The state of Illinois has been allocated $US 108m from the Volkswagen settlement, which was reached following the discovery that the car manufacturer had installed software in certain diesel vehicles to cheat emissions tests.

Metra will receive $US 14m from the settlement to fund the acquisition of eight new diesel locomotives, which will be compliant with US EPA Tier 4 emissions standards.

The operator is struggling to maintain services with an ageing locomotive fleet. Last month the Metra board approved the $US 2.5m acquisition of three 30-year-old F59PH locomotives from Progress Rail to supplement the fleet. The operator has also acquired 21 F59PHIs from Amtrak and these are due to enter service early next year.

In April Metra issued a Request for Proposals for a base order of at least 12 new or 15 remanufactured locomotives with options for up to 30 additional new locomotives or 27 additional remanufactured locomotives. These proposals are currently being evaluated.