Metra Electric Highliner Retirement

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Metra Electric Highliner Retirement

Postby metraRI » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:31 pm

As of today, 6 of the 1500 series MU cars are sitting at 47th Street Yard on the Rock with all Metra logos painted over awaiting whatever journey lies ahead.
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Re: Metra Begins To Retire MU Cars

Postby Tadman » Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:45 pm

How many new cars are on the property? I saw a few last week at KYD under tarps.
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Re: Metra Begins To Retire MU Cars

Postby metraRI » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:25 am

Tadman wrote:How many new cars are on the property? I saw a few last week at KYD under tarps.

Not sure of the exact number, somewhere around 5 are expected a month and they first went into service in November.

The cars you have seen at KYD under tarps may not be the new highlighers, rather Pullman cars being rehabbed there.
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Re: Metra Begins To Retire MU Cars

Postby Milwaukee_F40C » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:54 pm

I wonder if IRM will get any this time. I think Metra was trying to give them away last time, which is why a bunch of museums/tourist lines got so many without knowing what they were going to do with them. My guess is the scrap value after dismantling costs and possibly dealing with hazardous materials might be low.
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Re: Metra Begins To Retire MU Cars

Postby c604. » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:27 am

IRM is looking to get a pair this time around and has been doing some fundraising to start building up enough funds for when the time comes. The last Rail and Wire issue that went out had a small article about it too.
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Re: Metra Begins To Retire MU Cars

Postby Milwaukee_F40C » Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:19 pm

IRM will do the right thing with them. Hopefully they can get some in good condition and not too expensively. I heard the the cars that were already retired were in the roughest shape. Since the whole fleet is going out this time maybe some of them haven't corroded as badly yet.

So what's still out there? Still a mix of both St. Louis and Bombardier series? St. Louis cars would be best for IRM so they can be restored as IC. If IRM can't get any from Metra, I think some other museums are already overstocked with them.
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Re: Metra Begins To Retire MU Cars

Postby doepack » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:44 pm

Another question about the new cars: Is the number series picking from 1227; i.e., would that be the first of the newest ones?
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Re: Metra Begins To Retire MU Cars

Postby MACTRAXX » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:50 pm

Everyone: Can anyone keep track on ME's Highliner retirements?

It is now almost hard to believe that they are now averaging 40 years old and I will mention
that Metra has certainly gotten their money's worth from those cars...

Will the newer (30?) Bombardier cars run longer since they are about 9-10 years newer then the
130 car original group (1501-1630) of STL cars that date to IC Electric days?

If there is a list or page on the Highliners with pertinent dates please direct me there...

Or we can start a "Metra Electric Highliner Retirement Thread"...

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Re: Metra Begins To Retire MU Cars

Postby Tadman » Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:03 pm

I'm not aware of any preference for retiring STL cars before Bombers. Far as I'm aware, it's whatever has the most rust goes first. Let's just say it's a good thing these are train cars and not boats, as the floor sills look like swiss cheese. Any closer to lake Michigan and they'd be at the bottom.
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Re: Metra Electric Highliner Retirement

Postby byte » Sat Feb 23, 2013 2:21 am

Case in point on the topic of highliner deterioration: http://www.flickr.com/photos/morgpk/7762009858/in/photostream

The first cars to go will probably be the "repeaters" - cars which have a record of recurring problems and would be best sent to the scrap heap sooner rather than later.
That old car might be worth money!
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Re: Metra Electric Highliner Retirement

Postby Pacific 2-3-1 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:26 am

When the SOUTH SHORE LINE replaced its orange cars in the 1980's, and since it was Uncle Sam who was paying for most of it, they were wise to avoid buying similar bilevel Highliners from Bombardier in favor of the stainless steel single-level cars from Sumitomo/Nippon Sharyo.

At least from a rust standpoint!

All of the earlier cars that built with DC motors have now been converted to AC traction motors.
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Re: Metra Electric Highliner Retirement

Postby Tadman » Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:21 am

I've heard ICG specifically ordered carbon steel because it was cheaper. The highliner order was their end of some type of bargain with the gov't for subsidy or something like that. The gov't at the time did not think to mandate stainless cars (this was 1970, when gov't transit ops were much newer) so we got the highliners. They've been a bit unloved from day one due to reliability problems.
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Re: Metra Electric Highliner Retirement

Postby Metra210 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:16 pm

metraRI wrote:As of today, 6 of the 1500 series MU cars are sitting at 47th Street Yard on the Rock with all Metra logos painted over awaiting whatever journey lies ahead.

I saw these cars while on board a CTA bus and wondered why they were there. Now that I see the reason why, I guess it's time to get as many pictures of the old Highliners as possible before the entire fleet is taken out of service.
Proud to be a railfan again!!!
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Re: Metra Electric Highliner Retirement

Postby CHTT1 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:08 am

Tadman wrote:I've heard ICG specifically ordered carbon steel because it was cheaper. The highliner order was their end of some type of bargain with the gov't for subsidy or something like that. The gov't at the time did not think to mandate stainless cars (this was 1970, when gov't transit ops were much newer) so we got the highliners. They've been a bit unloved from day one due to reliability problems.


The original Highliner purchase was one of the first uses of federal funds to buy equipment for commuter railroads. The IC provided 1/3rd of the cost of the cars, the feds 2/3rds. Since the feds didn't want a private entity to own cars purchased with mostly public money, the Chicago South Suburban Mass Transit District was formed. The appointed trustees of the board oversaw the purchase with the district's executive director and lawyer handling much of the negotiations. Since this was one of the first federal grants for cars, there was a lot of work to nail down an agreement between the three parties. Carbon steel was probably chosen over stainless steel because the IC did not own any stainless steel cars, and hey, being railroaders, they didn't want to try anything radically different. The steel bodies had rust problems from the beginning and the cars were constantly being repainted.
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Re: Metra Electric Highliner Retirement

Postby doepack » Sat Mar 23, 2013 1:46 pm

Does anyone know where the new cars are being received? Blue Island maybe? Saw UP4720 head east from Rochelle through Wheaton earlier today, with car #'s 1245/46 sandwiched between two flat cars. (Sorry, no pics, caught me off-guard). I'm guessing it would head east to the Rockwell sub, turn left through Global one, come out the east end and hit the St. Charles Air line, then turn right down Metra's Rock Island district heading toward Blue Island. Anyone know for sure?
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