Metrolink has made the proactive decision to add a second locomotive to each train set beginning this month. In a collaborative effort using BNSF Railway locomotives, Metrolink will soon have a locomotive on either end of each train to compliment the passenger rail's existing fleet.
"We are taking this additional step as a redundancy to keep our riders safe, while a second locomotive will address some of our recent mechanical delays," Metrolink Chief Executive Officer Art Leahy said. "I want to reassure all Metrolink riders we continue to be dedicated to be the safest railroad in the nation."
When will the locomotives be added to the Metrolink System? How long will they remain on the system?
Metrolink started deploying these BNSF locomotives across its system on Dec. 18, 2015 and will continue adding them until all 40 are in service. The initial lease is a year. The BNSF locomotives will likely be replaced when the new Tier 4 clean locomotives are ready to be put into service.
Will cab cars be removed?
No, we will continue to operate the cab cars in order to maintain the capacity for passengers on our train sets.
Will there be delays associated with these locomotives?
These locomotives are a little longer than Metrolink locomotives and cab cars. There may be some minor delays at first while the operating crews determine where to stop these locomotives to enable passengers to exit the train at certain locations on the platform. We apologize for this inconvenience.
However, we hope that these locomotives will reduce delays overall. Because they are newer, we anticipate fewer delays due to mechanical issues.
Why is Metrolink doing this?
The Metrolink Board of Directors took this temporary, proactive safety action out of abundance of caution while the National Transportation and Safety Board completes its investigation into the February 2015 Oxnard incident. Due to the ongoing investigation, we cannot provide further information.
However, please know that safety is our first priority and we are taking actions to ensure we are operating the safest system possible in the interim.
Where is the quiet car?
With the addition of BNSF locomotives as part Metrolink passenger service operations, please be aware the quiet car will remain to be the second passenger car from the Metrolink locomotive on all trains.
How much is the BNSF charging for these locomotives?
The contract is less than $6 million to lease the locomotives, while the cost for retrofitting the engines to be compatible with the Metrolink system and trains will cost the approximately $20 million which will be paid by our member agencies.
We appreciate BNSF’s willingness to work with us to provide these locomotives that will allow us to operate the safest and most reliable system for our passengers and the communities we serve.
Will PTC be delayed due to these locomotives?
We do not anticipate major delays to PTC due to the BNSF locomotives. They will be equipped with PTC hardware and software, which will be tested and synced with Metrolink’s current PTC system.
Are these locomotives louder than Metrolink locomotives?
No. These locomotives are not louder than Metrolink’s current locomotives.
However, there is a different type of horn – called a five chime – that will produce a different noise than people are accustomed to with Metrolink trains. It may sound louder because it is a different horn configuration than Metrolink trains have. We are doing some decibel testing to confirm the locomotives horns operate at 96 decibels, just like the current Metrolink locomotives.
Will these locomotives result in additional emissions?
System-wide, we expect a net decrease in emissions because these locomotives are newer and burn cleaner than the majority of our current locomotives. They also do not have a HEP engine. However, there will be an increase in emissions at our maintenance yards due to the increase in locomotives that must be serviced and maintained on a daily basis. We will continue to work with these communities to ensure the impact is as minimal as possible.
Will these BNSF locomotives be deployed system-wide?
For additional information regarding the BNSF locomotives, click here.
Debuting in 2010, Metrolink is proud to introduce the next generation of cab and passenger rail cars to our fleet. Metrolink’s 117 new cars incorporate the latest in Crash Energy Management (CEM) technology, including redesigned seats and work tables, and advanced energy absorbing zones at each end of the cars. Metrolink is the first passenger train service in the nation to include CEM in its passenger cars as part of its commitment to bring 21st Century safety technologies to Metrolink’s commuter rail system.