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Electeds, Air Quality and Metrolink Officials Take First Tier 4 Clean Locomotive Ride

Friday October 6, 2017

$300 million investment for new locomotives will reduce emissions by up to 85% and result in more reliable train service for SoCal commuters

LOS ANGELES – State Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León joined local, state and federal officials and leaders from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and Metrolink for the first clean powered ride on a train pulled by Metrolink’s new Tier 4 locomotives, the cleanest, most powerful and safest diesel engines of any major commuter rail agency in the nation.

The list of dignitaries also included Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio, Metrolink Board Chair Andrew Kotyuk, California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols, California Transportation Commission Vice Chair Fran Inman, Orange County Supervisor and SCAQMD Board member Shawn Nelson, local Federal Transit Administration Director Raymond Tellis, City of Los Angeles Transportation Director Borja Leon, and Metrolink CEO Art Leahy.

Officials took a short inaugural ride on a Metrolink train powered by a new Tier 4 locomotive. The first of 40 of these clean diesel locomotives will begin revenue service later this month.

Purchased at a cost of approximately $280 million -- including $240 million from the state which includes a grant of $111 million from SCAQMD -- the Tier 4 locomotive fleet is Metrolink's next generation of train engines and represents a major advance for improving the region's air quality. 

"Reducing air pollution in California means aggressively cutting down on emissions in every industry," said California State Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles). "Using funds made available by my bill, SB 535, these low-emission locomotives will help keep our environment clean and improve public health."

Assemblywoman Rubio said, "Together we share common ground in striving for a higher quality of life for each rider. Metrolink has provided access to rides for 25 years to residents who otherwise would not have a reliable source of transportation, such as students and workers. As we move into the future, I am committed to seeking secured funding through our state’s budget process so that Metrolink can continue to provide quality, leading-edge technology to its riders."

Metrolink Board Chair Andrew Kotyuk and other officials credited SCAQMD and local, state and federal agencies, including the Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration, for making the Tier 4 project a reality.

SCAQMD Board member Shawn Nelson said the new locomotives are "cutting edge technology" that is a critical element in the region’s clean air initiatives, a point also made by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Transportation Director Borja Leon.

"Metrolink's advanced Tier 4 locomotive fleet is a major step forward in our region's continued push for cleaner air and sets a model for commuter rail and freight train operators nationwide," Leon said.

Tier 4 locomotives will reduce PM and NOx emissions by up to 85 percent over standard diesel engines. When all 40 of these Tier 4 locomotives are in service it will be equivalent to reducing the annual emissions of 31,320 vehicles.

The locomotives also are more fuel efficient (8 percent compared to Tier 0), more powerful (64 percent more horsepower), and safer. To ensure Metrolink's commitment to safety, they’re equipped with Positive Train Control and crash management system absorbing energy in the event of a collision to protect passengers.

Since June 1, 2017, Metrolink's first Tier 4 locomotives have undergone rigorous testing and certification per Federal Railroad Administration requirements. The inaugural ride kicked off a regional tour with various stops planned at community events before the engines are put into revenue service later this month.

The Clean Power Tour also is an opportunity for Metrolink to thank its member agencies as well as SCAQMD and state and federal partners for their continued support in advancing Metrolink projects.

For more information about the Tier 4 locomotives, click here.


Metrolink is Southern California's regional commuter rail service in its 24th year of operation. Metrolink is governed by The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Metrolink operates seven routes through a six-county, 538 route-mile network. Metrolink’s passengers travel approximately 441 million miles each year, making Metrolink the second busiest public transportation provider in Southern California. Metrolink is the third largest commuter rail agency in the United States based on directional route miles and the eighth largest based on annual ridership.