Metra Finalizes Multilevel Order

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
In January, Metra’s Board of Directors approved a $1.8 billion purchase of up to 500 Alstom multilevels to replace aging bi-level gallery cars.

In January, Metra’s Board of Directors approved a $1.8 billion purchase of up to 500 Alstom multilevels to replace aging bi-level gallery cars.

Metra has awarded Alstom a $775.4 million contract for an initial order of 200 multilevel cars for Chicago commuter rail service.

The contract follows the Board of Directors’ January approval of up to 500 multilevels, worth $1.8 billion. The new cars, replacing aging bilevel gallery cars, are a customized version of Alstom’s Coradia Duplex. They will be built at the manufacturer’s Hornell, N.Y., facility; the automatic train control system will be supplied by its Rochester, N.Y., facility. Metra reported in January that it anticipated delivery of the first car 42 months after the contract was finalized.

The multilevels will have a “streamlined, modern” interior, with USB plugs, large windows, and a layout that improves passenger flow; seating and spacing to allow for additional riders and physical distancing; improved truck design for enhanced ride quality; full LED lighting and climate control regulation based on passenger load; and multiple, touchless wide doors on each side to reduce dwell times and improve access, according to Alstom.

The cars will also meet all Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and accessibility requirements, Alstom said, noting that wheelchair lifts would be included on each side. “Service-proven components and enhanced maintenance and diagnostic system capabilities” will provide Metra with “greater visibility of fleet operational performance” and will “increase fleet availability,” the manufacturer said.

“Alstom is pleased to have been selected by Metra to provide the latest in multilevel car design,” Alstom Americas President Jérôme Wallut said. The new cars, he added will allow Metra “to extract maximum value from their fleet investments by increasing fleet reliability, enhancing overall passenger experience and ensuring maximum accessibility for all passengers.”

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