Metra Purchases Battery-Powered Trainsets


Metra, Chicago, IL, is to purchase zero-emission, battery-powered trainsets from Stadler to run between LaSalle St. and Blue Island on the Beverly Branch of its Rock Island Line. The first sets are expected to be delivered in 2027-2028.

“This purchase demonstrates Metra’s commitment to cleaner power, to quieter trains, and to thinking outside the box as we plan for our future,” said Metra CEO/Executive Jim Derwinski. “We are excited to bring this technology, and its efficiency, flexibility, and reliability, to Chicago and to our riders.”

The contract includes a $154 million base order for eight, two-car, battery-powered trainsets, including engineering, training, and spare parts, with options costing up to an additional $181.4 million for eight more trainsets and up to 32 trailer cars, which could be added to the two-car trainsets to create three- or four-car trainsets.

Metra received a $169.3 million federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) grant for the purchase, which will cover the base order and some of the options. Funds from the state PAYGO program will pay for the grant’s required local match of 20 percent.

The trainsets will have low-level boarding and will be equipped with lifts to make them ADA-compliant. Each two-car set will seat 112 people, and each additional trailer car will provide seating for approximately 46 people. The single-level sets will have open gangways and include such features as passenger information signs, bike racks, luggage racks, and USB outlets. Half of the trailer cars, if purchased, would include ADA-accessible bathrooms.

A fully charged trainset is expected to have a range of 45-65 miles. Charging time will vary, but going from a 20 percent charge to 80 percent—enough for the trainset to operate—is expected to take approximately 20-30 minutes. The exact charging infrastructure and its cost is yet to be determined.

The new trainsets would allow Metra to retire some of its oldest, most polluting diesel locomotives. This would directly benefit the air quality in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods on the South Side of Chicago and in the near south suburbs.

The procurement will meet Buy America requirements, with final assembly in Stadler’s Salt Lake City plant.