Old locomotives getting $27m overhaul

Aiello: ‘Chasing old junk is not my cup of tea’

THE MBTA’S FISCAL AND MANAGEMENT Control Board voted on Monday to spend $26.9 million overhauling 10 commuter rail locomotives that are already about 30 years old.

Joseph Aiello, chairman of the board, voted for the overhaul but with reservations about spending so much money on equipment that is already so old. “Chasing old junk is not my cup of tea,” he said. “Not a way to run a business.”

Keolis Commuter Services runs and repairs the T’s commuter rail locomotives and passenger coaches but has run into problems keeping the aging fleet working. Many of the system’s older locomotives are prone to breakdowns and even the newest locomotives have experienced a lot of problems. The T has no plans to purchase new locomotives any time soon, so it has embarked on a crash course to speed up repairs or bring out-of-service locomotives on line.

One of the initiatives is to overhaul 10 locomotives – five that are in service and five that are out of service. Motive Power Industries was the winning bidder, largely because of the technical expertise it gained in doing midlife overhauls of the same locomotives between 2001 and 2004.