Motive Power Industries MPXpress series

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MPI MPXpress
GO Transit is the largest operator of the MPXpress series, with a total of 83 units
Constructed: 2003 - 2020
Power type: Diesel-Electric
Maximum Speed: 82-110 mph (132-177 km/h)

The Motive Power Industries MPXpress series of North American passenger train locomotives is based on a "platform" concept, in that the basic platform (that is, the shape) stays the same but each component is able to be customized to a specific customer's needs.

Although it it is unmistakably different on the outside, the MPXpress is based on MPI's experience producing both new and remanufactured commuter locomotives to many commuter agencies across North America. It is even available with a host of remanufactured components to help lower costs for any potential customer.

To date, MPI has created 5 variants of the MPXpress series:

  • MP36PH-3S
  • MP36PH-3C
  • MP40PH-3C
  • MP32PH-Q
  • MP54AC

The breakdown of the name is as follows: Motive Power, 3600 or 4000 horsepower, Passenger, Head-end power equipped, -3 for computerized control systems and Static invertor or Caterpiller or Cummins HEP gen-set equipped.

Other than these, there are many additional options available, such as remanufactured components rather than new ones, different gearings, different brake systems, two different trucks, train number boards, lighting packages, and a wide selection of available HEP packages.


In 2001, Chicago's Metra was looking for a new fleet of locomotives to replace their aging EMD-built F40C's. With GE and EMD as competitors to the bid, MPI won with their design. The first of the 27 MP36PH-3S's that began rolling out of the Boise, ID assembly facility the following year were not MPI's first brand new passenger locomotives however: they had built new F40-variants before, having delivered 12 F40PH-2CAT's for Boston's MBTA in 1995, 5 F40PH-3C's for San Jose's ACE, and 3 F40PH-2C's for Caltrans.

One advantage of a static invertor over an alternator as used before is that the prime mover no longer has to be kept running at the same speed to provide HEP regardless of the output - the invertor can be set to output the power at any frequency necessary. The 3600hp 16V-645FZ3B prime mover can operate as low as Notch 3 and still provide HEP.

Metra's order is to date the only order for the MP36PH-3S, although the option for a static invertor is still available for any agency who may want it.


WCX 906 at Waterfront Station

Shortly after Metra began receiving their order, Caltrain in California put out a tender for 6 new locos to be used on their upcoming "Baby Bullet" service. Once again, MPI won the bid but with a variation: Caltrain's were to have a separate Caterpillar HEP gen-set, rather than the static invertors of Metra's order.

Soon afterwards, additional orders arrived: New Mexico's Rail Runner service ordered 5 MP36PH-3C's. Vancouver's West Coast Express ordered a single unit (equipped with the Canadian-standard twin-bus HEP system). LA's Metrolink and Salt Lake City's FrontRunner put in a combined 22 unit order, with up to 45 additional units available as options to both of those agencies, as well as to Minnesota's Northstar Commuter Rail and Boston's MBTA. Thus far, one option order of 12 units, split three ways between Metrolink, FrontRunner and the Northstar, has been taken. RailRunner's first units, Vancouver's sole unit and much of the first Metrolink order were delivered by 2008. RailRunner's second order of units and the first Northstar locomotive were spotted at the production facility in Boise in August 2008.

Additional orders have since come in as well: Utah's FrontRunner ordered another 10 units for their projected "FrontRunner South" service. Due to the tunnels on the lines around Baltimore and Washington, Virginia Railway Express and MARC ordered modified units that are slightly lower than normal for additional overhead clearances.


GOT 613 at the Willobrook Yard.

In 2006, Toronto's GO Transit put out a tender for new locomotives. The requirements for the new locomotives included being able develop 4000hp, capable of 93mph, and the ability to haul 12-car trains unassisted. Only two bidders responded: MPI and GE.

MPI's offer was the MP40PH-3C. Based on the MPXpress platform it was designed in partnership with EMDI, who supplied the prime mover (a 16V-710G3B-T2), dynamic brake, traction motors and locomotive control system. It also is equipped with a Caterpillar C27-ACERT HEP gen-set.

27 locomotives were delivered by the end of 2008. This was followed by a another 20 units in 2010, 10 more units in 2011, and another 10 in 2014. The last ten locomotives, GOT 657-666, have different exhaust silencers and are Tier-3 compliant.

Sound Transit, the commuter rail operator for the Seattle metropolitan area, purchased 3 locomotives in 2012.


In 2011, the Florida Department of Transportation created SunRail in the Greater Orlando area. Along with ordering several Bombardier BiLevel cars, the FDoT ordered seven locomotives from MPI, designated MP32PH-Q.

These locomotives are similar to MP36PH-3Cs, however MP32PH-Q units are refurbished units, having operated as GP40WH locomotives on the MARC network. They are hood unit-style locomotives similar to the GP40WHs, however their cabs have been replaced with the standard MPXpress cab.


The MP54AC (or MP40PH-T4AC) is MPI's Tier IV-compliant passenger locomotive offering. It uses two Cummins QSK60 diesel engines that produce a combined 5400 horsepower, but can operate on one engine if desired. The locomotive uses AC traction motors supplied by ABB. This has yielded weight and space savings. MPI offers the MP54AC as a new locomotive or as a conversion of an older MPXpress locomotive.

The first MP54AC produced, actually designated MP40PHTC-T4, was a conversion of an MP40PH-3C for GO Transit—delivered in November 2015. It was fitted with the new Tier IV powerplant and new Q-Tron control system. The four EMD DC traction motors were retained. It was meant to be a prototype for the conversion of ten more locomotives, however GO Transit elected to purchase 16 new locomotives instead.

The first new locomotive, numbered 668, was delivered to GO Transit at the end of March 2018. According to GO Transit, the new Tier IV locomotive reduces particulate matter by approximately 85 percent and nitrogen oxide by 75 percent.[1]


Canada Flag of Canada.png

Operator Quantity Variant Notes
GO Transit 66 MP40PH-3C
1 MP54AC
  • MP54AC prototype
  • Rebuilt from 647
  • Retains DC traction motors
16 MP54AC
West Coast Express 1 MP36PH-3C
  • Operational spare

United States Flag of the United States.png

Operator Quantity Variant Notes
Caltrain 6 MP36PH-3C
  • Former UTA units
Metra 27 MP36PH-3S
  • Delivered as MP36PH-3S
  • Rebuilt to MP36PH-3C standards
Metrolink 15 MP36PH-3C
Northstar Commuter Rail 6 MP36PH-3C
  • 1 Former UTA unit
New Mexico Rail Runner 9 MP36PH-3C
Sound Transit 3 MP40PH-3C
SunRail 11 MP32PH-Q
  • Rebuilt from MARC GP40WH-2 locomotives
UTA FrontRunner 18 MP36PH-3C
Virginia Railway Express 20 MP36PH-3C


  1. GO Transit's newest fleet member is the first of its kind. 26 March 2018. The Linx. Metrolinx.