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CRRC Sifang America has hired the initial group of employees to assemble Chicago Transit Authority's (CTA) newest 7000 Series rail cars at the $100 million rail-car manufacturing plant, the China-based company announced last week.
The announcement marks the start of employee training, with more than 70 workers hired to date. The first group of production workers will travel to China next week for specialized training in assembling the rail cars.
The facility is set to become fully operational later this year, and will assemble the CTA’s base order of 400 rail cars for a total of $632 million, or $1.58 million per car, with future options for an additional 226 rail cars.
The new rail cars will be the first CTA vehicles produced in Chicago since 1964.
“As we complete the new Chicago facility, our newly hired workers will be training in preparation to build the first 10 prototypes of the new 7000 Series rail cars to be delivered later this year," CRRC Sifang America President Chengyong Liu said in a press release.
The first rail-car order will be assembled at the Chicago plant and are slated to replace CTA's oldest rail cars, which are more than 30 years old. Once the new units are put into service, CTA will have one of the youngest fleets of any U.S. transit agency, according to a CTA press release.
The new rail cars will include AC-power propulsion for a smooth, quiet ride; security cameras inside and outside the vehicle; and GPS-triggered announcements and automatic passenger counting for improved service planning.
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