Modern railcars are on their way to Metra.
Officials say a better passenger experience is on the way, as Metra starts replacing cars that date from the year Eisenhower was inaugurated color TV and the TV dinner were introduced, and gas went for 20 cents a gallon.
That’s an announcement Metra is elated to make, after the Board of Directors agreed to buy up to 500 made-in-the-USA railcars.
The state-of-the-art cars, featuring a new multilevel design, promise to be more comfortable, accessible, reliable and safe than the outdated cars they will replace — the oldest of which was built in 1953.
“This move is truly transformational,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “These cars will not only modernize our fleet, but they will improve operations while elevating the passenger experience to an entirely new level. It’s really part of our long-term plan to evolve and serve the changing needs of today’s commuters.”
The new cars will have stainless steel bodies and be compatible with Metra’s existing fleet, which means they can be coupled to current cars. They will also feature reliability and safety upgrades, including a microprocessor-controlled braking system and passenger area cameras.
The cars will be built by Alstom Transportation Inc. at its plant in Hornell, N.Y., and the first car will be delivered in three years.
The initial order will be for 200 cars. Metra will have the option to buy up to 300 additional cars for up to $1.8 billion total.
A Better Passenger Experience
A video about the new cars can be viewed at youtube.com/metra.
Better passenger experience will include:
- Two entranceways on each side of the cars with doors nearly level to the platform, thereby requiring only one step to enter instead of multiple steps on the current cars. That will create faster boarding and better passenger flow, so you can get to your destination sooner.
- Full ADA accessibility, with lifts to bridge the slight difference between the platform and entrance.
- Video screens, bike racks, charging outlets, cup holders, armrests and a variety of other amenities requested by customers.
- A quieter and smoother ride.
- The most advanced HVAC system available, which will scrub the circulated air — reducing staleness, allergens and airborne viruses.
- Electrically operated doors.
- Passenger area cameras.
SOURCE: Metra news release and website