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<< Rail News Home: Mechanical

4/20/2017    



Rail News: Mechanical

Metra to issue RFPs for new rail cars, locomotives



Metra plans to order at least 25 new rail cars.
Photo – Metra

Metra's board yesterday authorized the agency to move forward with requests for proposals (RFPs) for the design and production of new rail cars and locomotives.

To be published next week, the rail-car RFP will provide for at least 25 new units. The exact number of cars will depend on responses to the request, the amount of funding available and whether the railroad can use financing alternatives, such as leasing, Metra officials in a press release.

The locomotive RFP is slated to be published during the third quarter and will provide for a base order of 10 locomotives.

Metra now has about $200 million set aside for rolling stock purchases over the next five years, although some of that money may be needed for positive train control or other capital needs, according to the railroad.

The commuter railroad's 2014 modernization plan called for the purchase of 367 rail cars and 52 locomotives. However, that plan depended on Metra receiving $1.3 billion in new funding, primarily from a new state bond program.

That money didn't come through, but the railroad is attempting to acquire as many cars and engines as possible with existing funding.

"Funding for capital transportation projects has never been more uncertain. We believe this is a measured, realistic and responsible way for us to buy new cars and locomotives with the funding resources we have on hand today," said Metra Chairman Norman Carlson. "And, if the state comes through with a new infrastructure program, we will be able to accelerate our orders if that's what the board chooses to do."

Metra anticipates awarding the contract for the new rail cars in 2018's first quarter. Delivery of the first cars will be part of negotiations and dependent upon the manufacturer's capacity to build, Metra officials said.

The last time Metra received new rail cars for lines other than the Metra Electric District was in 2006.

The new locomotive contract wouldn't be awarded until later in 2018, with the delivery of the first unit in 2020.

Meanwhile, Metra's board also approved adding $79.3 million to its 2017 capital program to rehab existing rolling stock and acquire new units.

The figure boosts the railroad's capital program for the year to $358.9 million.



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