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New Mexico Rail Runner MP36PH-3C in New Mexico.

By snowpeak -, CC BY 2.0,

An MP36PH-3S in Metra livery. Metra is currently the only railroad to order this model.
New Mexico Rail Runner MP36PH-3C in New Mexico.
An MP36PH-3C in Caltrain livery. Ten railroads operate this model, with Caltrain being the launch customer.
Sample Internal Layout Cutaway Drawing of New Mexico's RailRunner Motive Power MP36PH-3C.
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Sample Internal Layout Cutaway Drawing of New Mexico's RailRunner Motive Power MP36PH-3C.

By Rb4827 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

MPI MPXpress Series Diesel-Electric Locomotives
MPXpress is a series of diesel-electric passenger train locomotives designed for commuter rail service. The manufacturer, Motive Power (Wabtec), offers the locomotives with a number of customizable options such as different prime movers and traction motors, Head-end power (HEP) generated by a separate engine or by the prime mover, and new or refurbished trucks. To date, MPI has offered five main variants: MP36PH-3S, MP36PH-3C, MP40PH-3C, MP32PH-Q, and MP54AC.

The MPXpress line of locomotives were the first production passenger locomotives to meet EPA Tier 1 and Tier 2 emissions regulations, as well as FRA safety regulations regarding crashworthiness and fire safety. The line also meets APTA crashtest standards.

Numerous public transit agencies in Canada and the United States have ordered MPXpress locomotives for their commuter rail services. GO Transit is currently the largest client for MPI MPXpress locomotives with 67 in their fleet.

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.

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. Metra is currently the only 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. After fixes were implemented, the locomotives became the workhorses of Metra's fleet.

Conversion to MP36PH-3C specification
Starting in 2015, Metra is converting its MP36PH-3S locomotives to the MP36PH-3C specification by removing the static inverter and replacing it with a separate HEP generator. This is being done in an effort to reduce noise pollution and boost fuel efficiency. There are plans to convert at least ten, if not all MP36PH-3S locomotives. Metra's MP36PH-3C locomotives all have extended radiators to supply the extra cooling for the Caterpillar generators.

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[3] diesel engine (hence the "C" (Caterpillar) designation). In this arrangement, when providing HEP, the full 3,600 hp from the prime mover is available for traction, and the prime mover is allowed to idle at a lower RPM. Having two engines is more complex, but results in lowered noise emissions and lower fuel consumption.

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.

The MP40PH-3C introduced a new prime mover, the larger 16-cylinder EMD 710GB 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 Toronto 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. Motive Power and GE Transportation responded to the request, with Motive Power 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. GO Transit has gone on to order a total of 67 MPXpress locomotives.

Tier 3 compliance
Motive Power upgraded the MP40PH-3C to comply with the EPA's more stringent Tier 3 emissions standard, which went into effect in 2012. The first customer for the Tier 3 compliant locomotives was Sound Transit, which purchased three units which were delivered in 2011, to be used on its Sounder commuter rail service in the Seattle area. Per federal law, all locomotives delivered between 2012 and 2014 are Tier 3 compliant.

The MP32PH-Q was built for SunRail to 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 3,000hp EMD 16-645 prime mover has been rebuilt and electronics have been upgraded using the same equipment as other MPXpress locomotives. On the exterior, the MP32PH-Q retains the hood unit layout of the former GP40WH-2, but a new MPXpress cab replaces the original cab.

The MP54AC is the latest locomotive in the MPXpress family designed to both meet the EPA's stringent Tier 4 emissions standard and offer higher performance than the MP40PH-3C. It can be built as new or as a Tier IV re-power to existing MPXpress locomotives. The MP54AC uses a pair of Cummins 16-cylinder QSK60 engines rated at 2,700 hp each (5,400 hp total), making it the most powerful diesel passenger locomotive in North America. During periods of low power demand, the locomotive can operate on just one engine to reduce noise pollution and boost fuel efficiency. The MP54AC competes with the EMD F125 and Siemens Charger.

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). Motive Power 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. Unit 647 was delivered to GO Transit late 2015 and was seen under testing on December 12, 2015.

Initially GO Transit had planned to convert a total of ten MP40PH-3Cs to the new MP54AC standard, but later opted to instead order 16 MP54AC locomotives and keep the remaining MP40PH-3Cs intact. There are also plans to use the new MP54AC locomotives to replace remaining F59PHs left in service.

