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Pace831

MTDX bi-level car dispositions

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Midwest Transit & Development Corporation (MTDX) purchased 71 ex-CNW bilevels from Metra in 1998. They intended to resell the cars to other commuter or excursion operators. Some were leased to Caltrain and other places for a short time, while others were purchased for excursion service at various locations around the country. Their business model failed when a court ruled that cars purchased with federal funds had to be offered to another transit agency before they could be sold to a private owner. Information is hard to come by, but I believe MTDX went out of business around 2003, although their website is still "active".

For a short time after purchase, these cars were stored along the lakefront in South Chicago. They were then moved to the EJ&E East Joliet Yard. Most were dispersed over the next several years. In 2013, CN built an intermodal terminal in Joliet, which forced the remaining ten cars to be relocated to Elk Grove Village. Nine of those remain there today, in poor condition due to vandalism and theft.

This is a list of the dispositions of MTDX bilevels. It is not a complete list and I am looking for more information. What other cars are missing from this list? Were any scrapped? If MTDX is no longer in business, who owns the cars now in Elk Grove/Bensenville?* Who owned them when they were still in Joliet? More recent information on any MTDX cars is also appreciated.

*I'd guess Iowa Pacific Holdings based on their location and presence of other IPH equipment on the same siding, but I can't prove this.

  • 7609 Unknown.
  • 7665 Green Bay, WI. National Railroad Museum. Restored to CNW colors. Previously used for Big Easy Steam Train in Belle Chasse, LA in 2000-2001.
  • 7667 Miami, FL. Gold Coast Railroad Museum. For sale in 2019.
  • 7669 Unknown. Used for Golden Pacific Railroad excursion train in Tacoma, WA in 2006.
  • 7670 Miami, FL. Gold Coast Railroad Museum. For sale in 2019.
  • 7671 Bensenville, IL. Was leased to Caltrain around 2001.
  • 7673 Unknown. Used for Golden Pacific Railroad excursion train in Tacoma, WA in 2006.
  • 7674 Unknown.
  • 7678 Miami, FL. Gold Coast Railroad Museum.
  • 7679 Unknown. Was in Joliet until at least 2003.
  • 7680 Unknown. Used for Big Easy Steam Train in Belle Chasse, LA in 2000-2001.
  • 7713 Unknown. On WSOR in Horicon, WI in 2005. MTDX ownership unconfirmed.
  • 7726 Unknown. On WSOR in Horicon, WI in 2005. MTDX ownership unconfirmed.
  • 7781 Unknown. On WSOR in Horicon, WI in 2005. MTDX ownership unconfirmed.
  • 7858 Unknown. On WSOR in Horicon, WI in 2005. MTDX ownership unconfirmed.
  • 7880 Bensenville, IL. Painted for Agence Métropolitaine de transport (Montréal, Québec).
  • 7900 Unknown. Used for Golden Pacific Railroad excursion train in Tacoma, WA in 2006. MTDX ownership probable but unconfirmed.
  • 7901 Unknown. Was in Joliet until at least 2008.
  • 8701 Unknown. Reported as returned to Metra, but unconfirmed. Uncertain if MTDX ever owned this car.
  • 8702 Bensenville, IL.
  • 8706 Bensenville, IL. Cab end severely damaged by fire in 2019.
  • 8709 Bensenville, IL. Was leased to Caltrain around 2001.
  • 8713 Bensenville, IL. Was leased to Caltrain around 2001.
  • 8715 Unknown. Reported in Elk Grove Village in 2013.
  • 8716 Bensenville, IL. RTA paint.
  • 8720 Quebec, QC. Went to Le Massif Du Charlevoix (LMCX) in 2011, rebuilt and extensively modified.
  • 8721 Bensenville, IL. RTA paint.
  • 8722 North Milwaukee, WI. With one other car, number unknown. Evidently used for parts for other WSOR bilevels.
  • 8723 Miami, FL. Gold Coast Railroad Museum.
  • 8724 Quebec, QC. Was leased to Caltrain around 2001. Went to Le Massif Du Charlevoix (LMCX) in 2011, rebuilt and extensively modified.
  • 8726 Miami, FL. Gold Coast Railroad Museum.
  • 8729 Unknown. Used for Golden Pacific Railroad excursion train in Tacoma, WA in 2006.
  • 8735 Bensenville, IL. RTA paint.
  • 8737 Unknown. Used for Golden Pacific Railroad excursion train in Tacoma, WA in 2006.
  • 8744 Horicon, WI. WSOR 11.
  • 8763 Unknown. Used for Golden Pacific Railroad excursion train in Tacoma, WA in 2006.
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I can't shed much light on the backstory of the MTDX cars, but I can update/add a few to your list.  I've been keeping a large spreadsheet of ALL the ex-Pullman cars for a few years, so this information comes from a variety of sources.  I've definitely heard that those cars in Bensenville are owned by Iowa Pacific but have no additional information on how that happened.

