On May 1st, the first of 28 new locomotives was delivered to the MTA New York City Subway. The manufacturer, MotivePower, Inc. (MPI), was contracted by the MTA, to design an all new switcher locomotive capable of pulling work trains anywhere on the NYC subway system.
The contract began in 2006. A prototype locomotive was built and rejected which resulted in this all new design which was approved. The locomotive’s model designation is the officially the MP 8AC-3, however, it will be termed R-156 by the MTA. The R-156 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 also has enhanced crew comfort and safety features, improved reliability and maintainability, and produce lower exhaust-level emissions than the equipment it will replace.
“The R-156 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,” says New York City Transit.
Some Other Noted Facts:
- The locomotive is an all new switcher design from the ground up.
- The locomotive is designed to operate longhood forward.
- The locomotive is not a gen set style locomotive, just a brand new designed switcher.
- The locomotive’s prime mover is a Cummins QSK 23 engine, rated at 800hp, which is what the “8″ in the model designation is for.
- Like MPI’s commuter locomotives this locomotive has a separate Caterpillar HEP engine to maximize prime mover horsepower.
- The locomotive uses Kawasaki trucks and traction motors.
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.
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 was transported on the evening of May 2nd 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.
(Source: MotivePower, Inc. & MTA New York City Transit)