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The CTA has donated a 1995 New Flyer D40LF to the Chicago Fire Department for use as a mass oxygen unit. Info from Fire apparatus journal.

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That's hilarious! Way to start off my Sunday! How the hell did he manage to mount those trees??

A accident that injures people is never funny. Thirty-seven people were hospitalized -- including four in serious to critical condition. Being a bus driver I know this has to be devastating to the driver even if she is not at fault.

Passengers are saying it not the driver's fault. Mind you there still have to be a investigation but from the article below there was problems was with the steering.

Passengers blame bus in CTA crash that injured 37 'It wasn't the driver's fault. It was that bus.'

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A accident that injures people is never funny. Thirty-seven people were hospitalized -- including four in serious to critical condition. Being a bus driver I know this has to be devastating to the driver even if she is not at fault.

Passengers are saying it not the driver's fault. Mind you there still have to be a investigation but from the article below there was problems was with the steering.

Passengers blame bus in CTA crash that injured 37 'It wasn't the driver's fault. It was that bus.'

Wow, that's insane. Possibly from faulty steering... Has there been any other reports or patterns from other New Flyer Vehicles?

To clarify, I wasn't laughing at the accident or the persons. Just the image of the bus on top of trees. Bizarre. I didn't see the other photos of those laying down with braces to the necks.

+1 for your first sentence. Mah bad for the apparent insensitivity.

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December 30, 2010

CTA to pilot 'Train Tracker'

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) President Richard L. Rodriguez announced that a pilot version of the highly anticipated CTA Train Tracker will be launched in early January via a dedicated website. Customers using desktop computers or mobile Web-enabled devices, such as iPhones, BlackBerries or smartphones, will be able to access estimated arrival times for trains on all eight rail lines.

Estimated arrival times will be generated through a combination of scheduling information and data collected by the CTA's QuickTrak program, which monitors signaling systems and indicates when a portion of track is occupied by a train. An average transit time is determined by measuring how long it takes a train to travel a portion of track. By averaging the travel times of the last five trains to move across a portion of track, the CTA can calculate the estimated arrival times for trains at each station.

To view estimated arrival times, customers will simply have to go to the dedicated website, select their preferred rail line and then choose a station. Arrival times of approaching trains within a 15-minute timeframe will be provided for the selected station, and results will refresh approximately every 20 seconds to 30 seconds.

Customers will have the option to choose the number of results displayed and how they are sorted — either by track or route if the station is served by multiple rail lines; or by time to arrival.

In the event arrival times cannot be calculated — such as with the first trains in the morning — Train Tracker will provide and indicate schedule information for the next arriving train(s).

Since April, stations equipped with electronic signs have been testing estimated arrival time displays. Because the electronic displays across the rail system are not uniform in age, size, character availability or the number of lines displayed, personnel have been working diligently to develop a consistent method of delivering accurate data for the various display types.

As part of the Train Tracker pilot, electronic signs at 10 CTA stations also will feature arrival information either on the platform or mezzanine levels.

Specific details regarding CTA Train Tracker and station locations that will display train arrival information will be made available in January when the program is officially launched, according to the agency.


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Was recently in Chicago, but didn't have much time to take a lot of video. I did manage to get this put together though:

CTA is by far my favorite agency in the USA, everything is very well thought out :)

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New CTA train Bombardier cars had dangerous flaw

CTA customers worn out by trains that constantly break down and smell like burning rubber might have thought their ride had finally arrived last year when the first new rail cars in decades glided along "L" tracks.

But on the underbelly of the new stainless steel cars with fluted sides lurked a threat that was more serious than CTA officials could have imagined when they pulled the cars from service in December.

Internally defective and potentially dangerous steel parts from China that could break and lead to a derailment were installed on the cars manufactured for the CTA by Bombardier Transportation, according to the transit agency's internal investigation.

The inferior craftsmanship found on the safety-sensitive parts in the rail car truck assembly, which supports much of a train's weight, raises serious questions about Bombardier's quality-control process on the new generation of CTA trains, the investigation found. The CTA is the first transit agency to purchase the cars, known as the 5000 Series. The contract for 706 of those cars totals more than $1 billion.

Almost all the steel castings in question, manufactured for Canada-based Bombardier by joint venture partner Sifang foundry in Qingdao, China, were substandard and will be replaced, CTA officials said. Sifang is no longer working on the CTA contract, they added.

"It was an unacceptably high level of failure at that one factory,'' CTA spokeswoman Molly Sullivan said. "We are now satisfied we determined what the issue was, and we have a plan to get back on track.''

The CTA disclosed the results of its investigation to the Tribune on Wednesday after the newspaper told agency officials that CTA sources had detailed the probe's findings about the defective parts.

Sullivan said the agency's goal is to reintroduce the cars to passenger service by May 1 and to have about 120 in operation by June.

CTA officials insisted on improvements to Bombardier's quality-control management, Sullivan said, adding that Bombardier officials could describe the enhanced processes now in place.

But Bombardier officials, as they have in the past, declined Wednesday to answer questions from the Tribune.

