5000 series (CTA)

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5000 series
CTA Run -312.jpg
In service 2011–present
Manufacturer Bombardier Transportation
Built at Plattsburgh, New York
Replaced 2200-series, 2400-series
Constructed 2009–2015
Entered service 2011
Number built 714
Number in service 698
Formation Married pair
Fleet numbers 5001–5714
Capacity 34 seated, 123 total
Operator(s) Chicago Transit Authority
Depot(s) 54th Avenue Yard
61st Yard
Lower 63rd Yard
98th Street Rail Yard
Ashland Yard
Harlem Yard
Howard Yard
Linden Yard
Line(s) served      Pink Line
     Green Line
     Red Line
     Purple Line
     Yellow 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 Design: 70 miles per hour (110 km/h)
Service: 55 miles per hour (89 km/h)
Weight 57,000 pounds (26,000 kg) empty
Traction system Bombardier MITRAC AC Propulsion system
Electric system(s) Third rail, 600 V DC
Current collection method Contact shoe
Braking system(s) Regenerative and Pneumatic
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge

The 5000 series is a series of Chicago "L" car built by Bombardier Transportation. A $577 million order for 406 cars was placed in 2006.[1] In July 2011, the CTA ordered 300 more cars (later increased to 308 cars) for $331 million as an option on the first contract.[2][3]

The 5000-series reuses a numbering set used on 4 experimental articulated train-sets that were in service from 1947 to 1985. Only 2 currently survive, 5001 at the Fox River Trolley Museum and 5002 at the Illinois Railway Museum.


The first 10 cars began testing in passenger service on April 19, 2010.[4] Following completion of the testing phase and acceptance of the rail cars, a dozen cars are expected to be delivered every month until all cars are in service.

Seating is longitudinal, with passengers facing a wider aisle. This has increased capacity by 20–30% to a total of 123.[5] Vertical stanchions and horizontal overhead bars with straps have been added throughout much of the car to give standing passengers more to hold on to.[6] New amenities include seven security cameras per car, new electronic signs making announcements visually, and "active" system maps showing the location of the train on the line.[7] Due to the 5000-series not being in the High-Performance family of railcars (as of 2015, the only remaining series of this family of cars are the 2600 and 3200 series), and having AC propulsion, the 5000-Series are unable to couple with other series of railcars in the CTA's fleet, which are all High-Performance cars. This is not a complication for the 5000-series for the most part, since most of the lines the 5000s are assigned to are occupied entirely by them. The Red Line is the only line that the 5000s are assigned to where they don't make up the entire fleet. Though the Red Line does have 2600-series cars, they only operate during weekday rush hours.

Features and usage[edit]

The 5000-series use technologies such as AC traction equipment[2] that will enhance operations and maintenance and provide a smoother, more comfortable ride.[8] Cars 5001–5114 originally came with amber LED destination signs; cars beginning with unit 5115–5116 came equipped with multicolored LED destination signs that can be programmed for the color of the line(s) that they will eventually operate on (the amber-only signs in the existing cars began to be replaced with the multicolored signs starting mid-August 2012 with units 5095–5096 and 5097–5098, which were originally delivered to the CTA with the amber signs but were retrofitted with the colored signs before they were placed into service).[9]

The first cars were placed into regular service on November 8, 2011, on the Pink Line.[10][11] In addition to making up the entire Pink Line fleet, as of September 2015, these cars currently make up the entire Green, Purple, and Yellow Line fleets and most of the Red Line fleet. CTA initially planned on assigning some 5000-series cars in the future to the Orange Line, replacing its 2600-series cars, which were supposed to be an interim replacement for the line's aging 2400-series cars until the Red Line is fully equipped with 5000-series cars. However, this is now unlikely since delivery of the 5000-series cars is almost complete and the Red Line still isn't fully equipped with 5000-series cars. The Red Line is expected to be fully equipped with 5000-series cars in late 2015 or 2016. The Purple line was fully re-equipped with the 5000-series cars in March 2015. The 5000-series deliveries were completed in July 2015.


The fleet was taken out of service for inspections in December 2011 concerning irregularities found in the wheel components of the cars.[12] They went back into service on May 7, 2012. As of March 2015, these cars are the most abundant in the CTA's fleet, making up the entire Green, Purple, Pink, and Yellow Line fleets, and most of the Red Line fleet.


The 5000-series' seating arrangement has been met with negative feedback from riders. One of the requirements the CTA had during the bidding process was that manufacturers provide more than one interior layout for a hybrid seating configuration (both longitudinal and lateral), to minimize discomfort as well as maximizing passenger flow.[13]


  1. ^ "Bombardier wins Chicago race". Railway Gazette International. 2006-06-01. 
  2. ^ a b "Chicago orders 300 more 5000-series metro cars". Railway Gazette International. 2011-07-20. 
  3. ^ http://www.transitchicago.com/assets/1/ordinances/014-24_-_Change_Orders.pdf
  4. ^ "CTA to begin in-service testing of new rail cars". Chicago Transit Authority. April 15, 2010. Retrieved July 11, 2010. 
  5. ^ "New CTA rail cars make their debut". Chicago Breaking News Center. April 19, 2010. Archived from the original on 22 April 2010. Retrieved May 11, 2010. 
  6. ^ "CTA to begin in-service testing of new rail cars". CTA. April 15, 2010. Retrieved July 11, 2010. 
  7. ^ Garfield, Graham. "5000-series cars". Chicago-'L'.org. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  8. ^ "CTA 5000-series rail cars". June 1, 2010. Retrieved July 11, 2010. 
  9. ^ Hilkevitch, Jon (December 14, 2011). "Retrofits planned for new CTA rail cars". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 15, 2011. 
  10. ^ Lutz, BJ; Anthony Ponce (November 8, 2011). "New CTA Cars Launch on Pink Line". Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  11. ^ Spielman, Fran (November 8, 2011). "CTA unveils new, roomier L cars featuring multiple security cameras". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  12. ^ Hilkevitch, Jon (December 17, 2011). "Flaws detected in new CTA rail cars". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 2, 2012. 
  13. ^ Hilkevitch, Jon (2 August 2013). "CTA trying for more 'customer-friendly' seating in future cars". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 

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