Updates to cars on your list:

  • 7658 - Not an MTDX car.  Originally went to VRE, renumbered V430.  Returned to Metra 2014, repainted and number restored, but never returned to service.  Sat at M19A for awhile, donated to IRM sometime in October, and now resides there permanently.  They have no plans to repaint and plan on using the car to add capacity for special events.
  • 7665 - Now owned by National Railroad Museum in Green Bay.  Restored to CNW colors, used for various excursion trains
  • 7667, 7670 - Listed for sale on Ozark Mountain Railcar 5/2019; details and outcome unknown, may still be in Miami
  • 8701 - I know this car was reported as returned several years ago, but I've NEVER seen it, and Metra's official Rolling Stock Reports don't show it as active.  I'm not sure it was ever actually returned, or if it was, it's sitting in a shop somewhere as a parts source.
  • 8720, 8724 - Heavily modified, now owned by a tourist railroad in Quebec (LMCX) along with several other non-MTDX bilevels
  • 876? - Probably 8763, which was an MTDX car according to my info.  No further details though.

Additions to your list:

  • 8715 - Presumably an MTDX car; was in Elk Grove Village in 2013
  • 8722 - Was MTDX at some point; last spotted in Milwaukee around 2005, stripped, likely scrapped; one other car with it, number unknown
  • 8730, 8731, 8739, 8740, 8742 - Originally went to VRE, but sold to MTDX in for $1 each in 2008.  No idea where they went after that.

I've also updated my own spreadsheet with the information you posted above, so thank you for that!  If you're curious as the the info I've gathered, feel free to check out the spreadsheet.  First tab is returnees only, second tab is the master list - link to Google sheet here.

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10 hours ago, Eric95 said:

8715 - Presumably an MTDX car; was in Elk Grove Village in 2013

That accounts for the last of the ten moved from Joliet to Elk Grove. It disappeared sometime between 2013-2015. Also kills my speculation that 8715 was the one abandoned on CZRY at Dubbers spur, which your list says is 8728.

On that note, I discovered that the cars used for the Tren Turístico Tijuana Tecate were 7765, 7777, and 7785. These cars were part of a group of 11 that was discussed in this thread. A former CZRY employee on Trainorders.com says that the cars were purchased directly from Metra.

10 hours ago, Eric95 said:

8722 - Was MTDX at some point; last spotted in Milwaukee around 2005, stripped, likely scrapped; one other car with it, number unknown

Can you provide the exact location in Milwaukee, such as a Google maps link, if you know it?

10 hours ago, Eric95 said:

8730, 8731, 8739, 8740, 8742 - Originally went to VRE, but sold to MTDX in for $1 each in 2008.  No idea where they went after that.

So MTDX was still active in 2008, and VRE was willing to give away cars to them? Did you mean to say METX instead of MTDX? 8730 and 8731 are shown on rrpicturearchives as having returned to the Chicago area in 2008, and it was reported on this forum that 8731 returned to Metra. However, like 8701, that was never confirmed.

10 hours ago, Eric95 said:

876? - Probably 8763, which was an MTDX car according to my info.  No further details though.

I was able to confirm it was 8763.

10 hours ago, Eric95 said:

I've also updated my own spreadsheet with the information you posted above, so thank you for that!  If you're curious as the the info I've gathered, feel free to check out the spreadsheet.  First tab is returnees only, second tab is the master list - link to Google sheet here.

Thanks a lot! This is really helpful information. I've updated my list.

Were all the WSOR bilevels from MTDX? WSOR had 7713, 7726, 7781, 7858, 8744, and at least 5 others (some later ended up elsewhere). You have 8744 listed as abandoned in Bensenville in 2015. What's your source for that? Google Earth shows an A-B-A set and three bilevels, which look like the WSOR passenger train. None of that equipment is still there, and those bilevels were not part of the ten cars moved from Joliet, which were stored on a different siding at the time.

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On 12/2/2019 at 4:05 AM, Pace831 said:

On that note, I discovered that the cars used for the Tren Turístico Tijuana Tecate were 7765, 7777, and 7785. These cars were part of a group of 11 that was discussed in this thread. A former CZRY employee on Trainorders.com says that the cars were purchased directly from Metra.

Ooh, thanks, I'll update my own list with that info.

On 12/2/2019 at 4:05 AM, Pace831 said:

Can you provide the exact location in Milwaukee, such as a Google maps link, if you know it?

I don't have an exact location - my only evidence was this picture, taken in 2006.  Couldn't make out the number on the second car, but it seems likely they're both scrapped at this point.

On 12/2/2019 at 4:05 AM, Pace831 said:

So MTDX was still active in 2008, and VRE was willing to give away cars to them? Did you mean to say METX instead of MTDX? 8730 and 8731 are shown on rrpicturearchives as having returned to the Chicago area in 2008, and it was reported on this forum that 8731 returned to Metra. However, like 8701, that was never confirmed.