"The bottom line is that we continue to work closely with CTA to resolve the situation,'' Bombardier spokeswoman Maryanne Roberts said in an email.

CTA rail mechanics along with workers from Bombardier are now disassembling the cars already delivered to Chicago, storing the car bodies and sending back the truck assemblies, which contain the axles and wheels, to Bombardier for complete repairs. Bombardier scrapped all the castings made by Sifang, and all CTA cars will be outfitted with parts from two new suppliers, one in Germany and one in China, CTA officials said.

In addition,X-rays, chemical tests of foundry samples and a computer analysis of the new castings will be conducted before they are installed, officials said.

Bombardier is paying for all inspection and replacement work, providing the CTA with an extension on the rail car warranty and will reimburse the CTA for any costs associated with the equipment problem, Sullivan said. The CTA will receive two extra days of warranty coverage for every day the cars are out of service because of the bad Chinese parts, she said.

Asked whether the CTA is seeking penalties from Bombardier or taking legal action, Sullivan said: "Not at this time. CTA has not incurred any extra costs associated with the removal of the rail cars from service. The contract does call for penalties and damages for delayed delivery, though they do no take effect until the end of the contract.''

CTA inspectors — not Bombardier — blew the whistle on the highly suspect parts manufactured by the Sifang steel-casting factory, CTA officials said.

Bombardier didn't notice any problem, Sullivan said.

One CTA official involved in the investigation who requested anonymity said: "They had a preposterously high rejection rate. Why it wasn't brought to CTA's attention, we don't know.''

The steel castings at the center of the investigation are called journal bearing housings, which allow the movement of the wheels to be independent of the axle.

The risk of derailment would be extremely high if one or more of the eight housings, which are located next to the wheels on each rail car, were to break on a moving train, CTA officials said.

Bombardier delivered 54 rail cars to the CTA in 2011. Most carried passengers until mid-December, when CTA President Forrest Claypool sidelined them as a precaution and ordered Bombardier to immediately halt production. There were no accidents associated with the defective parts.

As a result, the CTA was forced to bring back retired trains, some dating to the late 1960s and well beyond their designed service life, to prevent disruptions for riders. But the old trains are prone to breakdowns and are prohibitively expensive to maintain, officials said.

The stop order on production of the 5000 Series cars came in the wake of CTA inspections at the Bombardier assembly plant in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and at a company elsewhere in the U.S. where final machining work was performed on the Chinese-made castings, officials said.

The setback in the CTA's efforts to replace its aged fleet of rail cars over the next few years shows the transit agency's heavy dependence on its contractors, who are competing against each other in the global market to submit the lowest bid while trying to fulfill their responsibility to provide quality products that are safe and will last for decades.

The bad Chinese steel parts also point to weaknesses in the "Buy America'' clause in the $1.14 billion, taxpayer-funded CTA contract for 706 rail cars. The federal Buy America law is intended to protect U.S. jobs from cheaper foreign competition and help ensure that quality standards are met on products used in the American market.

No violations of the law appeared to occur in the Bombardier contract. But the Buy America law permits almost 40 percent of the cost of components to be manufactured outside the U.S., while final assembly must be done domestically.

The Obama administration is proposing a requirement that 100 percent of transit vehicles and components purchased with federal dollars must be produced in the U.S.

"We expect quality products that are safe and reliable and ensure taxpayer dollars are well spent,'' said Peter Rogoff, administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, which provided most of the funding for the CTA rail cars.

Last fall, CTA inspectors at first found what appeared to be a shoddy exterior finish — one inspector said it looked like a severe case of chicken pox — on the castings of journal bearing housings produced by Sifang.

Many of the castings also appeared to have grinding marks on the surface, a sign that attempts were made to smooth out the face of the steel to improve its appearance, the CTA investigation found.

X-rays and other tests subsequently showed severe internal defects, including voids, or holes, in the steel castings. The holes were apparently caused by air pockets that became trapped in the castings during the manufacturing process and prevented the steel from permeating the moldings, officials said, adding that the holes compromised the structural integrity of the castings.

Another question is why the CTA purchasing and law departments decided to work quietly with Bombardier for months instead of perhaps voiding the contract over a grievous and potentially deadly series of errors, and why Claypool did not publicly disclose the severity of the problem until the Tribune compiled most of the evidence itself through CTA sources.

Sullivan said Bombardier has cooperated in the investigation and aggressively pursued solutions.

The Tribune has peppered the CTA with inquiries since 2010, shortly after Bombardier delivered 10 prototypes of the new rail cars for testing in Chicago. The CTA last year rejected a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by the newspaper on the Bombardier deal.

On Tuesday, the CTA stalled on another Freedom of Information Act request from the Tribune seeking a copy of the Bombardier contract. The letter from Brigett Bevan, the CTA's Freedom of Information officer, cited "a need for consultation'' before deciding whether to release the public contract, which was signed in 2006 and amended as the CTA added more trains to its order.

