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CTA begins testing new made-in-Chicago rail cars

The Chicago Transit Authority has started in-service testing of its next-generation rail cars — the 7000 series — which were built at a new facility in the Hegewisch neighborhood on the city’s Far Southeast Side. The 10 prototype cars began running April 21, 2011, on the Blue Line to O’Hare International Airport, with plans to rotate to other routes during the year, CTA spokesman Brian Steele said.
The first new cars to hit the CTA tracks in 10 years are part of a $632 million order for 400 rail cars from CRRC Sifang America, a subsidiary of a Chinese rail car manufacturer, which opened its Chicago plant in 2019.

A train featuring the new 7000 series CTA rail cars pulls into the Logan Square Blue Line station April 21, 2021. Riders will be able to identify the cars from a distance, with distinctive blue end caps, new layout of headlights and taillights, and a more streamlined look than the rest of the CTA’s aged fleet. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)

The interior of one of the new 7000 series CTA rail cars April 21, 2021, on the Blue Line in Chicago. A redesigned interior featuring a new seating configuration, including a mix of forward-facing and aisle-facing seats, is one of the new features of the cars.

The interior of one of the new 7000 series CTA rail cars April 21, 2021, on the Blue Line in Chicago. A redesigned interior featuring a new seating configuration, including a mix of forward-facing and aisle-facing seats, is one of the new features of the cars. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)

People ride one of the new 7000 series CTA rail cars April 21, 2021, on the Blue Line toward Forest Park.

People ride one of the new 7000 series CTA rail cars April 21, 2021, on the Blue Line toward Forest Park. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)

A new layout of headlights and taillights are new features of the 7000 series CTA rail cars.

A new layout of headlights and taillights are new features of the 7000 series CTA rail cars. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)

Aisle-facing seats in a 7000 series CTA rail car April 21, 2021, on the Blue Line in Chicago.

Aisle-facing seats in a 7000 series CTA rail car April 21, 2021, on the Blue Line in Chicago. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)

People ride one of the new CTA rail cars April 21, 2021, on the Blue Line toward Forest Park in Chicago.

People ride one of the new CTA rail cars April 21, 2021, on the Blue Line toward Forest Park in Chicago. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)

A train featuring the new 7000 series CTA rail cars pulls out of the Damen Blue Line station on April 21, 2021.

A train featuring the new 7000 series CTA rail cars pulls out of the Damen Blue Line station on April 21, 2021. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)

A new hybrid configuration of forward-facing and aisle-facing seats is one of the features of the new CTA 7000 series rail cars being tested on the Blue Line on April 21, 2021.

A new hybrid configuration of forward-facing and aisle-facing seats is one of the features of the new CTA 7000 series rail cars being tested on the Blue Line on April 21, 2021. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)

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