VRE buys new locomotives
Virginia Railway Express has purchased its last new locomotive, which completes the commuter rail service's effort to update its aging equipment.
The $4 million locomotive is set to arrive in July 2011 and is one of 20 VRE has purchased with the help of state, federal and local funding to improve the efficiency of the system and pave the way for future expansion.
The locomotives will replace the freight units VRE bought more than a decade ago and will have fewer mechanical issues, VRE officials said. They will also be able to pull 10 rail cars instead of an average of six, allowing the service to eventually expand.
VRE officials said they were able to move forward with the purchase of the last locomotive due to a budget surplus in fiscal 2010. In September, the VRE Operations Board voted to dedicate $2.5 million from the $5.1 million surplus to the new locomotive. The surplus, VRE officials said, came from an increase in fare revenue and a reduction in operating expenses.
-- Jennifer Buske
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