Virginia Railway Express (VRE) in the US has awarded a $44m contract to Wabtec‘s subsidiary MotivePower to supply 12 MPXpress commuter locomotives.

The fleet will be used on VRE’s suburban community lines of Northern and Central Virginia.

The vehicles are an improved version of the service’s 2003 models and feature high horsepower engines and increased passenger capacity.

The company says the vehicles are more fuel efficient and over 60% more environmentally friendly than the vehicles they replace.

Under the contract VRE can order eight more vehicles, which would take the contract value to over $73m.

The order by VRE is an increase from its earlier order of five vehicles. The investment comes from federal formula funds and stimulus money under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.