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Metrolink unveils first of 40 clean diesel locomotives in Southern California

By in Press Enterprise on October 6, 2017

By Steve Scauzillo

Metrolink unveiled its first-ever clean diesel locomotive on Thursday that officials said will emit far fewer smog-forming gases and is more powerful than its current trains.

The new F125 locomotive, built by Caterpillar, Inc., will begin taking passengers later this month, making the Southern California commuter rail service the first transit agency in the nation running the state-of-the-art train, said Sherita Coffelt, Metrolink spokewoman.

By next year, Metrolink will have placed 40 new locomotives in service, nearly replacing its entire fleet of 55. When all 40 are running, it will mean the equivalent of removing the annual emissions of 31,320 vehicles on roadways, Metrolink estimated.

The locomotive swap out also replaces the six-county commuter rail’s aging fleet. Metrolink’s locomotives are 25 years old, dating back to when the agency first came into existence in 1992.

The F125 has a 4,700-horse power engine, 64 percent more power than current trains, making adding cars to accommodate more riders easier, said Neil Brown, Metrolink’s fleet manager.

California environmental agencies have been working on getting these nearly pollution-free passenger locomotives onto the rails in Southern California for years in an effort to bring the region cleaner air, said Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board.

Transportation causes more than half of the foul air in Southern California, causing lung disease and, in particular, childhood asthma, said state Senate President Pro-Tem Kevin de Leon during a kickoff ceremony from Union Station in Los Angeles.

While automobiles have reduced tailpipe emissions through more efficient engines, hybrid cars and electric vehicles, diesel trains have not kept pace.

California Senate President pro tem Kevin de Leon speaks during the introduction of Metrolink’s first Tier 4 locomotive at Los Angeles Union Station, Platform 14, Oct. 4, 2017. There will be 40 new locomotives soon. These pollute the air far less than current diesel locomotives. […]    

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