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October 27, 2009 | 0 Comments

Capital Projects Update: Illinois Paint Booth

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Mike Kern and Bob Baer

St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern and Metro President Bob Baer chat before the ribbon cutting.

Yesterday, Metro’s Engineering Department celebrated the successful completion of the new paint booth facility that I mentioned previously. A small ribbon-cutting ceremony was held yesterday morning out at the Illinois MetroLink Yard facility in East St. Louis, where the paint booth was built.

Dust Collection Apparatus (aka vacuum hose)

Dust Collection Apparatus (aka vacuum hose)

The new paint booth facility was constructed by Plocher Construction and, thanks to the project team’s hard work, the project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget. The new facility has two parts: a “prep” area where the vehicles are cleaned and prepared for painting, and the paint booth itself, which has a massive filtered ventilation system and a whole lot of lighting. There’s also a smaller shop area where small parts can be prepped and painted as well. The setup includes a “dust collection system” (i.e. vacuum setup) and an exhaust system that keep bad particles from escaping into the air.

Paint Booth Prep area

Paint Booth Prep area

East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks speaks at the ribbon cutting ceremony, as U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello listens.

East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks speaks at the ribbon cutting ceremony, as U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello listens.

Why is this a big deal? This project not only came in under budget and ahead of time, but it is also helping “green” our operations. Previously, any train car painting was done at our Missouri MetroLink yard facilities, but the painting facility there was make-shift, the environmental controls were not as sound, and the process took longer and produced an inferior quality paint job. The vehicles that will be maintained at this facility travel an average of  500 miles each day, and many of the cars in the system have been in service since the 1990s. It’s important to keep them clean and looking nice. I’ll bet you’ve never seen a “tagged” MetroLink car; and hopefully you never will.

So many people are involved in planning, funding, designing and building a project like this that we actually drew quite a crowd at the event. It’s exciting to see so many elected officials who are enthusiastic supporters of transit and the economic opportunity it brings. And it’s nice to take even just one hour to celebrate an accomplishment, thank those who made it possible, and let people have a look at what they’ve brought to fruition.

Cutting the ribbon: Rep. Tom Holbrook, St. Clair County Board Chairman Mike Kern, ---, Congressman Jerry Costello, St. Clair County Transit District Chair Dolores Lysakowski

Cutting the ribbon, left to right: STV V.P. Keith MacKenzie; Metro Commissioner Dr. Richard LaBore; Il. Rep. Thomas Holbrook; St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern; East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks; U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello; St. Clair County Transit District Chair Dolores Lysakowski; Metro President & CEO Bob Baer; and Plocher Construction President Scott Plocher.

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Capital Projects, Metro Lifestyle

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