The Highliner is a bilevel Electric Multiple Unit railcar. The original series of railcars were built in 1971 by the St. Louis Car Company for commuter service on the Illinois Central Railroad, in south Chicago, Illinois, with an additional batch later produced by Bombardier. A second generation featuring a completely new design was produced by Nippon Sharyo beginning in 2005.
A Highliner II on left and first-generation Highliner (now retired) on right at University Park.
|In service||Highliner: 1971-2016|
Highliner II: 2005-present
|Manufacturer||Highliner: St. Louis Car Company, Bombardier|
Highliner II: Nippon Sharyo
Highliner II: Budd Gallery car
|Constructed||Highliner: 1971, 1978-1979|
Highliner II: 2005, 2012-2016
|Number built||St Louis: 130|
|Number preserved||Approx. 24|
|Number scrapped||Most First Generation cars scrapped, second generation cars still in service|
|Fleet numbers||1201–1226, 1501–1663 (Metra)|
|Operator(s)||Illinois Central, Metra, NICTD|
|Line(s) served||Metra Electric, South Shore Line|
|Car body construction||Highliner: carbon steel|
Highliner II : stainless steel
|Car length||85 feet (25.91 m)|
|Width||10.5 feet (3.20 m)|
|Height||15.83 feet (4.82 m) (to roof)|
|Floor height||4.298 feet (1.31 m)|
|Doors||Highliner: 1 end vestibule, 2 center|
Highliner II: 2 center
|Maximum speed||80 mph (130 km/h)|
|Weight||140,000 lb (64,000 kg) (empty)|
|Traction motors||General Electric DC Motor model 1258|
|Power output||150 hp (110 kW) continuous, 160 hp (120 kW) maximum 1-hr rating per motor (4 per car)|
|Acceleration||1.36 mph/s (2.19 km/(h⋅s))|
|Deceleration||1.5 mph/s (2.4 km/(h⋅s))|
|Train heating||Electric heat, air conditioning|
|Electric system(s)||1,500 V, DC Overhead lines|
|Current collection method||Pantograph|
|Bogies||Highliner: Outboard Bearing GSI 70|
|Braking system(s)||Pneumatic, dynamic|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
In 1926, the Illinois Central's commuter rail lines were electrified, and began operating as the "IC Electric". For almost 40 years, the IC Electric continued to operate the original fleet of heavyweight cars, until the railroad decided that a more modern railcar was needed to resume commuter operations. The Chicago South Suburban Mass Transit District formed in 1967 in order to qualify for federal funding to purchase new equipment for the route. The original 130 car Highliner fleet had a cost of approximately $40 million; $26.6 million was funded by a federal grant, with remainder coming from the Illinois Central. The railcars operated on electric catenary, and were more efficient than their heavyweight predecessors. A typical Highliner was able to seat 156 passengers, and run faster than the heavyweight fleet.
In 1976, the newly formed Regional Transportation Authority began to fund the IC Electric commuter service. In 1983, the RTA created Metra, Chicago's commuter rail service, and in 1987, Metra purchased the IC Electric line, forming the Metra Electric Line.
An additional batch of 36 Highliners was built from 1978 to 1979 by the Bombardier company. Starting in 2005, the aged original fleet, which was increasingly prone to breakage and experiencing soaring maintenance costs, began to be phased out. They were replaced by new Highliners built by Nippon Sharyo of Japan, the same company that is currently in charge of production of Metra's fleet of gallery cars. The last revenue run of the original Highliner cars was on February 12, 2016. Metra confirmed in a Facebook post that twenty-four cars are being sent to museums around the Midwestern United States, including the Illinois Railway Museum, while the other cars were sent to Mendota, Illinois to be scrapped.
The Nippon Sharyo Highliners are similar in appearance to the passenger cars used on Metra's diesel lines. The South Shore Line electric railroad of Illinois and Indiana also purchased and operates the Highliner II to supplement its fleet of EMUs.
|Car Numbers||Initial User||Year built||Builder|
|1501-1630||Illinois Central||1971-1972||St. Louis|
- Houston, Jack (April 16, 1972). "Suburb Transit Districts Eye Public Funds". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
- "Metra - Metra Train #117 operates past the 18th St station".
- "MassTransitMag.com » Article » Indiana's South Shore Commuter Capacity Growing". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-04-25.