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Announcing New Factory To Build CTA Railcars

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The new manufacturing plant is announced Mar. 16. 2017, at 13535 S. Torrence Ave. It will create more than 300 skilled factory and new construction jobs, according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office statement.  The project will return CTA rail car manufacturing to Chicago after a 50-year absence, according to the city. CRRC Sifang's American subsidiary, CRRC Sifang North America, won the $1.3 billion contract last year to build the new 7000 Series over 10 years.  CRRC Sifang will invest $100 million in building a 380,944-square-foot manufacturing facility on 45 acres in Chicago's Hegewisch neighborhood on the Southeast Side. The site is mostly vacant, used for staging automobiles for loading onto railroad auto racks and highway trucks.

Once complete, the first order of 400 new, 7000-series rail cars will mark the first time in more than 50 years that CTA cars have been built in the city, officials said. The new cars will replace the oldest ones currently running, 2600 series Budd/Transit America, which date back to the 1980s.

Pullman-Standard built the 2000 series "new look" railcars in the 1960s in a factory near 111th Street and S. Cottage Grove and those railcars help open the outer realignment of the Lake Street "L". The famous Pullman Car & Manufacturing Company won with an offer of 180 cars (90 married units). High speed operation and new trucks were required, as were fluorescent lights and picture windows. The railcars were the first CTA cars with air conditioning. Because these cars were to have additional features, the decision was made to place these cars in a new family (the High Performance Family) and not require them to trainline with any of the existing cars. 

Photos:  City image of factory, Special paint scheme Pullman railcar, author's photo.

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