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MPI MPXpress
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderMotivePower
Build date2003 (2003)–2023 (2023)
Total produced237
  • MP36PH-3S: 27
  • MP36PH-3C: 103
  • MP40PH-3C: 70
  • MP32PH-Q: 11
  • MP54AC: 26
Number rebuilt
  • MP36PH-3S: 27 (to MP36PH-3C)
  • MP40PH-3C: 1 (to MP54AC)
Specifications
Configuration:
 • AARB-B
 • UICBo'Bo'
Gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Wheel diameter3 ft 4 in (1,020 mm)
Minimum curve248 ft (76,000 mm)
Wheelbase
  • 9 ft 0 in (2,740 mm) (original)
  • 9 ft 4 in (2,840 mm) (new)
Length68 ft (20.73 m)
Width10 ft 7.5 in (3,238 mm)
Height15 ft 6 in (4,720 mm)
Loco weight285,000 to 295,000 lb (129,000 to 134,000 kg)
Prime mover
Performance figures
Maximum speed
  • 82–102 mph (132–164 km/h) (MP36PH-3C, MP32PH-Q)
  • 93 mph (150 km/h) (MP40PH-3C)
  • 110 mph (180 km/h) (MP54AC)
Power output
  • 3,600 hp (2,700 kW) (MP36PH-3S, MP36PH-3C, MP32PH-Q)
  • 4,000 hp (3,000 kW) (MP40PH-3C)
  • 5,400 hp (4,000 kW) (MP54AC)
Tractive effort
  • 72,500–85,000 lbf (322–378 kN) (MP36PH-3C, MP36PH-3S)
  • 85,000 lbf (380 kN) (MP40PH-3C)[1]
  • 70,000 lbf (310 kN) (MP32PH-Q)
  • 82,900 lbf (369 kN) (MP54AC)
Career
OperatorsSee list

The MPI MPXpress is a line of diesel-electric locomotives built by MotivePower (a subsidiary of Wabtec) for commuter rail service. There are five MPXpress models: MP36PH-3S, MP36PH-3C, MP40PH-3C, MP32PH-Q, and MP54AC.

MPXpress locomotives were built with a high percentage of re-manufactured parts including diesel engines, major electrical components, trucks, and frames. Cabs, fuel tanks, electronics, HEP package, and other replaceable parts such as wheels and couplers were new when delivered. The re-manufactured components kept the price of locomotives down while providing like-new components with full warranty protection.[2]

The new cabs made the MPXpress the first production passenger locomotive that met U.S. federal crashworthiness requirements.

The MPXpress line has also kept pace with increasingly stringent EPA locomotive emissions regulations, having provided the first—and in some cases, only—passenger locomotive for each of the four emission levels (tiers) that were specified by the EPA between 2002 and 2015.

The MPXpress is used by numerous public transit agencies in Canada and the United States; of them, GO Transit has the most, with 93 in their fleet.

As of 2023, Wabtec no longer lists the MPXpress in its locomotive portfolio.[3]

Models

MP36PH-3S

A Metra MP36PH-3S in Blue Island. Metra is the only railroad that ordered this model.

The MP36PH-3S uses a 16-cylinder EMD 645F3B diesel engine as its prime mover, capable of generating 3,600 hp. Head-end power (HEP) is generated by a static inverter that receives its power through connections to the prime mover (hence the "S" (static) designation). Compared to a locomotive with a separate HEP generator, the prime mover must constantly maintain a higher RPM in order to supply power to the passenger cars. The setup is simpler but leads to higher noise levels and higher fuel consumption.

When providing the maximum 500 kW HEP load, maximum traction power is reduced to 2,930 hp since HEP generation diverts some power from the prime mover.[4]

The MP36PH-3S was the first variety of MPXpress locomotive to be built and the launch customer was Metra, a commuter railroad in the Chicago area. Metra ordered 27 of these locomotives in 2001, which were built and delivered between 2003 and 2004. Fourteen were to replace the railroad's aged F40C fleet, while the rest were for fleet expansion. Until May of 2020, when the 3S variants were converted to 3C's, Metra was the only remaining operator of the MP36PH-3S variant of the MPXpress.

