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New CTA rail car factory cleared to break ground on Chicago’s South Side

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After a 50 year hiatus, train car manufacturing is preparing to return to the Windy City

CenterPoint Chicago

A factory that will manufacture the next generation of Chicago Transit Authority ‘L’ trains is ready to begin construction in the Hegewisch community on the city’s Far South Side. Approved by the Chicago Plan Commission in October, the 380,000-square-foot development at the intersection of 135th Street and Torrence Avenue will cost an estimated $40 million to build, according to a construction permit recently issued for the 45-acre site.

The sprawling facility comes from developer CenterPoint Chicago and will be operated by the North American branch of CRRC Sifang—a state-owned Chinese firm that is investing $100 million in the project. The company was awarded a $1.3 billion contract to build the cars after its bid undercut Canadian-based competitor Bombardier by $226 million.

The deal calls for up to 846 units of the new ‘7000 Series’ rail cars. The quieter and smoother trains will feature LED lighting, additional security cameras, and 37 or 38 seats a piece. Production is slated to begin in early 2019 with the new generation cars expected to enter service the following year. According to the City of Chicago, the Hegewisch facility will bring an estimated 170 new jobs to the area.

CTA
CTA
CenterPoint Chicago

An image of the CTA’s upcoming 7000 Series trains.