$60m targeted for commuter rail overhauls

$60m targeted for commuter rail overhauls

Nearly half of MBTA locomotives require major work

THE MBTA IS PLANNING to spend close to $60 million to nearly double the number of new or overhauled commuter rail locomotives in its fleet by the end of next year.

T officials said they have 44 new or overhauled locomotives currently, and plan to spend $57.1 million to add another 39. That would still leave the T seven short of its goal of 90 new or overhauled locomotives, but officials said they are looking at other options, including the lease of additional vehicles.

Keolis Commuter Services is responsible for operating and maintaining the T’s commuter rail locomotives and coaches, but the MBTA is responsible for the vehicles themselves. T officials said on Monday that 46 locomotives are in tough shape, most of them requiring major overhauls to extend their useful life.

Keolis has had difficulty meeting its performance targets in recent months because it has been unable to keep 67 locomotives ready for daily service. While the number of available locomotives has increased to more than 67 in recent weeks, MBTA officials said a large number of vehicles still need to be overhauled to make sure they last until a procurement for new vehicles can be completed. Locomotive procurements typically take six years, officials said.

Three of the planned overhaul programs would be done by Keolis, at a price of $1.2 million per locomotive.  Keolis is already under contract to overhaul 10 locomotives and a contract for another eight is being considered.

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Bruce Mohl

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About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

The MBTA is also putting out to bid the overhaul of another 16 locomotives at an estimated cost of $37 million. Another five locomotives are being fixed at a cost of $500,000, but officials said those repairs would not extend the life of the vehicles.  The T also plans to purchase 15 new locomotive engines at a cost of $4.5 million, or $300,000 per engine.

In a presentation to the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board, T officials said they expected to have 67 new or overhauled locomotives available for daily service by May or June of next year.