When the locomotives were first delivered, the onboard computer systems proved problematic. At one point in 2004, because Metra had so many MPXpress locomotives out of service, two F40Cs had to be placed back into service for a short time.

Conversion to MP36PH-3C specification

Starting in 2015, Metra began converting its MP36PH-3S locomotives to the MP36PH-3C specification by removing the static inverter and replacing it with a separate HEP generator. Metra's MP36PH-3C locomotives all have extended radiators to supply the extra cooling for the new Caterpillar generators. Locomotive No. 417 was the first one to be converted and was sent to MPI in Boise. The rest were rebuilt at Metra's 47th Street shops on the South Side of Chicago. As of 2020, all of the MP36PH-3S locomotives have been converted to the MP36PH-3C specification.

MP36PH-3C

An MP36PH-3C in Caltrain livery. Nine railroads operate this model, with Caltrain being the launch customer.

The MP36PH-3C has the same EMD 645F3B prime mover as the MP36PH-3S model, but with a separate head-end power generator, a Caterpillar C-27.(3412 before 2005)[5]

The launch customer for the MP36PH-3C was Caltrain, a commuter railroad in the San Francisco Bay Area. Caltrain ordered 6 of these locomotives in 2003, which were built and delivered that same year. This locomotive has gone on to become the most popular MPXpress variant, with 100 delivered to nine different customers.

MP40PH-3C

An MP40PH-3C in the old GO Transit livery. GO Transit and Sounder Commuter Rail operate this model.

The MP40PH-3C introduced a new prime mover, the larger 16-cylinder EMD 710G3B series diesel engine, capable of generating 4,000 hp. The MP40PH-3C also uses an EMD alternator and traction motors.

The launch customer for the MP40PH-3C was GO Transit, a commuter railroad in the GTHA (Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area). The MP40PH-3C was developed in response to a bid request from GO Transit for locomotives capable of generating 4,000 hp, hauling 12 passenger cars and traveling at speeds up to 93 mph (150 km/h). MotivePower and GE Transportation responded to the request, with MotivePower being selected as the winning bidder. GO Transit placed an order for 27 locomotives in 2006, which were built and delivered between 2007 and 2008.

In 2011, MotivePower upgraded the MP40PH-3C to comply with the EPA's more stringent Tier 3 emissions standard,[6][7] which was in effect between 2012 and 2014. Three locomotives meeting this standard were built, all delivered to Sounder commuter rail in the Seattle area. Ten additional locomotives for GO Transit are also Tier 3 compliant.

MP32PH-Q

An MPI MP32PH-Q locomotive in SunRail livery. Sunrail is the only operator of the MP32PH-Q.

The MP32PH-Q was built from 2013 to 2014 for SunRail. They have similar specifications as new MPXpress locomotives, but are rebuilt and refurbished from units that had previously operated on MARC as GP40WH-2 locomotives. Inside the locomotive, the 3,000 hp EMD 16-645E3C prime mover has been rebuilt and electronics have been upgraded using the same equipment as other MPXpress locomotives, as well as a horsepower upgrade from 3,000 to 3,600. On the exterior, the MP32PH-Q retains the hood unit layout of the former GP40WH-2, but a new four-window MPXpress cab replaces the original cab.[6][8]

MP54AC

An MPI MP54AC locomotive in the new GO Transit livery. GO Transit is currently the only operator of this model.

The MP54AC (also known as MP40PHTC-T4AC)[9] is the latest locomotive in the MPXpress family and the only model available for sale in the US. It is designed to both meet the EPA's stringent Tier 4 emissions standard and offer higher performance than the MP40PH-3C. The MP54AC is a genset locomotive, using a pair of Cummins QSK60 60-liter, 16-cylinder engines rated at 2,700 hp each (5,400 hp total) and during periods of low power demand, the locomotive can operate on just one engine to reduce noise pollution and boost fuel efficiency. The 5,400 total horsepower qualifies the MP54AC as the most powerful diesel-electric passenger locomotive in North America, both currently and historically.

