Tight transit budgets force Metra to rehab railcars

September 11, 2014

Increased sales tax receipts could be the answer that transit agencies, such as Chicago’s Metra have been looking for… [but] Metra is still spending its budget conservatively. The commuter rail division recently started a rehabilitation program for 176 of its cars. The passenger cars are being refurbished in-house, by Metra workers.

The Metra Rehab Facility just refurbished car number 101 and plans to finish the last car by late next year. Although the cars are not brand new, the agency is saving more than $2 million per car by rehabbing rather than starting fresh. Regular rehabs on the cars will also prolong the lifespan.

“The average life of a railcar is 25 years, but by rehabbing the cars every 14 to 16 years, we can expect a 42-year-lifespan,” said Don Orseno CEO of Metra.

The rehabilitation program isn’t only saving Metra money, but also making upgrades and adding amenities like ADA lifts, electrical outlets, new toilets, and new flooring and seating.

“From a passenger perspective, you wouldn’t be able to tell if the car was refurbished or brand new,” said Jim Derwinski, acting chief mechanical officer for Metra…

Read the rest of the story in Metro Magazine, 2 September 2014.

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