See how Metra renovates its cars

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CHICAGO -- According to Progressive Railroading Magazine, one of Metra’s young employees is a “rising star” in the rail industry.

She helps take those old worn-looking rail cars and makes them new again. She’s just 30 years old, and is already helping run Metra’s train car rehab program.

Mechanical engineer Lexie Walker started working in the field for Metra straight out of college, worked her way up and now she helps run the rehab program.

Currently, Walker and her co-workers are rehabbing rail cars built in the late '90s. When a train car comes into the shop, it’s transitioned through four separate stations.

After the seats, floors, doors and windows are gone, crews install a new floor and new windows. Then the train car moves to the next station, where it’s lifted up..

Under the car workers upgrade the wheel chair lift and install new batteries and waste tanks.

They put in new lighting and new outlets so you can charge your phones. Then at the third station, the new wheel assemblies are put on. Seats start to take their shape again and special sensitive edge doors are installed.

They also install new bathrooms and emergency intercoms..

At the last station, crews test all the parts. And if the train car passes, it heads back into service.

It costs about $700,000  to rehab a car. But to a buy a new one, the cost is about $3.5 million.

As for Walker, Progressive Railroading Magazine will feature her in its September issue.