Midlife rehabilitation is part of the normal maintenance cycle for passenger rail cars industrywide. These rehabilitations extend the useful life and reliability of the cars by replacing worn components. At Metra, our multi-year $115 million Amerail car rehabilitation program is going a step further installing a variety of new features to improve the passenger experience.
New passenger amenities include:
- Electrical outlets to power phones and other small electronics.
- Sensitive-edge outer doors that will retract if they come in contact with a person or object.
- Four new LED signs per car to display station announcements.
- New flush toilets and bathrooms.
- New wheelchair lifts.
- Overhauled air conditioning system.
- New composite floors and new seats that meet the latest safety regulations.
- Upgraded battery charger used for emergency lighting.
- All doors, windows and floor heaters.
- Hardware components for the federally mandated Positive Train Control safety system.
The passenger cars are being refurbished in-house at the railroad’s 49th Street Car Shop in Chicago using Metra’s skilled and experienced workforce. By doing the work in-house, Metra is saving riders and taxpayers money, pumping dollars back into the local economy and reducing the time that a car is out of service.
Metra has streamlined the rehab process creating an ultra-efficient operation that can strip and fully rebuild a car in just 36 days. Cab cars take about 3,900 man hours and trailer cars take about 3,400 man hours. The work will extend the life of the cars by 12 to 15 years.
Metra’s Amerail program aims to rehabilitate 176 cars that were built by Amerail (originally Morrison Knudson) between 1995 and 1998. This includes 79 cab cars and 97 trailer cars. About 151 cars have been completed so far at a cost of approximately $650,000 per car. The remaining Amerail cars should be completed by the spring of 2017.