Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: JamesT4, metraRI

  by byte
 
Top speed Metra can run per FRA regs with current equipment is 90 mph. Beyond that and you'd need to add disc brakes to all the bilevels.

Such a jump in speed would also necessitate upgrading track to FRA class 5 standards, which seems unlikely given the agency's conservative nature.
  by Milwaukee_F40C
 
I get that the legal max for the equipment is 90 mph. Is there any track with speed limits higher than 79 mph? I was pretty sure about that being Metra's max. Inquiring to clarify in case I'm wrong.
  by Tadman
 
I'm not aware of anything over 79 on the system.
  by EJ&ESDM809
 
The MP36PH-3Cs in use by several other commuter railroads haven't had much in the way of issues. The MP40s are also good units. It's just the MP36PH-3S units that have issues, other than those the MPI units actually aren't that bad.
  by Rockingham Racer
 
Tadman wrote:I'm not aware of anything over 79 on the system.

Heritage Corridor, perhaps?
  by TrainManUPRR
 
Nope. The Heritage runs 79mph, which is the highest max speed of anything on the Metra system. Anything 80mph or above requires some form of PTC.

Did the article in question specifically name 100-127 as the units that would be retired? That's wrong information IMO. When the bid came out, Metra said the new locomotives would replace the "oldest on the system". Metra considers the F40PH-3 "new" power. They are looking to replace 150-184. Since everything before those was rebuilt, 150 is now considered the oldest operating unit.

I do think that converting the MPs to HEP genset will greatly improve reliability. You also have to remember that Metra's MPs were the first built. The engine room leaks have long been solved since then. I would never buy a first year automobile for the same reason. Designs usually get improved upon, and that certainly seems to be the case with the MPXpress. Just as Robby said, every other commuter road that runs MP36PH-3Cs or MP40s seems to like them just fine. I actually hope Metra just buys MP36PH-3Cs as the new locomotives! Do NOT buy the F125. EMDs are nothing like they were 30 years ago. All modern EMDs are piles of garbage. I'm hoping CAT can turn that around, but it remains to be seen.

Thanks to the EPA emissions tiers, everything must have a computer now. NO new or remanufactured locomotive will ever run as good as the F40C, F40PH(-2), or the Winnebagos in commuter service. I think the F40C genset idea is a waste of a good locomotive. If you all think MPs are awful, just wait until you see how unreliable genset locomotives are!
  by c604.
 
The following is listed on Metra's website, so it looks like they're going to do something with at least some of the 150-184 unless that part gets retracted. Trainman: would the 174 now be considered the oldest since the 150-173 were rebuilt in 2004/5?


"Provide Quality Assurance, Engineering and Administrative Assistance for the Rehabilitation of Metra F40PH-2 and F40PHM-2 Locomotives."
  by TrainManUPRR
 
That's a request for bids on the F40 rebuild project. My guess is that Metra would like to see what locomotive options are out there, as well as price, for both rebuilds and entirely new units.

The 2004 rebuilds were really more of an overhaul. Nothing major was significantly changed or anything. The F40PH-3s were basically remanufactured from the ground up- as well as major components redesigned and changed. The -3s were also given entirely new builders plates and everything. They might run and look similar to how they originally did, but in essence they are "new" units. Metra doesn't particularly care for them, either.

Everything in 150-173 was overhauled, but the components all remained the same. Nothing was redesigned, and the model designation and builder's plates weren't changed, so Metra does not conisder them new units.

I have no idea if the F40PH-2s will be rebuilt or retired, your guess is as good as mine on that haha. I'd rather them get rebuilt, but that's just me. It does look like for whatever reason they plan to get the Winnebagos rebuilt rather than retired, which I find interesting. No idea why they would look to replace all the F40PH-2s- such as 184 which was built in 1989, but seem to be set on rebuilding all the Winnies which were built in 1991-92, and are only 2-3 years newer than the newest F40PH-2's. That's Metra for you!
  by doepack
 
TrainManUPRR wrote:No idea why they would look to replace all the F40PH-2s- such as 184 which was built in 1989, but seem to be set on rebuilding all the Winnies which were built in 1991-92, and are only 2-3 years newer than the newest F40PH-2's. That's Metra for you!
I'd guess it's because, per the point you made earlier, the dash 2's in the 150-184 series are the oldest unrebuilt units on Metra's system. Plus, rehabbing all the winnies might be slightly cheaper overall, since there's five fewer units compared with the remaining dash 2's (30 vs. 35)...
TrainManUPRR wrote:Do NOT buy the F125. EMDs are nothing like they were 30 years ago. All modern EMDs are piles of garbage. I'm hoping CAT can turn that around, but it remains to be seen.
I can't speak to the quality of the "new" EMD, but I agree with this otherwise. Metra hasn't had much luck with buying new, unproven locomotives with hidden flaws that weren't discovered until after delivery (i.e., when the MP's were new 10+ yrs ago), and buying these new F125's might be repeating that mistake. Give it a few years on the market, let the product evolve a bit, and by then they could be a better option to replace the older units...

