The 3200-series cars (numbered 3201-3457) were manufactured by Morrison-Knudsen of Hornell, New York, and first delivered to the CTA in 1992. The original order for 256 was motivated primarily by the impending opening of the Orange Line, which would need new cars when it opened in October 1993. The order was completed in 1994.
The newest cars of the CTA fleet, the 3200-series contains many innovations over the previous 2600-series. Computers control much of the cab functions and simplify operation for the motorman. Diagnostics are also easier to perform on this series than on previous series. In addition, fluted steel siding is included on these cars for the first time since the 2200-series, in order to reduce graffiti. The series also introduced openable hopper windows for use in case of air conditioner failure.
Cars 3441-3456 were originally equipped with pantographs for use on the Yellow Line, which was powered by overhead lines until 2004. The pantographs on 3451-3456 were removed in the late 1990s when they were reassigned to supplement the Brown Line, while the rest lost their pantographs when the Yellow Line was converted to third rail power in 2004.
Car 3457 was an additional car built specifically for the purpose of serving as a mate to the 2600-series car 3032, whose mate had been damaged. 3032 was subsequently renumbered 3458.