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CTA to start installing new rail cars on 'L' trains

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The Chicago Transit Authority says more than 700 new rail cars are being added to the city’s “L” trains as part of a plan to upgrade the transit system.

The new, more energy-efficient 5000 series rail cars will have wider aisle, sideways seating and LED maps. The new cars will also be equipped with security cameras that will transmit video to CTA’s control center, the Office of Emergency Management and Communications and the Chicago Police Department.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the upgrade will help keep businesses in Chicago.

"[Businesses] will see another key strategic advantage for the city of Chicago,” said the mayor. “Moving goods and people and providing services will be done fast, with comfort, with speed and with certainty that we are making those types of investments.”

A CTA spokesperson said plans to buy new rail cars began in 2006 under former Mayor Richard Daley. She said prototype testing ended in May of this year and that the last pieces of funding for the project were finalized just last month.

The $1.1 billion project will be paid for with bonds and federal funding.

The first new cars were scheduled to be introduced on the Pink Line on Monday. CTA President Forrest Claypool said a new six-car train is expected to be put into service every two weeks through 2014. Claypool said the new cars will be added to the Red and Green lines starting in 2012, followed by the Yellow, Purple and Orange lines. The upgrade will allow CTA to retire some of its oldest cars, some which are more than 40 years old.

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