Wednesday, June 19, 2013

UPDATE: The MBTA's New Locomotive Order

As a follow up to a story we first reported on June 4th Boston To a T can now confirm that the MBTA’s order for 40 new locomotives is about two months behind schedule.
Last year the MBTA released a statement stating that the first of 3 pilot locomotives would be arriving in Boston this month. According to MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo the first pilot unit will not be shipped out of the Motive Power Industries plant in Boise, Idaho until the end of July.
Pesaturo blames the delay on "design modifications and improvements". 
Currently, all 3 pilot units are out of production and are being prepped for testing. One of them will be sent to GE's Transportation Division in Erie, Pennsylvania for testing and the other will be sent to the TTCI test track in Pueblo, Colorado where it will undergo dynamic testing.
When the third unit arrives here in Boston it will undergo acceptance testing and training will take place. 
If all goes according to plan we might see the first pilot unit in service by years end. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

New MBTA locomotives: Is the order on track?

Rendering of MPI HSP-46
Courtesy: MBTA
In July of 2010 the MBTA board of directors approved the purchase of 20 new locomotives. The $115 million order was placed with Idaho based Motive Power Inc. (MPI) . Under the contract, 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.

Over the past three years the T's order with MPI has been changed quite a bit. In July 2011 a new paint scheme was voted on by the public, the MBTA then added 7 more locomotives to the order in July 2012, and most recently this past April, thirteen more units were added. These changes bring the total order up to 40 locomotives.

Back in 2010, when the contract was granted to MPI , they were given two and a half years to produce a prototype unit and have it sent here to Boston for testing. That date was later pushed back to June of this year.

Well it's June, and the MBTA has yet to sent out any updates on the status of the order.

The T has not released any official statements saying the order is delayed, but sometimes delays do happen with orders like this. Look what happened with the Rotem bi-level order.

F-40 #1004 built in 1978
These new locomotives are vital if the T wants to maintain reliable transportation for Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Currently the MBTA's oldest in-service locomotives date back to 1978. They are loud, unreliable, and highly inefficient. When the 40 new HSP-46 locomotives replace the oldest units in the MBTA's fleet they will be reducing diesel fuel consumption by over 1,700,000 gallons per year, according to GE.

I guess we shall see what the month of June brings. Hopefully we find out that the order is on track and we will see a prototype here in Boston within the next few months.

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