Metra seeks firm to manufacture up to 367 new railcars

Posted on February 2, 2016

Photos: Steven Vance
Photos: Steven Vance

Chicago's Metra today issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the design and production of new railcars as part of the agency’s 10-year, $2.4 billion modernization plan.  

The plan, adopted by the Metra Board of Directors in fall 2014, seeks to purchase new passenger railcars and locomotives, fund a critically needed rehabilitation program for existing railcars and locomotives, including improvements to Metra’s 49th Street Shop, and fund Metra’s costs to install a Positive Train Control (PTC) system.

The modernization plan is funded, in part, by a regular schedule of fare increases, and anticipates funding to purchase 367 new railcars. Once the vendor is selected, the estimated time to ramp up production is expected to be about 24 months, with Metra expected to take delivery of the first cars in 2018. The last time Metra received new railcars for lines other than the Metra Electric was in 2006.

“This is a major step forward as we begin the second year of our long-range rolling stock plan — the first in Metra history,” said Metra Chairman Martin J. Oberman. “Replacing and rehabilitating railcars and locomotives will help Metra to continue to provide high-quality, reliable and comfortable service to customers for years to come.”

Metra anticipates that the modernization plan will be funded by state and federal sources, $400 million in Metra borrowing and possibly new financing strategies and alternative financing mechanisms. The agency’s 2016 Budget provides funding to begin purchasing 10 new railcars. If needed state funding becomes available, under this new contract, as many as 106 new cars could be delivered between 2018 and 2019 and 261 cars additional cars could be delivered between 2020 and 2024. Another RFP for new locomotive engines is expected to be issued when funding for those engines is secured and allocated.

“With the oldest fleet of any of our peer railroads, we can’t keep kicking the can down the road when it comes to investing in our fleet,” said Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno. “This purchase will reduce the fleet’s average age from 28 years to 16 years by 2024.”

A pre-proposal conference will be held on March 3, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. at the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, 222 S. Riverside Plaza, 19th Floor, Chicago, Illinois, 60606. Proposals are due June 8, 2016.  

For more information or to download the RFP, visit www.metrarail.com.

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