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The Chicago Transit Board has approved millions of dollars worth of contracts and funding plans to overhaul rail cars, renovate the historic Quincy Loop 'L' Station, upgrade three substations on the Red and Brown lines, and perform track and structural work on the Blue Line O'Hare branch.The board approved two contracts that will be part of an overhaul of CTA's 20-year-old 3200-series rail cars, which are in service on the Brown and Orange lines, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) officials said in a press release.The project calls for replacing many of the cars' major operating systems, including the installation of new air conditioning systems and the rebuilding of the propulsion system, passenger door motors, and wheel and axle systems. An $8.2 million contract was awarded to Ellcon National Inc. for the purchase of new auxiliary power systems for the cars, and a $4.1 million contract was awarded to Axion Technologies for the purchase of color light-emitting diode (LED) signs for the sides and ends of each car."We have made significant progress on our plan to modernize CTA's rail system and fleet to better serve our customers," said CTA President Forrest Claypool, noting that the agency continues to add new cars and recently retired its oldest cars.The board also approved a plan to use $15.7 million in city tax-incremental financing funds to renovate the Quincy Station, which was built in 1897 and was last renovated in 1988. It is one of the few remaining original Loop L stations.Subject to City Council approval, the Quincy project will include the addition of two elevators, replacement of two sets of entrance stairs, painting, lighting improvements and other repairs. The station serves the Brown, Orange, Pink and Purple lines and is a major multi-modal transfer point for 10 bus routes, CTA officials said.Meanwhile, for the Red and Brown lines, the board awarded a $25.6 million contract to Clark Construction Group to upgrade existing electrical equipment and buildings at the Princeton substation on West 63rd Street, the State Street substation in the Loop and the Kimball substation at the Brown Line terminal. Funded by the CTA's capital budget, the project will increase the electrical power capacity at both State and Kimball by 20 percent, agency officials said.For the Milwaukee Blue Line track renewal project, the board awarded a $20.4 million contract to Kiewit Infrastructure Co. to serve as general contractor. The project will involve track and structural work on the line's O'Hare branch between the Damen and Logan Square stations.The project is designed to address slow zones not repaired during previous construction projects, CTA officials said. Currently, Blue Line trains operating to and from O'Hare International Airport and the Loop incur speed restrictions of 15 mph to 35 mph as a precaution issued after inspections found that wood ties were in poor condition and in need of repair.In addition to replacing the wood ties along the elevated structure, the project will replace tie plates, fasteners and footwalks.The Blue Line project will be funded primarily with grants from the Illinois Department of Transportation and a Transportation Investment Investment Generating Economic Recovery III grant.
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