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Metra’s board yesterday approved the purchase of up to 500 multilevel rail cars from Alstom Transportation Inc.
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, Metra officials said in a press release.
The cars specified in the contract are a customized version of Alstom’s Coradia Duplex model and will be built at Alstom’s manufacturing plant in Hornell, New York. A third of the rail-car contract value will be provided by Illinois-based suppliers, Metra officials said.
The new rail cars will be wheelchair accessible and have two entranceways with doors nearly level to the platform. The cars will also feature security camera in the passenger area and a microprocessor-controlled braking system.
The first car is expected to be delivered 42 months after the contract is finalized, with the full base order to be completed 30 months later.
About 40 percent of Metra’s current fleet of 840 cars are rated in marginal or poor condition, Metra officials said.
“We are finally modernizing one of the oldest fleets in the country and, in doing so, we will improve operations while elevating our 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,” said Metra Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Jim Derwinski.