The MPI HSP46 is a four-axle AC-traction diesel-electric locomotive for commuter trains, designed and assembled by MotivePower, Inc. 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 MBTA Board of Directors voted on July 14, 2010 to approve the purchase of 20 new HSP46 locomotives from MotivePower, Inc, at a cost of $6 million per unit. The locomotives are powered by GE GEVO-12 diesel engines from GE Transportation Systems, 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.
On July 11, 2012, the MBTA Board voted to approve the first option for 7 locomotives, bringing the order total to 27 units (2000-2026). 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.
On October 24, 2013, the first pilot unit, #2001, was delivered to the MBTA Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility to begin testing and training. Two other pilot units were also released from Motive Power Industries: #2000 to GE's Test Facility in Erie, Pennsylvania, and #2003 to the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. test facility in Pueblo, Colorado. Only #2001 was given the MBTA paint scheme; the other two test units were unpainted.
On April 16, 2014, #2001 entered revenue service, with its first round trip taking place on the Haverhill Line. As of October 2015[update], 36 of the 40 locomotives are in service. En route to the MBTA, the locomotives were sent to the Providence and Worcester Railroad, who is subcontracted to MPI to prepare the units for revenue service.
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. 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.
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