USA: Chicago commuter operator Metra announced on September 7 that the first of 41 locomotives being rebuilt by Progress Rail Services has returned to service. Following testing, Metra plans to assign the loco to its routes operated under contract by Union Pacific.

Metra awarded Progress Rail a $91m contract in 2015 to rebuild 41 EMD F40PH-2 and F40PHM-2 locomotives dating from 1989-92 to ‘like new’ condition. The work being done at Progress Rail’s plant in Patterson, Georgia, is expected to extend the locos’ service life by 10 to 13 years.

Now designated F40PH-3, the rebuilt locos include a new high-voltage cabinet with a microprocessor control system, remanufactured engines upgraded to EPA Tier 0+ emissions standards, rebuilt traction motors, new and reconditioned accessories, rebuilt bogies with new wheels and Positive Train Control equipment. Body corrosion is being repaired and a new livery applied.

‘Our customers deserve a reliable fleet and this programme, which restores locomotives to nearly-new condition, is an essential part of our agency’s modernisation plan’, said Metra Executive Director & CEO Don Orseno.

As part of a programme to refurbish or replace nearly all rolling stock operating on its non-electrified lines, Metra expects to have renovated 12 locomotives by the end of this year, some in-house and some externally. Around 70 coaches will have been refurbished in-house.

Design work is due to begin later this year for a $20m expansion of Metra’s main rolling stock refurbishment facility at 49th Street, which was built in 1947. Construction is expected to begin in late 2017. The remodelling will enable Metra to increase its throughput cars by 33%.

  • An interview with Don Orseno appears in the December 2015 issue of Metro Report International, available to subscribers in our digital archive.