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CTA Tracker

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Did you know the CTA requires custom rail cars short enough to negotiate the El's tight track turns? Hence no robotic retrofits, no mass overseas production. Machine-assisted hand assembly is the name of the game, and upstate New York's Bombardier plant has the privilege of handling the CTA's $1.14B order for 706 rail cars. John Hilkevitch of The Tribune visited the plant to document the manufacturing and inspection process. The order's being filled at a rate of about one car every two days, but Bombardier hopes to accelerate toward a late 2014 completion. Production has resumed after the discovery a defect last year (a weakened steel component, made in China of course). Jump over to The Trib for a short video breakdown. [Trib, 5000-series rendering: Bombardier]