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Metro East Industries Tour

Photos by Richard Schumacher

Saturday morning, October 3, 2015 at 9 a.m., a joint group of 20 members of the St. Louis Chapter National Railway Historical Society and the Gateway Division NMRA met at Metro East Industries, Inc. on Missouri Avenue in East St. Louis, Illinois. We were met by MEI Vice President Rick Ortyl, Wade Clevenger and Frank Johnson.

MEI repairs locomotives and freight cars both in the shop and on the rail. The business was started in 1990 by Rick’s mother and father and remains a family owned and operated business. They have over 450 employees currently at this facility and at a satellite facility in St. Louis. The St. Louis facility is the old Manufactures Railway shops near the Anheuser-Busch brewery.

We toured the locomotive repair facilities. First was the locomotive overhaul shop where repairs ranged from light repairs to complete overhaul of the unit. Although MEI owns some locomotives, they do not lease out any units. They are in the business of repairing or rebuilding a customer’s rolling stock. From the locomotive shop we walked through the yard, viewing and photographing rail cars and locomotives – plenty to photograph, including a block of locomotives that will be sold at auction.

Then we proceeded to the paint shop and saw a locomotive that was in the process of being painted. The painting method was explained to the group. Thank you Rick, Wade, and Frank for the great tour. Thank you Ron Gawedzinski for arranging the tour.

Joe Obernuefemann is the editor of “The Gateway Railletter,” the official publication of the St. Louis Chapter National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) since October 2006. Joe retired as Manager, Signal and Communications from The Alton and Southern Railway Company on September 1, 2004 after 40 years service. His main railroading interest is old railroads that have been updated to tourist traps – Colorado and West Virginia are the favorites.

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