MPI MPXpress

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"MPXpress" redirects here. It is not to be confused with MP Xpress.
MPI MPXpress
Rail Runner MP36PH-3C in New Mexico
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder Motive Power, Inc. (Wabtec)
Build date 2003-present
Total produced


  • MP36PH-3S: 27
  • MP36PH-3C: 110
  • MP40PH-3C: 70
  • MP32PH-Q: 10
AAR wheel arr. B-B
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 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)
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,3C)
EMD 16-710G3B-T2 (MP40PH-3C)
Performance figures
Maximum speed 108 mph (174 km/h)
Power output 3,600 hp (2,700 kW) (MP36PH-3S,3C)
4,000 hp (3,000 kW) (MP40PH-3C)
Tractive effort 88,500 lbf (394 kN) (starting)
78,000 lbf (350 kN) (continuous)
72,500 lbf (322 kN) (starting, Metrolink)[1]
Operator(s) See list

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 four main variants: MP36PH-3S, MP36PH-3C, MP40PH-3C, and MP32PH-Q

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 crashworthiness standards.

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



A MP36PH-3S in Metra livery. Thus far, Metra is the only railroad to order this model.

The MP36PH-3S uses a 16-cylinder EMD 645F3B diesel engine as its prime mover. Its HEP is generated from a static inverter that receives its power through connections to the prime mover — hence the "S" (static) designation. When providing full electrical power to the passenger cars connected to it, the prime mover must maintain a higher RPM in order to supply power to the passenger cars. The traction power when providing full HEP load of 500 kW is 2930 HP, since HEP generation diverts some power from the prime mover.[2]

Chicago's Metra ordered 27 of these locomotives, which were built and delivered between 2003 and 2004. Fourteen were to replace Metra's aged F40C fleet, while the rest were for expansion. When the locomotives were first delivered, they exhibited software and computer problems, to the point that Metra had to put two F40Cs back into service for a short time in 2004. One of the unique features of the MP36s in Metra's fleet compared to other operators is that they are equipped with a Gyralite (which is standard equipment on all of Metra's passenger locomotives), which are mounted in the spot on the front of the locomotive where the locomotive number board would otherwise be located. Metra is currently the only operator of the MP36PH-3S version.

Metra has plans to convert all of their MP36PH-3S locomotives to the MP36PH-3C specification by removing the static inverter system and replacing it with an HEP genset in an effort to reduce noise pollution and boost fuel efficiency. As of August 2015 the first -3C Conversion has taken place with Metra 417 returning from the MPI's Shops in Boise, ID for testing. [3]


A MP36PH-3C in Caltrain livery.

The MP36PH-3C has the same prime mover as the "-3S" model, the EMD 645F3B diesel engine, but with its HEP generated by a separate Caterpillar C-27 [4] diesel engine, thus the "C" in its model name. In this arrangement, when providing HEP, the full 3600 HP from the prime mover is available for traction, and the prime mover is allowed to idle at a lower RPM. The Wabtec Q-Tron control system is used in all models built prior to 2008/9, while newer units use the same EM2000 system like GO Transit's MP40PH-3C.[4] Caltrain was the first to purchase the MP36PH-3C in 2003.


A MP40PH-3C in old GO Transit livery.

The MP40PH-3C is similar to the MP36PH-3C, but with several differences:

  • the MP40PH-3C uses a 16-cylinder EMD 710GB series diesel engine instead of the EMD 645F3B, generating 4000HP instead of 3600.
  • the use of EMD's EM2000 computer and associated control system instead of Wabtec/MPI's own system in the MP36.
  • the use of an EMD alternator and traction motors.

GO Transit ordered 27 locomotives of this model to replace their aging EMD F59PH fleet, which were delivered throughout 2007 and 2008. An order for 20 additional units was signed in July 2008. In February 2010, yet another order was signed for 10 additional units. It was announced on November 1, 2011 that GO Transit would be swapping out the EMD prime movers of 11 MP40s for the new Cummins QSK95. It is currently unknown if the engine swap program will be expanded to include the rest of the GO fleet which is still relatively young.[5] More recently, it was decided that two QSK60s would be installed in lieu of the QSK95. This would provide a power increase to 5400 horsepower and improve emissions to EPA Tier 4 standards.[6]

Both GO Transit and Sound Transit operate this model. GO's latest units (657-666) and Sound Transit units are Tier 3-compliant.[7][8]


An MPI MP32PH-Q locomotive in SunRail livery.

The MP32PH-Q was built for SunRail to similar specifications as new MPXpress locomotives, but are refurbished from units that had previously operated on MARC as GP40WH-2 locomotives. Inside the locomotive, the engines have been rebuilt and electronics have been upgraded using the same equipment as other MPXpress locomotives. On the outside the MP32PH-Q retains the hood unit layout of the GP40WH-2, but with a new MPXpress cab.[7][9]


Model System Locale Inventory
MP36PH-3S Metra Chicago, Illinois 27
MP36PH-3C Caltrain San Francisco, California 6
FrontRunner Salt Lake City, Utah 15
MARC Washington, D.C./Maryland/West Virginia 26
MBTA Boston, MA 2
Metrolink Los Angeles, California 15
New Mexico Rail Runner Express Albuquerque, New Mexico 9
Northstar Line Minneapolis, Minnesota 6
Virginia Railway Express Washington, D.C./Virginia 20
West Coast Express Vancouver, British Columbia 1
MP40PH-3C GO Transit Toronto, Ontario 67
Sounder Commuter Rail Seattle, Washington 3
MP32PH-Q SunRail Greater Orlando, Florida 10

Internal Layout[edit]

I originally created this drawing using the graphics utility in MicroSoft Excel spreadsheet application, then moved it to Inkscape and finally after a couple of years into Intaglio
This is a freehand (no trace utilities) cutaway drawing of New Mexico's RailRunner Motive Power MP36PH-3C. This drawing was created using over 100 personal photographs I took outside and inside this locomotive.


  1. ^ "LOS ANGELES COUNTY METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY: Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) Technical Feasibility Analysis" (PDF). LTK Engineering Services. May 4, 2009. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Locomotives". LTK Engineering Services. Archived from the original on September 7, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Metra Proposed 2013 Program and Budget". Metra. November 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 7, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Lex, Robert (29 September 2013). "Northstar Commuter Rail MP36PH-3C Parts". Parts List for MPXpress locomotives. 
  5. ^ Cummins to produce Tier 4 compliant diesel engine - Railway Gazette
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b "SunRail, Sound Transit order MotivePower locomotives". Trains. September 12, 2011. Retrieved September 13, 2011. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Murdock, Ken (April 2014). "Winter Park’s Station Dedication". The Flatwheel 3–5. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 7, 2014. 

External links[edit]