CRRC Sifang America made railcars begin in-service testing in Chicago
An eight-car train left Chicago O'Hare International Airport station at 5:50 a.m. local time Wednesday and headed toward downtown Chicago.
Assembled by China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) Sifang America Incorporated in Chicago, the eight railcars, part of the first batch of the 10 7000-series railcars CRRC Sifang America has delivered to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), officially kicked off in-service test run within CTA traffic system.
The 7000-series railcars have bold, blue end caps, new layout of headlights and taillights, and a new seating configuration featuring a mix of forward facing and aisle-facing seats, which has maximized available space and customer comfort.
The new generation railcars have more to brag: they are equipped with LED lighting, improved active vehicle suspension system, new technologies that help improve the safety and security of day-to-day operations, new touchscreen controls with an operator alert system, remote access capabilities for maintenance diagnostics, and additional high-definition security cameras; and have redesigned, all-glass windbreak panel flanking the passenger side doors, double-sided displays in the center of cars displaying information of next and upcoming stations, an "express mode" for hearing impaired customers, and distinct door chimes for the opening and closing doors to aid vision-impaired riders.
The maximum speed of the rail cars is 70 miles or 112 km per hour.
CTA has been testing the 10 railcars from CRRC Sifang America since last summer, operating them out-of-service to evaluate their performance in a wide range of weather and operating conditions. Once the in-service testing, which is expected to continue through early 2022, is satisfactorily completed, batch production and delivery will start.
CRRC Sifang America won a 1.3-billion-U.S.-dollar contract in 2016 to supply 846 7000-series railcars to CTA. These railcars will replace nearly half of CTA's subway fleet, where the oldest cars have been hitting the tracks for more than 30 years.
For the project, CRRC Sifang America has invested 100 million dollars and constructed a factory on the South Side of Chicago. The assembly factory has not only generated hundreds of jobs for Chicagoans but also created significant opportunities for local suppliers and related businesses. More importantly, the factory marked the first time in more than 50 years that railcars were produced in Chicago.
"As CTA president, one of my main priorities has been to modernize our system to benefit our customers, as well as the communities we serve," said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. "These new railcars are the latest step we're taking to build a 21st century transit experience, while also boosting the local economy through the creation of good paying, local jobs."
CRRC Sifang America is an Illinois-based subsidiary of CRRC Corporation Limited, a world leader in design, engineering and production of advanced passenger rail vehicles and high-speed trains.