January 14, 2021
The Metra board of directors on Wednesday approved the purchase of up to 500 railcars from Alstom Transportation Inc. at a cost of $1.8 billion. The new multilevel cars are designed to be more comfortable, accessible, reliable and safe than the outdated gallery cars they’ll replace.
“This move is truly transformational,” said Metra CEO Jim Derwinski. “We are finally modernizing one of the oldest fleets in the country and, in doing so, we will improve operations while elevating our passenger experience to an entirely new level.”
About 40% of the Chicago-area commuter rail agency’s current fleet is rated in marginal or poor condition, although still safe to operate, said Metra. The new cars will offer increased reliability, while reducing operating costs.
Along with passenger amenities, the cars will offer what Metra called the most advanced HVAC system available, which will scrub the circulated air, reducing staleness, allergens and airborne viruses.
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