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 burlington nothern 9903
I know thats its to early to be thinking about this but i have long wondered what will replace the f40 when metra decides its time to pull the plug and send them to retirement and get something new. Theres not to much to chose form but the mp36's and a few outhers.

  by metraRI
The only thing that I know of in the passenger market right now are MP36's (-3S and -3C) and NJT's PL42AC. I don't know how long Wabtec/MPI will have the MP36 available, but there are possibilities of more being bought for brand new services like New Mexico did.

  by MikeF
How can anyone predict what will be available when the F40's are due for retirement? That's like trying to guess back in the '90s what would replace the F40C's. The options then were different from what's available today, and what will be available in a few years.

  by bones
I would bet that Metra will not try the MP36 again.

That would be like buying another Yugo after yours collapsed on the highway.

  by metraRI
How come Metra went with the MP36PH-3S instead of the MP36PH-3C?

F40 retirement is not really a long way away. 100-127 were built only 3 years after F40C's. It probably all depends on whether Metra can get federal funding or not.

  by byte
To Metra's credit, they seem to be able to keep locomotives running for a long time. The last F40 Amtrak had built for them isn't running for them anymore, but the first Metra F40 is (although, admittedly the Amtrak units probably saw a lot more "hard" work). My guess is that if funding can't be secured for more new engines, they'd run the first order of F40's through another rehab. If they can get funding for new units, then it seems like the smartest thing to do would be to get whatever they can from the new non-GM EMD, which might be more open to custom orders now that they're under new ownership, and certainly has the engineering staff to make them work right.

  by MetraF40C607
Rumor has it (DO NOT QUOTE ME) that EMD is changing some design features on the F59PHI and is going to make it avalible in their catalouge again. Hmmmmmmmmmm, a new REAL engine on Metra would probably be a NICE thing. Ya know, i'd bet almost anything that if the F59 HAD been in production during the time when Metra needed them, they would have ordered them. BTW, I hope you guys know that Metra proposed the MP36 idea to EMD and were rejected.

  by byte
MetraF40C607 wrote:BTW, I hope you guys know that Metra proposed the MP36 idea to EMD and were rejected.
I'm betting that the discontinuation of the F59PHI and the refusal to do any custom passenger locomotive work came from the higher-ups in GM, not the EMD people. Remember, EMD made up less than 1% of the company's total profits, most of the rest being car sales. They probably refused EMD from building them because that passenger engine would give people a reason not to drive, thus slightly lowering the chance of them buying a GM car (and that logic is by all means correct). Up until recently, mass transit all across America wasn't really a factor anyone took seriously, however it's become apparent in recent years that we need more of it, which would cripple the car companies. The lack of an EMD bid on the order that eventually resulted in the MP36es is probably just a feeble attempt to curb the growth of mass transit.

  by metraRI
I don't see whats so great about F59PHI's. Amtrak has had their fare share of problems with them when they were brand new. Here is a "short" list of problem an Amtrak Surfliner engineer thinks F59PHI's have:

1: The cab is much too small. Anyone over 4 feet tall will bump their head on something every time they move.

2: Visibility is horrible.

3: The ride is worse than any GE or Alco ever built.

4: There is no way to control the temperature in the cab. You either roast or freeze.

5: There are no fresh air vents.

6: The sun visors are plastic and useless.

7: The windshield wipers are air operated and useless.

8: The desktop controls will cut you in half at the stomach if you hit anything substantial.

9: No easy way to escape in case of emergency....no place to take shelter.

10: They are terribly underpowered.

11: The back of the dashboard reflects the sun into the windshield preventing a forward view in bright sunlight.

12: The side windows are too small and too high.

13: The sliding nose access doors are poorly designed, especially the latch.

14: The LED speed indicator display disappears in bright light of any kind.

15: There is a lack of adequate lighting for night time operations.

16: There is no switch on the dash for turning on the dome light. You must get out of the seat to turn it on.

17: The overhead "map" lights are too dim.

18: The refrigerator is in another room, so you can't access it while running.

19: There is no way to access the windshields from the outside, thereby preventing anyone from cleaning them.

20: The seats are almost non-adjustable. You have to crank and crank and crank knobs to do a simple height adjustment.

  by MetraF40C607
That is probably why (don't quote me) EMD is redesigning parts of the F59, cause it was a crappy engine when it first came out.

  by c604.
They stopped making the PHI because it didn't meet the new crashworthiness standards that took effect back then. That's probably one of the major things they're redesigning is the nose area to include stronger collision posts and all that. A lot of that other stuff like plastic sun shades and the digital speedometer that gets bleached out can be changed easily (If its the same type I'm thinking of, the first 8400's had that same type of speedometer when they first came out).

  by F40CFan
IF EMD does come out with a new locomotive, I hope they remember that all of their customers are not in Arizona and California. Here in the midwest, we need engines that can run in the snow. Hopefully they'll take the F40PH and F40C specs out of the archives and build on them in a positive way.

  by metra 613
No one will know to Metra puts a bid out. Lets just hope emd gets it and makes a newer F59.So Metra can have something that will run and not brake all the time like the mps.And to the visibility is horrible on the f59s. Have u ever see how bad the mps are to look out of go to railroad days and see if metra has on like there had 427 last year.

  by byte
Maybe Metra should buy those two AC-powered F69s that are sitting in an NRE yard in southern Illinois. They'd blend in pretty well with the F40PH-2Ms (the nose is the same and they're just a little longer) and it would give them the opportunity to experiment around with newer technology (namely the AC traction and 710 engines) before they order a whole specialized fleet for themselves. Of course, this will never happen, but it's fun to dream sometimes...

  by metraRI
The two F69PH-AC's have been bought by DART, which operates Trinity Railway Express in Dallas. From a press release they made in September, they said they will "Convert two each F69PH-AC locomotives to F59PHI to be compatible with current locomotives owned and operated by the TRE. COST RANGE: $1 - $10 million"

If you look here, you can see the issue date is 1st Qtr FY05.