BTW, Metrolink will be the first customer for the 125's, deliveries to begin next year. I think they're supposed to replace remaining the F59PHI's...
  by c604.
 
Thanks Trainman, that's what I was wondering, if the 2004 units were really considered "new" after the in-house overhaul.

It does sound odd to retire the 1989 models only to rebuild the 1991 versions. Although 150-174 is 25 units, the same amount Metra specifies for new tier 3 locos. So maybe they do plan on keeping the 1989 units. One thing a friend asked me that I never really thought about: The first group of F40PH-3's came back with new cabs/noses. If the winniebago's get rebuilt to dash 3's, what style of cabs/noses will they come back with...
  by F40CFan
 
TrainManUPRR wrote:Did the article in question specifically name 100-127 as the units that would be retired?
Yes, the article did name 120-127. It seemed odd to me, but they didn't give a timetable for the purchase. What you said makes perfect sense, however this is a government entity we're talking about.
  by Milwaukee_F40C
 
I think it is entirely possible that Railfan and Railroad might have filled in some blanks in the details themselves. Not to jive on them but it happens.

Metra's Capital Projects site:
http://metrarail.com/metra/en/home/abou ... jects.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Item 4809 LOCOMOTIVE PURCHASE says
This project funds the purchase of approximately 25 new advance design diesel passenger locomotives built to Tier III EPA specifications. These locomotives will replace 25 of Metra’s oldest locomotives which would need to undergo a second life extending rehabilitation which would include bringing them up to Tier III. It is more cost effective to purchase new locomotives.
120-127 is 28 locomotives, so unless Railfan and Railroad got more detailed information, it could be any 25 locomotives that would be replaced. It could be 25 out of 150-184. The number of new locomotives purchased can also be more or less than 25, as per the wording. Since Metra seems to have barely the number of locomotives they need, I don't think they would replace 28 old with 25 new.

When does time run out before all new rebuilds have to meet tier III? I'm finding 2016:

http://www.dieselnet.com/standards/us/marine.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

That is very little time. Thinking this might factor in to Metra's plans- that tier III will be mandatory before they are able to get all remaining F40PHs and F40PHM-2s rebuilt to "-3" specs which are not tier III compliant. Also, Metra could be panicking about how smooth the funding might be for new locomotives or anything else five or ten years from now.
  by F40CFan
 
I think you're right about R&R embellishing a bit. Based on the link you provided, the information is virtually verbatim, except for the actual locomotive numbers. Someone probably saw the words "oldest locomotives" and immediately based that on original build date. Time will tell......
  by byte
 
TrainManUPRR wrote:Nope. The Heritage runs 79mph, which is the highest max speed of anything on the Metra system. Anything 80mph or above requires some form of PTC.
I believe the current regulations actually specify that you simply need cab signals if you want to go 80 or above. 80 mph is also the top passenger speed for FRA class 4 track.

I know for sure of one use of gallery bilevels on 90 mph FRA class-5 track; this was on the ex-Illinois Central mainline between Chicago and Champaign in the 70s and 80s. At one time this line was double track ABS, and equipped to accommodate passenger equipment at cab signals. Amtrak's Illini service wasn't extended to Carbondale (terminating at either Decatur or Champaign until then) until the mid-80s and so the equipment used until then was usually push-pull since wying the train wasn't an option (now there is a wye in Carbondale). Included in the mix of equipment used were ex-C&NW inter-city gallery cars. I've been told that riding in a cab car (on the head end) at 90 mph was a neat experience).
  by BrianLM007
 
You just need cab signals or automatic train stop systems until December 31, 2015, then you need a PTC system as well. Straight from the CFR (49 CFR 236 I believe).

(d)(1) Prior to December 31, 2015, where any train is permitted to operate at a speed of 80 or more miles per hour, an automatic cab signal, automatic train stop, or automatic train control system complying with the provisions of this part shall be installed, unless an FRA approved PTC system meeting the requirements of this part for the subject speed and other operating conditions, is installed.

(2) On and after December 31, 2015, where any train is permitted to operate at a speed of 80 or more miles per hour, a PTC system complying with the provisions of subpart I shall be installed and operational, unless FRA approval to continue to operate with an automatic cab signal, automatic train stop, or automatic train control system complying with the provisions of this part has been justified to, and approved by, the Associate Administrator.