USA: A $70·9m contract for Progress Rail to supply 15 rebuilt EMD SD70MAC freight locomotives to haul its commuter trains was approved by the board of Chicago operator Metra on February 20. There are options for up to 27 more if funding is made available.

The remanufactured locomotives will be designated as SD70MACH, with all components refurbished, upgraded or new. They will comply with EPA Tier 3 emissions standards, and are expected to offer lower operating and maintenance costs than Metra’s current fleet.

The operator had invited proposals for new or rebuilt locomotives, and opted for remanufactured as it could afford to buy a greater of number of them.

Metra said about 70% of its fleet of 147 locomotives is in marginal or poor condition. The deployment from this year of 24 locomotives acquired secondhand from Amtrak would reduce this to about 45%, and the remanufactured freight locomotives would further reduce this to 14% by 2023.

‘Our goals with this locomotive purchase are to increase reliability and improve the state of good repair on our system’, said Metra CEO & Executive Director Jim Derwinski. ‘These like-new locomotives will be replacing some of the oldest locomotives in our fleet, and we would expect to see a significant increase in reliability as these newer locomotives are introduced.’