MBTA to spend $115M on new locomotives

Posted on July 15, 2010

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) received approval Wednesday to purchase 20 new diesel-electric locomotives per a $115 million contract.

MBTA GM Richard Davey said the acquisition of new locomotives is a high priority for the T and is a critical element in improving commuter rail performance and customer service. “In line with this priority, we have worked hard to expedite the procurement process,” said Davey.

Accelerating the delivery of new locomotives, supplied by Boise, Idaho-based Motive Power Inc., will have an immediate positive impact on MBTA Commuter Rail operations, fleet performance and service delivery. The contract will allow the MBTA to remove the 20 oldest and least reliable locomotives from service, eliminating associated mechanical failures.

Delivery of the pilot locomotive will be within 29 months from notice to proceed with delivery of the production fleet to begin at month 32 with three locomotives to be delivered per month through month 38.

The MBTA operates a fleet of 80 revenue service locomotives, the oldest of which are the 18 originally manufactured between 1978 and 1980. Overhauled in 1989, these locomotives were programmed for retirement in 2005. Locomotives generally have a useful life of 25 years. By FY2013, 68 percent of the locomotive fleet will be scheduled for retirement based on a 25 year service life.

In addition to realizing increased reliability, the MBTA will significantly reduce locomotive emissions. The new units will be required to meet “Tier 3” emission standards as regulated by the EPA.  Advancing the delivery of this cleaner technology will reduce fuel consumption by approximately 730,000 gallons per year and will reduce the following in emissions per year; particulate matter – 26 tons, hydrocarbons – 38 tons and oxides of nitrogen – by 924 tons.  Also, the reduction in fuel consumption will save an estimated 1.5 million dollars annually.

The fuel savings is one of several significant cost benefits the MBTA will realize with the addition of these new technology locomotives, according to transit system officials.

According to Motive Power officials, the proposed contract will create or sustain 1,246 union jobs. The breakdown is roughly 186 machinists, 374 welders, 374 mechanics, 187 electricians, among others. Locally, the company will utilize the Providence and Worcester RR facility for pre-delivery inspection, preparation, and commissioning support services. The P&W shop will also provide a location to establish a parts inventory and conduct warranty repairs. The Motive Power relationship with the P&W in Worcester will assist them in retaining 150 employees.

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