Nope, MTDX - I've attached a PDF to this post, found while combing through old VRE board meeting proceedings, that show these five were sold to Dan Behr, who of course was the owner of MTDX.  Whether MTDX was actually still active as a company, I don't technically know, but if nothing else, Mr. Behr was apparently still interesting in gathering rolling stock.

On 12/2/2019 at 4:05 AM, Pace831 said:

Were all the WSOR bilevels from MTDX? WSOR had 7713, 7726, 7781, 7858, 8744, and at least 5 others (some later ended up elsewhere). You have 8744 listed as abandoned in Bensenville in 2015. What's your source for that? Google Earth shows an A-B-A set and three bilevels, which look like the WSOR passenger train. None of that equipment is still there, and those bilevels were not part of the ten cars moved from Joliet, which were stored on a different siding at the time.

Noting it as abandoned was probably an error on my part - the Bensenville location was probably taken from whenever I found this photo on Flickr of the former 8744 in WSOR paint.  In terms of their path to WSOR, I'm really not sure - the older spreadsheet that I started from (dated around 2006 and of completely unknown source, though it has turned out to be *mostly* accurate) lists some of those cars having gone to Carrizo Gorge, and a couple having been at Northern Rail, which later went bankrupt and went through some whole fiasco with the bilevels destined for VRE that I never really sorted out.

VRE 0710 Sale to D Behr.pdf

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19 hours ago, Eric95 said:

I don't have an exact location - my only evidence was this picture, taken in 2006.  Couldn't make out the number on the second car, but it seems likely they're both scrapped at this point.

The photo caption gave enough information for me to figure it out by looking at Google Earth imagery. There is an image from nine days after the photo was taken, which shows those two cars as well as ten more at the WSOR shops just to the north. Those ten are presumably the ones that were moved to Horicon a few months later. 8722 and its mate were probably stripped of parts for the others. They were still nearby as of the latest imagery, dated March 16, 2018. This is further evidence that WSOR got all their cars from MTDX, so I will add them to the list with an "unconfirmed" note.

19 hours ago, Eric95 said:

Nope, MTDX - I've attached a PDF to this post, found while combing through old VRE board meeting proceedings, that show these five were sold to Dan Behr, who of course was the owner of MTDX.  Whether MTDX was actually still active as a company, I don't technically know, but if nothing else, Mr. Behr was apparently still interesting in gathering rolling stock.

The buyer was named as Dan Behr Associates, not MTDX. This prompted me to look up Dan Behr's LinkedIn profile, which mentioned involvement with Ottawa Railcar, Inc. in Ottawa, IL. I then recalled that there were once two bilevel cars there. Searching rrpicturearchives revealed that they were 8730 and 8731. They disappeared between 2013 and 2015.

LinkedIn also has the following entry about MTDX:

Quote

Bilevel Gallery Commuter Railcar Project

Apr 1998 – Oct 2003

Mr. Behr, along with other investors, established a holding entity in 1998, which purchased 71 Metra commuter bilevel gallery commuter railcars for lease and/or resale. In connection with this venture, a separate passenger car and locomotive maintenance entity was established to renovate and maintain the fleet of cars.

Mr. Behr developed a renovation program for the cars being offered, along with a fleet maintenance program. In order to do this, production lines had to be set up, along with a matrix of suppliers, inventory, skilled and unskilled labor and the technical resources to execute a renovation program to exacting specifications and standards.

Work groups included the following:

► Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)
► Brake work, including tread brake unit (TBU) rebuilding
► Running gear and couplers
► Seat rebuilding
► Re-flooring
► Re-painting interior and exterior
► Steel fabrication and body work
► Electrical
► Training

The workshop was a subcontractor to the prime contractor in the renovation of similar cars for Virginia Railway Express. The scope of work performed involved renovation of the interiors, as well as various other scopes of mechanical work. While the scope of work in the subcontract was limited to interior renovation, most of the work in the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) work scope was applied to the other company-owned cars and the results of that work can be seen in the finished products, shown in a car data document, provided upon request. In addition, the car shop had performed projects for Alstom Canada Transport, in preparation of cars for service in San Francisco, California.

A few more tidbits I discovered:

  • Golden Pacific had 7900 according to this entry. It was not specified as an MTDX car but I would guess it probably was.
  • Gettysburg RR leased an MTDX bilevel around 2001. According to Alexander D. Mitchell IV on the RYPN forum, it was repossessed to MTDX for failure to pay the lease.
  • Delaware River Railroad Excursions in Phillipsburg, NJ has three bilevels; unknown numbers; unknown if they came from MTDX.

Thanks again! You gave me some good leads.

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You as well!  Appreciate the correction and further explanation on that VRE sale in '08 - I hadn't given much thought to it but it definitely helps clear up the timeline.  Let me know if you if you find any more relevant info, MTDX or otherwise, as you keep searching.

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