Energy-Efficient Train Cars Are Returning to the CTA

After a delay to replace defective wheel housing parts, the CTA’s next-generation energy-efficient rail cars are returning to service.

The transit agency removed the cars from service in mid-December after CTA inspectors found irregularities in the journal bearing housings on the wheel assemblies. Subsequent tests revealed serious structural defects in the steel castings, which were made for Bombardier by a foundry in China.

The cars were retrofitted with new journal bearing housings that were made by different suppliers, the CTA and Bombardier said. The housings contain the axles and wheels and support much of a train’s weight.

In addition, Bombardier said it improved its quality-control process and production oversight on the 706-car order totaling $1.14 billion, officials said.

Canada-based Bombardier has delivered 70 cars to the CTA, 54 of them retrofitted and 16 brand new off the assembly line, said CTA spokeswoman Lambrini Lukidis.

The company is also extending the rail car warranty and reimbursing the CTA for costs associated with the equipment problem, officials said.

The CTA expects to receive 14 to 20 new cars each month once production at Bombardier’s plant in Plattsburgh, N.Y., is at full tilt, Lukidis said.

One six-car train is expected to enter service each week, she said, and service with the new cars will be expanded to other CTA rail lines….

The rail cars feature aisle-facing seats and new technologies that include more energy-efficient propulsion and regenerative braking, both of which are designed to provide smoother rides, Bombardier officials said.

If you are interested in learning more about the role of transit in sustainable urban planning, the Roosevelt seminar SUST 320 Sprawl, Transportation, and Planning (offered this this fall as a hybrid course meeting in Schaumburg and online) may be of interest. For more information on these or any other of our courses, please visit our Sustainability Studies website, call 1-877-277-5978 (1-877-APPLY RU) or email

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