HORNELL, N.Y. (WETM) – Alstom has been awarded a $1.8 billion contract with Metra to replace the aging railcars in Chicago, according to Hornell Mayor John Buckley.
Buckley says the new contract will bring approximately 250 jobs to the Hornell facility.
The Evening Tribune reports that the base order will be for 200 cars to be made in Hornell, with options for up to 300 additional rail cars.
“This move is truly transformational.” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “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.”
According to Metra, the railcars will be designed for “modern-day comfort and teeming with passenger amenities, including video screens, bike racks, storage for bags, charging outlets, cupholders, arm rests and more.”
The new cars will have two entranceways on each side with doors nearly level to the platform, thereby requiring only one step to enter instead of multiple steps on the old gallery cars. These changes will improve passenger flow, increase safety and reduce time spent boarding and deboarding at each station. The cars will also be wheelchair accessible for people with disabilities, deploying lifts to bridge the slight difference between the platform and entrance.
The first car is expected to be delivered 42 months after the contract is finalized, with the full base order complete 30 months later.