Metra Begins Second Railcar Rehab Program

Metra, which provides commuter rail service in the Chicago area, has started the next round of its in-house railcar rehabilitation program. The program will transform 302 railcars, manufactured by Nippon Sharyo and delivered to Metra between 2002 and 2008, to like-new condition at the agency’s 49th Street Car Shop.

Approximately 35 railcars a year will be rehabbed until about 2020, when the facility will be expanded and capacity will increase to about 60 railcars annually. The current cost of renovating the Nippon Sharyo railcars is approximately $700,000 each. The rehabs extend the life of each car by about 12 to 15 years.

“We are extremely proud of this program and the workers who have made it such a huge success,” said Don Orseno, Metra executive director/CEO. “Not only does it produce like-new railcars thanks to our highly skilled workers, but we keep jobs and investment right here in the Chicago area. It’s truly a win-win program.”

Each car is gutted and outfitted with new passenger amenities such as electric outlets, sensitive-edge outer doors that retract if they come in contact with a person or object, and four LED signs per car to display station announcements. The cars will feature new bathrooms, composite floors and seats, and wheelchair lifts. The rehab also includes overhauled air conditioning systems, upgraded battery chargers used for emergency lighting and hardware components for the Positive Train Control safety system.

The first round of the program, which began in 2010 and cost $115 million, renovated 176 railcars that were manufactured by Amerail and delivered to Metra between 1995 and 1998. The rehab of the final railcar was completed earlier this month.

Metra currently has three other renovation programs in progress. At Metra’s KYD facility, workers are renovating 41 cars that were built by Budd and delivered in 1974. The agency also has two separate locomotive programs, one of them in-house, which will renovate about 18 locomotives this year.