MTA New York City Transit Takes Delivery of New Diesel-Electric Locomotive

Subway riders are quite familiar with MTA New York City Transit's fleet of 6,300 stainless steel subway cars, but what they may not realize is that we also have an impressive roster of specially-designed diesel-electric locomotives ready, willing and able to haul work trains to the farthest segments of the subway system.

NYC Transit maintains a fleet of 62 diesel-electric locomotives that haul work trains and pumping equipment into sections of track where power to the third rail has been turned off to facilitate capital construction, maintenance work or repair damage. On May 1st, the first of 28 new locomotives was delivered to NYCT's facilities.

The locomotive was loaded onto a flat car in Boise, Idaho two weeks prior and shipped cross-country over the rails and then off-loaded onto NYCT's tracks at Linden Yard. The locomotive will ultimately be transported to the Coney Island Shop for completion of conformance testing and other commissioning activities. All 28 locomotives are expected to be delivered by mid-2013. The new locomotives will add much needed resources to the existing fleet as well as replacing several units that have seen nearly a half century of service in the system.

Manufactured by MotivePower, Inc., this new fleet of diesel-electric switcher locomotives, termed R156, is custom designed and manufactured to meet NYCT's unique requirements such as tight tunnel clearances and strict weight limitations for bridges and elevated tracks. The units boast enhanced crew comfort and safety features, improved reliability and maintainability, and produce lower exhaust-level emissions than older equipment.

The R156 uses some of the latest NYCT subway passenger car components, which are service-proven and will result in more reliable operation and increased maintenance efficiency. The locomotives offer significant technological improvements, including AC propulsion, higher-horsepower, improved fuel efficiency, advanced emissions reduction technology and microprocessor controls. They also meet the latest crashworthiness and safety standards recommended by NYCT's Office of System Safety.

The locomotives feature an independent heating and battery charging (layover) system powered by a small diesel engine to keep the main engine warm during cold weather and provide auxiliary power to operate the lights and HVAC system, and to charge the batteries. This modern system reduces overall diesel engine emissions and while reducing fuel consumption during cold weather operations.

Additional features include advanced instrumentation and electronics, including a monitoring and diagnostic system with enhanced software, an automatic fire suppression system, and a sophisticated wheel slip and slide detection system. The new locomotive will also have cabinet space, electrical conduits and cabling allocated for future Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) implementation.

These units are definitely the 21st-century versions of the Little Locomotive That Can.