After the crisis erupted over the journal bearing housings, Bombardier officials attempted to force the CTA to accept an unsatisfactory solution, according to sources. The company also went to City Hall in an attempt to strong-arm negotiations over an option that was eventually exercised for the CTA to buy more rail cars, the sources said.

source: http://www.chicagotr...0,4778442.story

Video: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/video?id=8574460

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I'm somewhat glad that the new trains were pulled from service. Being a first time visitor to Chicago, I was thrilled to get a 2200-series car on the Blue Line tonight. They ride nice, and I love the doors too! Too bad they'll likely all be gone by the summer/fall.

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Here are some photos from my trip to Chicagoland last week, sorry the quality isn't all that great, it was drizzling and cloudy the whole time.

A couple Nova LFS shots, I had taken a lot more but the lighting was terrible each time which made for lousy photo quality:

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A 2400 Series Boeing-Vertol car, and an interior shot of a 2600 Series Budd:

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Farewell to my favorites, the 2200 series Budd "Blinkers", some interior photos:

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I'll also have a video uploaded eventually of a short ride on one of these cars.

Not as common CTA buses:

7152970227_400a0b2008_t.jpg 7152967323_4956442c5b_t.jpg 7143671025_0a9a3b2075_t.jpg

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Well, now we know when the LFS will start being replaced:

CTA To Buy Up To 100 New ‘Supersize’ Buses

CHICAGO (CBS) — Your chances of getting a seat on the bus could get a little better soon.

The CTA board has voted to buy as many as 100 new articulated buses to replaces smaller buses on busy routes.

Those are the double-length buses with the flexible section in the middle.

WBBM’s Bob Roberts reports they’ll be used to increase capacity on some popular routes.

The new buses will not be used to replace older articulated buses.

Deliveries will begin in the fall

Source: CBS Chicago

Word is they'll be New Flyer options off KCM, styling (LF or LFR) is unknown at this time.

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Cool news. I loved seeing the D60LFR buses when I was in Cleveland recently (not to mention the thrill of riding the BRT line there)

The Chicago Sun-Times says 33 of these new artics will be hybrids. Allison or BAE hybrids?

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The 60-foot articulated buses were part of an order for up to 715 buses that King County Metro Transit in Seattle agreed to purchase from New Flyer. The CTA will use federal and local funds.

The Seattle system did not exercise its option on the 100 buses. The CTA will acquire to expand the capacity of its bus fleet and offer a more comfortable riding experience for CTA customers, officials said.

The new buses will be delivered late this year through the middle of 2013, said Marina Popovic, CTA vice president of purchasing and warehousing.

New Flyer press release

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This article was linked in ChicagoBus, and it states these units with be LFR:


It'll be interesting to see if they go with that awful perimeter seating layout again, or more forward facing seats. Probably perimeter though since CTA seems to prefer capacity over comfort.

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CTA promises like-new bus fleet

Agency to buy 425 buses and rebuild 1,000

The 425 new buses are separate from the CTA's purchase in May of 100 brand-new New Flyer articulated buses.

http://www.chicagotr...0,7322607.story (Excerpts below)

"CTA President Forrest Claypool said he projects the agency will reduce maintenance costs by millions of dollar annually, money that potentially could be pumped into providing more bus service.

CTA officials say other major benefits include cutting smog emissions by one-third and asthma-causing soot particulates by more than half, compared with the current fleet mix.

Under the plan, the CTA will buy 325 40-foot buses and 100 60-foot articulated or accordion-style buses, using the CTA's bond funds backed by sales taxes, officials told the Tribune. No state or federal funds are anticipated, they added.

The bus orders will be for a combination of diesel-electric hybrids and lower-emission all-diesel vehicles, officials said. The estimated cost of the purchases is $330 million, officials said, adding that companies will be asked to submit bids for the bus order soon.

The first new buses will begin arriving later this year, and deliveries will be completed over the next two years, CTA officials said.

The 425 new buses are separate from the CTA's purchase in May of 100 brand-new New Flyer Industries articulated buses that became available from a contract involving the Seattle transit system. Those 100 buses, which the CTA is acquiring for $80.1 million, are set to arrive in Chicago late this year through mid-2013. . .

The total number of buses in the fleet will not change significantly, but passenger capacity will increase by 4 to 5 percent thanks to more larger buses, CTA spokesman Brian Steele said.

The CTA will retire 479 40-foot Nova buses that are 12 years old, which is the recommended service life of transit buses, CTA spokeswoman Molly Sullivan said. Forty-five 30-foot Optima buses will also be phased out, she said.

The agency will also continue to operate 208 New Flyer articulated buses that are 3 to 4 years old, officials said. . .

As part of the fleet-improvement project, 1,030 older buses that still have about six years of service life left will be completely overhauled, at an estimated cost of $165 million, officials said. New engines, transmissions, suspensions — everything except the steel frame — will be replaced on the buses, officials said.

Those buses have logged 250,000 miles on average at their midlife, officials said.

The bus-overhaul program also will be paid for using sales tax bonds, officials said. Savings in repair and maintenance costs will total a projected $15 million by 2016, the officials said."

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