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October 13, 2014

METRA announces $2.4bn rail modernisation plan

Chicago's Metropolitan Rail Corporation (METRA) in the US has announced a $2.4bn rail modernisation plan, in a bid to provide a safe and reliable service for commuters using the network.

Metra

Chicago’s Metropolitan Rail Corporation (METRA) in the US has announced a $2.4bn rail modernisation plan, in a bid to provide a safe and reliable service for commuters using the network.

The first long-term rolling stock plan in the firm’s history, the new investment aims to replace its old passenger rail cars and locomotives and to upgrade the remaining cars and engines.

In addition, it plans to install the federally mandated positive train control on its system.

Based on the proposed 2015 operating budget, METRA will increase the fare by an average of 10.8% to as much as 18.2%.

According to the estimates, the state and federal funding sources will provide a total of $710m of the $2.4bn programme and METRA will have to accumulate $1.3bn over the next ten years.

"We are only asking our customers to pay about 16% of the total cost of this programme, but that is an important component of our plan."

METRA board chairman Martin Oberman said: "We are only asking our customers to pay about 16% of the total cost of this programme, but that is an important component of our plan.

"METRA believes that by taking the lead to fund its capital needs through financing, which will largely be paid by METRA riders, we will convince government leaders to step up to the plate to provide the additional needed funding."

Along with the existing 146 locomotives and 837 passenger cars, METRA will have 186 Highliner cars for its electric line when the delivery of new cars finishes next year.

With this new plan, the company will purchase 367 new cars at a cost of $1.2bn, to replace 318 cars and to increase its spare cars by 49.

85 locomotives in the fleet will also be rebuilt with an estimated cost of $178.5m.


Image: A METRA train at the Union Station in Chicago, US. Photo: courtesy of DR04.

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