Metrolink plans to make locomotive upgrades that are expected to reduce emissions by 86 percent.
The Metrolink Board of Directors recently gave the agency the green light to enter into an agreement to secure Tier 4 locomotives.
“This is a significant milestone in Metrolink’s efforts to operate the most efficient and environmentally friendly commuter rail system in the nation,” said Board Chair Richard Katz said in a news release. “It demonstrates our commitment to our neighbors and to doing our part to clean up the air in Southern California.”
The upgrades would put Metrolink on pace to become the first in the country to achieve Tier 4 status in revenue service, officials said.
Metrolink serves Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties.
The approval to move ahead with the contract with Electro-Motive Diesel is just the first step. The agency must secure project funds, officials said. The first three demonstration locomotives are expected to be complete in the fall of 2015.
Besides reducing emissions in surrounding communities, the locomotives will have more horsepower that will enable the agency to increase capacity by adding more trains to a set.
The contract will bring the locomotive on line in phases, starting with a base order of 10 with the option to buy up to 10 more. Metrolink has allocated $129.4 million for the purchase.
The move by the board also committed Metrolink to the testing of alternative sources of fuel in future operations.
"Metrolink will make the first locomotives replaced by the new Tier 4s available to the South Coast Air Quality Management District for the purposes of experimentation with various alternative fuel technologies expected to be commercially available in the next decade," officials wrote in a news release.
The alternative fuels to be looked at include liquefied natural gas and battery technology.
For additional details on Metrolink, please visit www.metrolinktrains.com.