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MBTA 2001 on Charles River Bridge.JPG
MBTA locomotive #2001 crosses the Charles River Bridge en route to the MBTA Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility, shortly after its first revenue run on April 16, 2014.
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder MotivePower
Model HSP46
Build date 2013–2014
Total produced 40
 • AAR B-B
 • UIC Bo′Bo′
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Trucks MPI MP1114, 4-wheel, cast frame w/ traction pivot
Wheel diameter 40 in
Minimum curve 20 degrees (288 ft 0 in (87.78 m)
Wheelbase 45 ft 0 in (13.72 m) (between truck centers)
Length 71 ft 0 in (21.64 m)
Width 10 ft 0 in (3.05 m)
Height 15 ft 4.5 in (4.686 m)
Axle load 72,500 lb (32,885 kg) Max
Adhesive weight 100%
Loco weight 287,500 lb (130,408 kilograms)
Fuel type Diesel
Fuel capacity 2,000 US gal (7,600 l; 1,700 imp gal)
Coolant cap. 360 US gal (1,400 l; 300 imp gal)
Prime mover GE GEVO-12[1]
RPM range 440–1050 (600–1050 while supplying HEP)
Engine type 45° V12, four stroke cycle diesel engine[1]
Aspiration Turbocharged
Displacement 188.5 L (49.8 US gal; 41.5 imp gal)[2]
Alternator GE 5GMG211 Traction Alternator with Integral HEP winding, Single bearing
Traction motors 4 GE GEB-15 AC Traction Motors
Cylinders 12
Cylinder size 15.7083 liters (958.58 cu in)
Transmission AC–DC–AC
MU working Yes
Train heating Locomotive-supplied head-end power; Inverter HEP
IGBT based w/ capacitor/inductor filtration
804 hp (600 kW), 3 phase ,480 VAC
Loco brake Electropneumatic w/ blended dynamic braking
Train brakes Electropneumatic
Safety systems ATC / ACSES / PTC
Performance figures
Maximum speed 110 mph (177 km/h) (design)
80 mph (129 km/h) (service)
Power output At alternator:
4,650 hp (3,470 kW)
At wheel (HEP dependent):
~4,300 hp (3,200 kW)
~3,500 hp (2,600 kW)
Tractive effort 289.14 kN (65,000 lbf) starting
Factor of adh. 4.423
Operators Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Numbers 2000–2039
Locale Boston
Delivered October 24, 2013
First run April 16, 2014

The MPI HSP46 is a four-axle AC-traction diesel-electric locomotive for commuter trains, designed and assembled by MotivePower. It meets EPA Tier 3 emissions standards. The launch customer is the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), whose first unit entered revenue service in April 2014.


The locomotives are powered by GE GEVO-12 diesel engines from GE Transportation Systems,[1] equipped with a static inverter for head end power, and capable of meeting the stringent new Tier 3 emissions regulations. AC traction systems, prime movers, head end power equipment, and computer systems are supplied by GE, while MPI supplies the brake systems, air systems, and cooling systems.[4]

The locomotive was styled by industrial designer Cesar Vergara, who also designed the GE Genesis.[3][5]


In the mid-2000s the MBTA issued a request for proposal for new diesel locomotives to replace its aging fleet, much of which dated to the late 1970s.[1] Two firms responded: Vossloh España S.A. and MotivePower. MBTA selected Vossloh, but the Federal Transit Administration rejected the MBTA's request for a "Buy America Act" waiver.[6][7] MBTA turned to MotivePower, and ordered 20 new HSP46 locomotives on July 14, 2010, at a cost of $114.6 million.[1]

On July 27, 2011, the MBTA released images of a new paint scheme for the authority's HSP46 fleet.[8] It was chosen by the general public in an online survey.[8]

On July 11, 2012, the MBTA Board voted to approve the first option for 7 locomotives, bringing the order total to 27 units.[9] On April 10, 2013, the Board approved the purchase of the remaining 13 option locomotives, bringing the current order total to 40 units (2000–2039), at a total cost of $240 million.[10]

On October 24, 2013, the first pilot unit, No. 2001, was delivered to the MBTA Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility to begin testing and training. Two other pilot units were also released from MotivePower: No. 2000 to GE's Test Facility in Erie, Pennsylvania, and No. 2003 to the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. test facility in Pueblo, Colorado. Only No. 2001 was given the MBTA paint scheme; the other two test units were unpainted.

On April 16, 2014, No. 2001 entered revenue service, with its first round trip taking place on the Haverhill Line.[11] As of October 2015, 36 of the 40 locomotives are in service.[12] En route to the MBTA, the locomotives were sent to the Providence and Worcester Railroad, which is subcontracted to MPI to prepare the units for revenue service.[12]

In August 2014, MPI discovered that some traction motor bearings had been shipped improperly to their factory, causing early failures. Locomotives already delivered to the MBTA were repaired on site, while half of the locomotives were redirected to Altoona Works during delivery for replacement bearings to be installed. The issues were not disclosed to the press until January 2015.[13] While the repairs were performed under warranty at no cost to the MBTA, they constituted an additional delay that prevented some of the units from entering service prior to the end of 2015. The multiple delays and early mechanical issues have raised concern from industry commentators about the MBTA's procurement process and the overall quality of the locomotives.[13]

Despite the repairs, the HSP46s continue to experience mechanical problems. Turbochargers failed in several locomotives beginning in Fall 2016, and will have to be replaced fleet-wide.[14] Fleet availability fell to 27 of 40 in early April 2017.[15]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Boston orders MotivePower HSP46 diesels". Railway Gazette International. July 20, 2010. 
  2. ^ "The New General Electric GEVO-Engine for Tier2-Locomotive Application" (PDF). FEV Spectrum (25). February 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 10, 2012. Retrieved April 16, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Vantuono, William C. (9 December 2014). "Boston barnstormer". Railway Age. Archived from the original on 18 December 2014. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Wabtec's MotivePower Unit Signs Contract With MBTA For New Passenger Locomotives". PR Newswire. Retrieved August 31, 2010. 
  5. ^ Vantuono, William C. (August 21, 2015). "Cesar Vergara recipient of Railway Age Graham Claytor Award". Railway Age. Retrieved May 1, 2017. 
  6. ^ Little, Sherry E. (November 14, 2008). "Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority - November 14, 2008". Federal Transit Administration. 
  7. ^ Shea, Padraig B. (November 15, 2008). "MBTA request federal funds is rejected". The Boston Globe. 
  8. ^ a b Gaffin, Adam. "New loco look for MBTA". Universal Hub. Retrieved April 16, 2014. 
  9. ^ "MBTA approves $150m of upgrades to commuter rail". Boston Globe. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Board Meeting Agenda". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. April 10, 2013. Retrieved April 16, 2014. 
  11. ^ LaBella, Mike (April 15, 2014). "New train headed to city tomorrow". Eagle-Tribune. Retrieved April 16, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "The MBTA Vehicle Inventory Page". NETransit. 19 December 2014. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Robinson, Walter V. (21 January 2015). "Flaws sideline MBTA's new commuter rail locomotives: Commuter rail vehicles costing $222m need repairs on bearings". Boston Globe. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  14. ^ Mohl, Bruce (March 27, 2017). "Keolis plagued by train, coach issues". CommonWealth Magazine. Retrieved April 30, 2017. 
  15. ^ Dungca, Nicole (April 8, 2017). "Commuter rail locomotives plagued by gear failure". The Boston Globe. Retrieved April 30, 2017. 

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