between 1998 and 2002. They are quite similar in design to the earlier 2400 series.

Currently, these cars make up the entire Blue Line fleet, most of the Orange Line fleet. Car 3458 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, 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. Beginning in October 2014, CTA has also started to transfer some of the Red Line's 2600-series cars directly to the Orange Line to replace the rest of its 2400-series cars in the interim until the Red and Purple Lines are fully equipped with 5000-series cars. However, since the delivery of 5000-series cars is complete, the assignment of 2600-series cars on the Orange Line is now likely a permanent assignment until the delivery of the future 7000-series cars.

Budd/Transit America had completed car 3200 on April 3, 1987.[1] Car 3200 was not only the final car 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. Car 3200 can be found on the Blue Line.



Though the 2600-series cars' service lives are ending in the 2020s or 2030s, it is unlikely the 2600-series cars will be retired so soon due to their importance in the CTA's fleet. It is likely the 2600-series cars will be kept in service past the end of their service life.


2600-series cars as-built at the Cicero-Berwyn Terminal on July 17, 1994