Currently, the MP54AC can be built as new or by having existing MPXpress locomotives rebuilt to the standard.[10]

GO Transit was the launch customer for the MP54AC. The first prototype unit was built by converting a MP40PH-3C owned by GO Transit (unit 647). MotivePower removed the EMD prime mover and HEP motor and replaced them with the twin Cummins engines. Heavy modifications were made to the body to accommodate extra air intake and exhaust stacks.[11][12] Unit 647 was delivered to GO Transit late 2015 and was seen under testing on December 12, 2015.[13]

Initially GO Transit had planned to convert a total of ten MP40PH-3Cs to the new MP54AC standard; it later ordered 16 additional newly built MP54AC locomotives[14] that would go toward replacing the aging F59PH locomotives that were currently in service.[15]

The MP54AC competes with other Tier 4 compliant locomotives, such as the Siemens Charger series and the EMD F125. Both the MP54AC and F125 have struggled to find customers, unlike the Charger series, which has sold more than 350 units including large orders from Amtrak and Via Rail.[16][17]

Operators

Railroad Model Qty. Notes
Caltrain MP36PH-3C 6
FrontRunner MP36PH-3C 18 One unit sold to Northstar Line; two units sold to MBTA
GO Transit MP40PH-3C 67 One converted to an MP54AC
MP54AC 16 One converted from MP40PH-3C
MARC MP36PH-3C 26
Metrolink MP36PH-3C 15
MBTA Commuter Rail MP36PH-3C 2 Purchased from FrontRunner
Metra MP36PH-3S 27 Later converted to MP36PH-3C standard
New Mexico Rail Runner Express MP36PH-3C 9
Northstar Line MP36PH-3C 6 Unit 512 purchased from FrontRunner
Sounder MP40PH-3C 3 Later rebuilt with lower-emission (Tier 3) engine.
SunRail MP32PH-Q 11
Virginia Railway Express MP36PH-3C 20
West Coast Express MP36PH-3C 1
Total 227

Internal layout

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (March 2018)
Cutaway drawing of New Mexico's RailRunner MPI MP36PH-3C. This layout varies for other locomotives.

References

  1. ^ "LOS ANGELES COUNTY METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY: Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) Technical Feasibility Analysis" (PDF). LTK Engineering Services. May 4, 2009. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  2. ^ "Metrolink Rail Fleet Management Report" (PDF). Metrolink. 2020. p. 32. Retrieved November 21, 2023.
  3. ^ "Locomotive Equipment". Wabtec. Retrieved 2023-04-17.
  4. ^ "Locomotives". LTK Engineering Services. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
  5. ^ Lex, Robert (29 September 2013). "Northstar Commuter Rail MP36PH-3C Parts". Parts List for MPXpress Locomotives.
  6. ^ a b "SunRail, Sound Transit order MotivePower locomotives". Trains. September 12, 2011. Archived from the original on September 20, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  7. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 15, 2012. Retrieved November 3, 2011.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Murdock, Ken (April 2014). "Winter Park's Station Dedication" (PDF). The Flatwheel. 3–5. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 8, 2014.
  9. ^ "MotivePower Tier 4 diesel delivered to Go Transit". International Railway Journal. 16 March 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  10. ^ "MP54 AC Commuter Locomotive | Wabtec Corporation". www.wabtec.com. Retrieved 2016-11-28.
  11. ^ "MP54 AC COMMUTER LOCOMOTIVE". Wabtec Corporation. Retrieved 2015-12-16.
  12. ^ "MP54AC" (PDF). Wabtec. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 17, 2015.
  13. ^ "First MP54AC testing on GO Transit". Railway Age. 14 December 2015. Retrieved 2015-12-16.
  14. ^ "Prototype MP54AC delivered to Metrolinx, GO Transit". Railway Age. 2 March 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  15. ^ "GO's MPI Series (MP40PH-3C and MP54AC) Locomotives (2007- ) – Transit Toronto – Content".
  16. ^ "Amtrak to Improve National Network with New Locomotives" (Press release). Amtrak. December 21, 2018. Archived from the original on January 26, 2021. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  17. ^ "Siemens Canada secures major order with VIA Rail Canada for new fleet of passenger trains" (Press release). Siemens Mobility. December 12, 2018.