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Metra wraps up Amerail car rehab program

Metra rehabbed the Amerail cars at the commuter railroad's 49th Street Shop in Chicago.
Photo – Julie Sneider

Metra announced last week it has completed its $115 million Amerail rail-car rehabilitation program, which the Chicago commuter railroad launched seven years ago to extend the cars' lifespan.

Under the program, Metra crews refurbished 176 cars at the railroad's 49th Street car shop along the Rock Island District Line. Built by the Amerail company between 1995 and 1998, the cars were gutted and outfitted with new amenities to improve passenger service.

Some of the new amenities include electric outlets to power smartphones and other small electronics; sensitive-edge outer doors that retract if they come in contact with a person or object; four new LED signs per car to display announcements; new toilets, bathrooms and wheelchair lifts; and composite floors and seats, Metra officials said in a Metra website post.

"It's an accomplishment for all the staff that worked on this, because we've never done anything like this before," said Bruno Sawisza, superintendent at the 49th Street shop. "It gives us all a sense of pride because of all the hard work that went into this project."

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