More coffee notes: Problems, ideas on the rails
Here's the second installment of notes from our coffee with CTA President Ron Huberman, where he discusses rail issues.
Plagued by an aging system with little capital funding on the horizon, the CTA can’t find parts anymore for its oldest cars, the 2200 series with the bifold doors. But Huberman said the CTA will take delivery of more than 400 new cars by 2010.
Huberman pulled out a slick presentation on the new rail cars out of his briefcase and shared with us the new design for those rails cars, which he stressed is not totally final. The first 10 cars will be delivered this fall, though they won’t be outfitted with the exact final configuration.
Here are some key features:
- Recessed lighting.
- Reading lights.
- Six 9-inch TV screens in each car, rotating CTA info and advertising.
- No more advertising cards -- the small TVs are replacing all paper ad cards.
- Computerized Internet controls mean no more herky-jerky rides.
- A “smart” systems map in the middle of the car pinpointing the train’s current location.
- The same number of seats arranged longitudinally to allow for more standing room.
- A padded “butt perch” in the area where a wheelchair would go so if there was no disabled passenger onboard, other passengers could rest against the padded perch.
In one of the funnier lines of the meeting, Ron noted that on current trains “we assure that every sense is assaulted” with harsh, bright lighting and a cold design.
Huberman wouldn’t let me take a photo of the new design, explaining it had only been decided on last week, and that we were the first to see it outside of CTA headquarters. Besides, the details are not yet final. In the photo with this post, Huberman holds a page showing the older-type seating. Those seats would not be used in the new train cars.