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Metra's board yesterday approved the purchase of up to 21 used F59PHI locomotives for $1.3 million apiece. Built by General Motors' Electro-Motive Division (EMD) in 1998, the units will enable the railroad to quickly supplement its locomotive fleet and continue a longer-term procurement for additional locomotives, Metra officials said in a press release.The F59PHIs, which were rehabbed within the past five years, feature similar parts and operating characteristics to Metra's existing EMD F40s, some of which are 35 years old. Due to the similarity, the F59PHI units can be integrated into the Metra system without extensive training of maintenance and operating crews, according to the railroad.The F59s also can help boost reliability, reduce pollution and achieve fuel savings of 10 percent to 25 percent compared to older engines."Ideally, Metra would have sufficient funding to replace older locomotives with new ones on a regular basis," said Metra Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer James Derwinski. "However, Metra has been underfunded for years and we have to work with the funding we have available. We believe this purchase represents a great opportunity to make a big impact on our operations at a reasonable expense, and that’s why we are pursuing this purchase."The 21 F59 locomotives most recently were used on Amtrak's West Coast lines. The engines will become available this year as Amtrak switches to new Siemens-built locomotives.In late 2017, Metra issued a request for proposals to begin replacing its aging fleet of engines with new or remanufactured locomotives. The request called for a base order of at least 12 new or 15 remanufactured locomotives, with options for up to 30 additional units or 27 remanufactured ones.Those new or remanufactured locomotives wouldn't be available until late 2020 at the earliest, while the F59s will be available this year. The F59s would supplement the engines purchased under the RFP.Metra will pay for the F59s with funds already set aside for locomotive purchases or other capital needs or through financing.