Erie Locomotive Plant to Get Additional Work

The future is looking brighter for the former GE locomotive assembly plant in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Wabtec said this week it will move work now performed at its Motive Power Industries plant in Boise, Idaho, to the Erie facility in Lawrence Park.

Wabtec is reportedly interested in building passenger locomotives, something MPI specialized in doing.

GE Transportation had not built passenger-oriented locomotives for several years for the U.S. market.

Amtrak’s Genesis series of motive power was built by GE, but the passenger carrier is looking to replace those units with Chargers built by Siemens.

“Decisions like this are never easy but will help simplify and optimize the company’s manufacturing footprint in today’s cyclical environment, as well as better position Wabtec for success,” Wabtec said in a statement. “The company remains fully committed to all customer commitments and providing impacted employees with resources and benefits to manage the transition.”

MPI was acquired by Wabtec in 1999. It was previously controlled by Morrison Knudsen.

In recent years it built the MP36 commuter railroad locomotive, part of its MPXpress model line.

GE Transportation once teamed up with MPI to build a commuter locomotive, the HSP46 that used components made by both companies.

The unit encountered operating difficulties and few were built.

Currently, MPI builds and sells a Tier 4 compliant MP54AC commuter locomotive that thus far has only been purchased by Toronto GO Transit.

Industry observers note that MPI’s Idaho plant is small, has less than 500 employees and cannot be easily expanded.

It also lacks a dedicated test track, something the Erie facility has.

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