Southern California regional rail authority Metrolink has unveiled the first F125 Spirit diesel locomotive being built by Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) at its manufacturing plant in Muncie, Indiana, US.

Part of an order placed by Metrolink in June 2013 for 20 F125s, the new locomotive will be compliant with the latest US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier 4 emissions standards.

The order for an initial batch of 20 locomotives was supported by a $52m grant from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

"The order for an initial batch of 20 locomotives was supported by a $52m grant from the South Coast Air Quality Management District."

In order to meet these standards, the locomotives are being equipped with a urea-based selective catalytic reduction.

Designed for operation at about 200km/h, the F125 Spirit is powered with a 20-cylinder four-stroke Caterpillar C-175-20 engine capable of generating an output of 3.5MW.

The locomotives’ single-cab monocoque bodyshells incorporating crash energy management for collision protection are being designed and manufactured for EMD in Spain by Vossloh Rail Vehicles (now part of Stadler Rail).

The new vehicles will also be equipped with VRV high-speed running gear and inverter-controlled head-end power.

In addition to the 20 locomotives, the company ordered an additional nine units last year using a $41.2m state grant allocated under the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Programme from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.

Compared with older Tier 0 diesel locomotives, the new F125s are capable of providing an 85% reduction in emissions.

The new vehicles are claimed to be compliant with the US Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act’s 305-005 Next Generation Locomotive specifications.

The fleet plan of Metrolink envisages up to 40 locomotives at a total of approximately $280m, with the remaining options to be exercised when funds are available.

Last September, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) board had approved a further $22.8m grant for Metrolink, with provision for another $36m in future.

The first locomotives are expected to be operational towards the end of this year, while the additional nine locos are scheduled for delivery by the end of next year.

Following delivery, Metrolink intends to deploy these locomotives with its Hyundai Rotem-built double-deck coaches.