Metra, the commuter rail operator in Chicago metropolitan area, has announced a plan to acquire seven new low-emission shunting locomotives, including its first zero-emission electric-powered unit.
In February, the Metra Board of Directors approved a plan to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for the purchase of six shunting locomotives that at minimum meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Tier IV standards, the highest emission standards currently in effect.
The RFP which will be issued soon, will also seek to purchase one zero-emission, all electric-powered shunting engine. The effort represents a significant step forward in Metra’s goal of reducing its carbon footprint by reducing diesel emissions and meeting the highest federal emission standards.
“At Metra, we’ve always prided ourselves on providing our customers with safe and reliable service that’s good for the environment. Now with funding provided through the State of Illinois bond programme, we’re taking advantage of the latest technology to do even more to reduce pollution in northeast Illinois,” Metra CEO James Derwinski said.
The shunting locomotives are used to move equipment around the railways and within yard facilities. The seven new shunting engines planned for this procurement will be replacing the locomotives that first went into railways’ service between 50 and 82 years ago.
With the plan to purchase new vehicles that meets the EPA’s Tier IV emissions or better, as well as to purchase the company’s first all-electric locomotive, Metra will reduce emissions, reduce fuel consumption, improve reliability, and lower maintenance costs.
The zero-emission all-electric locomotive would be the first vehicle of Metra’s rolling stock. This shunting locomotive represents new technology that Metra plans to test for its ability to perform under the demands of a real-world operating environment and Chicago’s sometimes extreme weather conditions. Metra intends to purchase more electric locomotives if the first one will prove its reliability and efficiency.
Metra is modernising its rolling stock fleet to provide passengers increased comfort and to replace its ageing cars. The operator has recently awarded a USD 1.8 billion contract for the procurement of double-deck coaches.