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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Metra posts 1.3 percent ridership gain in 2014, announces $91 million locomotive rehab project

Metra's ridership grew 1.3 percent in 2014 to 83.4 million passenger trips compared with the previous year, marking the second-highest ridership number in the commuter railroad's history.

All but two of Metra's 11 lines posted ridership growth in 2014. Although the BNSF Line recorded a somewhat smaller gain than other lines, it remained the railroad's most heavily used line at 16.7 million passenger trips. The Union Pacific Northwest Line came in second at 11.6 million trips.

"We are thrilled with the growth in ridership in 2014, and we are committed to drawing even more riders to our system by emphasizing how Metra offers fast, reliable, comfortable and safe service for the six-county Chicago area," said Metra Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Don Orseno in a press release.

Meanwhile, Metra announced the approval of a $91.1 million contract to rehabilitate 41 locomotives built between 1989 and 1992. Metra has contracted Progress Rail Services Corp. to renovate the units to "like new" condition. The work covers 41 EMD F40PH-2 and F40PHM-2 units.

The contract is a part of a 10-year, $2.4 billion modernization plan announced last fall. The plan will also include the installation of a positive train control system.

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More News from 2/17/2015