Monday, October 28, 2013

First of 40 New Locomotives Arrive in Boston

Photo Courtesy: MBTA 
For years, Boston commuters have had to deal with old equipment, an aging infrastructure, and of course, delays. Something could soon be giving commuters a little bit of hope, however.

After 3 years of production, the first of 40 new commuter rail locomotives arrived in Boston on Thursday, October 24.

In July of 2010 the MBTA board of directors approved the initial purchase of 20 new locomotives from Idaho based Motive Power Inc. (MPI). Under the $115 million order, MPI was tasked with designing a unique locomotive specifically for the T, while also meeting the EPA's tier-3 emissions guidelines. Their result was the HSP-46 locomotive.

Under the order, which has since been increased to 40 locomotives, MPI was supposed to ship one of the first 3 production units here to Boston back in June. Unfortunately, with every new order comes delays. According to MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo the order ended up being about 2 months behind schedule due to "design modifications and improvements".

When all 40 locomotives are in active service they will be replacing locomotives that have been in operation since the late 70's and early 80's. These new trains will not only increase reliability for commuters but they will also decrease the T's hefty carbon footprint. According to GE, they will reduce the T's diesel fuel consumption by 1,730,000 gallons, saving around $5.2 million a year. A grant from Federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program will be funding part of the order.

Although the locomotive is now here in Boston it may still be a while until it enters service. According to Pesaturo "It will now be subjected to rigorous testing and inspections before it is introduced to passenger service next year,".

Overall, these new locomotives are a win for both the T and their commuters. Lets just hope this order doesn't end up having more setbacks like the Rotem bi-level coaches order.

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