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Metra yesterday completed a $32.5 million project to renovate and expand the agency's 47th Street and 49th Street rail car and locomotive repair facilities in Chicago.
The expanded 49th Street facility includes a new 38,000-square-foot building with a classroom space, workshop and welding training area. The facility also includes an upgraded loading dock, storage and rail-car wheel truck rebuild area.
The improvements will enable Metra to increase the output of its rail-car rehabilitation program by an estimated 40 percent from 35 to 60 rail cars per year, Metra officials said in a press release.
At the 47th Street facility — where crews maintain locomotives used on the Rock Island Line and rehabilitate Metra’s MP36 locomotives — Metra reconfigured the loading dock to add an enclosed crane and constructed a 17,500-square-foot building.
“Modernizing these facilities will allow us to increase the output of both our in-house rail-car and locomotive rehab programs and make significant strides in achieving a state of good repair,” said Metra Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “Equally important, this facility will allow us to train and maintain a highly skilled workforce and keep good-paying jobs in Chicagoland.”
The project marks the first significant upgrade of the 47th/49th Street facility since it was built by the Chicago Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, one of Metra’s predecessors, in 1947. Today, in addition to the rail-car and locomotive rehab programs, the facility serves as the main mechanical yard for Metra’s Rock Island Line.
Work on the new facilities began in May 2018. Construction was performed by F.H. Paschen, S.N. Nielsen & Associates LLC.