US Chicago metropolitan commuter railroad, Metra, has cleared a contract worth $70.9m to procure 15 locomotives to replace its older fleet.
The contract to deliver the locomotives has been awarded to Progress Rail Locomotives of La Grange.
Metra CEO and executive director Jim Derwinski said: “Our goals with this locomotive purchase are to increase reliability and improve the state of good repair on our system.
“These like-new locomotives will be replacing some of the oldest locomotives in our fleet, and we would expect to see a significant increase in reliability as these newer locomotives are introduced.”
Under the contract, Progress Rail will upgrade and configure the existing EMD SD70MAC freight locomotives for passenger services.
All vehicle components will be modernised, replaced or overhauled during the re-manufacturing process.
The locomotives will feature AC traction motors, which are more durable compared to the DC traction motors in older units.
Additionally, the refurbished units will be equipped with a microprocessor-controlled brake system and will fulfil the Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 3 emissions standards.
Once completed, the units will be labelled as SD70MACH locomotives, exhibiting a similar design to Metra’s existing F59 units.
Accordingly, it eliminates the need to undertake additional training and maintenance programmes.
The contract with Progress Rail also includes an option to procure up to 27 additional units.
If the option is exercised, Metra will be replacing 42 Tier 0+ older units with 42 Tier 3 locomotives, which could slash nitrous oxide emissions by 61t annually.
Currently, around 70% of Metra’s locomotive fleet of 147 units are rated in marginal or poor condition.