MPI MPXpress Overview
Type and origin
Power type: Diesel-electric
Builder: Motive Power, Inc. (Wabtec)
Build date: 2003–present
Total produced: 217 +16 on order as follows:
MP36PH-3S: 27
MP36PH-3C: 110
MP40PH-3C: 70
MP32PH-Q: 10
MP54AC: 1 (16 on order)
Number rebuilt:
MP36PH-3S: 5 (to MP36PH-3C)
MP40PH-3C: 1 (to MP54AC)
AAR wheel arrangement: B-B
Gauge: 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Wheel diameter: 3 ft 4 in (1,016 mm)
Minimum curve: 248 ft (75.59 m)
Wheelbase: 9 ft 0 in (2.74 m) (original)
Wheelbase: 9 ft 4 in (2.84 m) (new)
Length: 68 ft (21 m)
Width: 10 ft 7.5 in (3.239 m)
Height: 15 ft 6 in (4.72 m)
Locomotive weight: 285,000 to 295,000 lb (129,000 to 134,000 kg)
Prime mover: EMD 16-645F3B (MP36PH-3S, MP36PH-3C)
Prime mover: EMD 16-710G3B-T2 (MP40PH-3C)
Prime mover: EMD 16-645 (MP32PH-Q)
Prime mover: (2x) Cummins QSK60 (MP54AC)
Performance figures
Maximum speed: 79 mph (127 km/h) (MP32PH-Q)
Maximum speed: 82–102 mph (132–164 km/h) (MP36PH-3C)
Maximum speed: 93 mph (150 km/h) (MP40PH-3C)
Maximum speed: 110 mph (180 km/h) (MP54AC)
Power output: 3,600 hp (2,700 kW) (MP36PH-3S, MP36PH-3C)
Power output: 4,000 hp (3,000 kW) (MP40PH-3C)
Power output: 3,000 hp (2,200 kW) (MP32PH-Q)
Power output: 5,400 hp (4,000 kW) (MP54AC)
Tractive effort: 72,500–85,000 lbf (322–378 kN) (MP36PH-3C, MP36PH-3S)
Tractive effort: 85,000 lbf (380 kN) (MP40PH-3C)[1]
Tractive effort: 70,000 lbf (310 kN) (MP32PH-Q)
Tractive effort: 82,900 lbf (369 kN) (MP54AC)
Operators: See list below


System: Metra

Locale: Chicago, Illinois
Model: MP36PH-3S
Inventory: 22
Model: MP36PH-3C
Inventory: 5

System: Caltrain

Locale: San Francisco, California
Model: MP36PH-3C
Inventory: 6

System: FrontRunner

Locale: Salt Lake City, Utah
Model: MP36PH-3C
Inventory: 15

System: MARC

Locale: Maryland/Washington, D.C./West Virginia
Model: MP36PH-3C
Inventory: 26

System: MBTA

Locale: Boston, MA
Model: MP36PH-3C
Inventory: 2

System: Metrolink

Locale: Los Angeles, California
Model: MP36PH-3C
Inventory: 15

System: New Mexico Rail Runner Express

Locale: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Model: MP36PH-3C
Inventory: 9

System: Northstar Line

Locale: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Model: MP36PH-3C
Inventory: 6

System: Virginia Railway Express

Locale: Washington, D.C./Virginia
Model: MP36PH-3C
Inventory: 20

System: West Coast Express

Locale: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Model: MP36PH-3C
Inventory: 1

System: Sounder Commuter Rail

Locale: Seattle, Washington
Model: MP40PH-3C
Inventory: 3

System: GO Transit

Locale: Toronto, Ontario
Model: MP54AC
Inventory: 66
Model: MP40PH-3C
Inventory: 1, with 16 units on order

System: SunRail

Locale: Greater Orlando, Florida
Model: MP32PH-Q
Inventory: 10

See also:


Motive Power (Wabtec)

MPI Locomotives

An MP36PH-3S in Metra livery. Metra is currently the only railroad to order this model.

An MP36PH-3S in Metra livery. Metra is currently the only railroad to order this model.

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

By Lucius Kwok from New York, NY, United States - caltrain-927-2, CC BY-SA 2.0,