Funding Approved For Battery Powered Metra Trains

Images of the ceremony via Jeff Kolkey and Rockford Register Star

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and the Metropolitan Planning Organization Committee have approved new funding for Metra. The approval will allow for Metra to receive a $169.3 million grant from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement grant. The money will go towards new electric train sets to be used on multiple lines in order to better and increase service, though no delivery date was announced.

View of Metra Electric Line via Sun Times

Metra originally launched a Request For Proposals (RFP) just over a year ago, seeking manufacturers to produce the new trains. The grant will allow the operator to purchase 16 new train sets, these are coupled rail cars which don’t require a separate engine car. Instead they have a battery propulsion system with a small operator booth at both ends, similar to those operating on the Metra Electric line but without the overhead lines.

Metra flyover in Englewood by Metra

These new battery powered trains will help replace some of the oldest diesel locomotives on the system, substantially cutting emissions and sound pollution along some of the busiest lines. Since they are slightly smaller, these will also be used to add service across multiple lines during slower hours. Initially these new cars are most likely to go to the Rock Island Line according to the company’s press release found here.

Rendering of the station’s new main entrance by Muller2

The funds helped push 2023 to be Metra’s largest year project funding wise, surpassing 2022’s secured $204.1 million. Metra is also working on various other projects including new stations, West Loop overpass, and service extension to Rockford. It is also worth noting this is the second major federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement grant received, with the Red Line extension also receiving one.

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