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Rail News: Mechanical

Metra issues RFP for locomotives

The railroad is seeking proposals for both new and remanufactured engines.
Photo – Metra

Metra last week issued a request for proposals (RFP) for new or remanufactured locomotives to start replacing its aging fleet.

The RFP calls for a base order of at least 12 new locomotives or 15 remanufactured ones, with options for up to 30 additional new locomotives or 27 additional remanufactured units.

The railroad is seeking proposals for new and remanufactured engines because it wants to evaluate the costs and benefits of each, Metra officials said in a press release.

Metra has about $125 million allocated for locomotive purchases over the next five years. The railroad's board has asked staff to consider financing alternatives, such as leasing, to maximize the use of available capital resources.

The agency's 2014 modernization plan called for the purchase of 367 rail cars and 52 locomotives. However, that 10-year plan hinged on Metra receiving new funding through a state bond program that never materialized. As a result, Metra is attempting to acquire as many cars and engines as possible with existing funding.

"We are trying to do the best we can with available resources," said Metra Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Jim Derwinski. "Clearly, however, we need more capital dollars to continue to invest in our system and upgrade our assets."

The Regional Transportation Authority of Chicago estimates that Metra needs to spend $1.2 billion a year for the next decade to achieve and maintain a state of good repair on its system. In 2018, the railroad has one-sixth of that amount available, Metra officials said.

The railroad expects to award the contract for locomotives later in 2018, with the delivery of the first locomotive in 2020.

In April 2017, Metra issued an RFP for at least 25 new rail cars. The agency is evaluating responses and aims to approve that contract later this year.

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


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