ON JANUARY 28 Chicago Transit Authority issued a request for proposals for 206 metro cars, with options that could bring the total to 706. Bids are due in mid-2005, with deliveries to begin in 2008.

The new cars are intended to replace the 2200 series Budd vehicles dating from 1969-70 and 2400 series Boeing-Vertol cars delivered in 1976-78. They will be CTA’s first cars with AC propulsion and regenerative braking. Funding will come from the federal government and Illinois DoT.

Following trials with two cars earlier this year, CTA has decided to adopt longitudinal seating in the new cars, increasing the space for standing passengers whilst maintaining the same 39 seats as the existing cars. There will be two wheelchair spaces per vehicle.

Regional commuter rail operator Metra is to take delivery this spring of 26 stainless steel bi-level EMU cars ordered from Sumitomo Corp as part of a programme to replace the 160-car Highliner fleet and build a new EMU depot. Later phases may be delayed, however, as Metra has had to cut $117m from its 2005 capital budget after the state legislature failed to renew the five-year $12bn Illinois FIRST programme. n