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Metrolink last week marked the completion of its first locomotive meeting the Environmental Protection Agency's Tier 4 emission standards.The new locomotives, which are being manufactured by Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD), will reduce particulate matter and nitrogen oxide by up to 85 percent, Metrolink officials said in a press release. The new engines also will have up to 57 percent more horsepower.In 2013, Metrolink became the first U.S. commuter-rail agency to purchase Tier 4 locomotives. The long-term Metrolink fleet plan calls for up to 40 new Tier 4 locomotives, which are expected to cost $280 million.
Funding has been provided through the South Coast Air Quality Management District's (SCAQMD) Carl Moyer program, as well as the state of California's Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program. In the past three years, SCAQMD approved $74.8 million in Carl Moyer Program allocations to Metrolink, with an additional $36 million to be considered in future requests. For its part, the California State Transportation Agency has provided $41.2 million.The remaining budget will be accounted for through a combination of Metrolink member agency contributions and other subsidies."Transitioning to cleaner locomotives is vital to achieving our clean air goals for Southern California," said SCAQMD Chairman William Burke. "We are pleased that Metrolink is participating in this transition which will benefit the health of the 17 million residents in our region."EMD is producing the locomotives at its plant in Muncie, Ind. The first of the low-emission vehicles are expected to begin operating throughout Metrolink's system in late 2016, with the remainder arriving next year.To learn more about other Tier 4 locomotives in the marketplace, read this feature from Progressive Railroading's January issue.