Posts Tagged ‘GE Erie locomotive plant’

Retired in Erie

August 4, 2021

The hulk of Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Alco HH 1000 No. 2314 sits outside the GE Erie locomotive assembly plan in the late 1960s. The switcher was a trade-in for other motive power.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

GE Engineer Anthony Dies, Got his Start in Cleveland

August 11, 2020

A prominent civil engineer for the former General Electric Transportation plant in Erie who got his start in the railroad business in Cleveland has died.

Benjamin F. Anthony Jr., 92, died Aug. 4, 2020.

At GE he was one of the company’s locomotive service engineers who rode the first U25B diesel locomotive demonstrators among other locomotives.

Anthony served as senior locomotive application engineer for GE between 1973 and 1993. In that position he worked in locomotive marketing, analyzed railroad operations worldwide and assisting in determining which locomotives were best suited for customer railroads.

After retiring from GE in 1993, He served as a locomotive consultant.
Anthony graduated from John Carroll University in University Heights in 1955 and became a management trainee with the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific.

Prior to that, he worked in summer 1945 as a crew call boy for the Pennsylvania Railroad in Cleveland.

He also spent time as a signalman helper and brakeman on the Nickel Pate Road, worked as a tower operator at Cleveland Union Terminal, and a fireman on the Erie.

After his stint at the Rock Island, Anthony became a locomotive engineer trainee on the Bessemer & Lake Erie and later served as road foreman of engines on Venezuela’s Orinoco Mining Co. iron ore railroad, then a U.S. Steel subsidiary.

Anthony was the subject of a profile in the September 1999 issue of Trains magazine, which labeled him a “Man of Erie.”

Erie Plant Has Picked Up Additional Work

June 4, 2020

It wasn’t that long ago that the General Electric locomotive assembly plant near Erie was in danger of closing it locomotive production lines.

But the facility was acquired a year ago by Wabtec and a report posted this week on the Trains magazine website indicates that business at the 111-year-old plant is picking up.

Work previously done in Boise, Idaho, at the Motive Power Industries plant, now a Wabtec property, has been moved to Erie.

That has included rebuilding of F40PH-2C locomotives used by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority into F40PH-3Cs.

Erie has also picked up the rebuilding of Brookville BL20GH locomotives for Metro-North and the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

That work included replacement of the original prime movers with a Tier 3-compliant QSK50 engine.

Work on the MPI-designed MP54AC locomotive built for commuter rail agencies is also expected to be performed at the Erie plant, which is located in suburban Lawrence Park.

And work is continuing in Erie on GECX 3000, which has been touted as the first all-battery-powered road locomotive.

The unit has been repainted into a Wabtec demonstrator livery and is expected to be tested this fall on BNSF.

Wabtec expects to continue to build foreign export locomotives in Erie with the latest being an order of 100 ES30ACis for Egyptian Railways.

That order is ticketed to be completed this month and shipped during the summer.

Some locomotive modernization work is being done in Erie, including rebuilding of CSX CM44ACs and Ahs.

Wabtec is also doing rebuilding work for Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern but most of that is being done in the former GE locomotive assembly plant in Fort Worth, Texas.

Trade in Power at the GE Erie Locomotive Plant

March 16, 2020

Although public access is limited, railfan photographers have long sought to make images at the General Electric locomotive assembly plant in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Aside from the shiny new locomotives ready to head to their owners you might also see units that has been traded in.

Such was the case with two Great Northern Alco RS3s, a Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Alco FA, and two Rock Island Alco RS3s that were all out in the open on Oct. 2, 1969.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Wabtec Erie Workers to Vote on Contract

June 10, 2019

Union workers at the Wabetec plant in Erie, Pennsylvania, have reached a tentative four-year contract agreement to end a dispute that had triggered a nine-day strike in March.

The pact will considered by members of United Electrical, Machine and Radio Workers of America in a June 12 vote. The union represents 1,700 members in two locals in the Erie area.

The workers are employed at the former General Electric locomotive assembly plant in Lawrence Park.

Since March the two sides have engaged in 90 days of mediated bargaining and two days of working.

News reports indicate that both sides made concessions, but the union won a promise of job security, including Wabtec’s agreement to add 100 jobs by the end of the contract.

Wabtec, based in the Pittsburgh suburb of Wilmerding, agreed to pay existing employees an average of $35 an hour, but demanded that new hires be paid an average of $22 an hour.

Eventually the two sides agreed that new employees would be paid less but rise to the full union wage scale over a 10-year period.

The company also agreed that overtime would be voluntary and not mandatory.

During the negotiations, Wabtec had described Erie as the least competitive of its 80 plants and threatened to move a substantial amount of work out of Erie.

Even before Wabtec acquired the Erie plant earlier this year its previous owner GE had long been shifting work to a newer and non-union plant in Fort Worth, Texas, amid a challenging market for new locomotives.

GE had at one point announced that it would end locomotive production in Erie, although it said it continue to have a ongoing although largely unspecified role.

The new contract, if it’s ratified, will apparently allay the fears that work will be moved away from Erie.

Wabtec has talked about adding new work and making investments in the Erie plant.

Greg Sbrocco, Wabtec’s senior vice president of global operations, described the contract agreement as “a good first step at driving competitiveness at the Erie plant.”

Museum Gets Another GE U Boat

August 16, 2018

The Lake Shore Railway Museum has acquired another historic GE-built locomotive.

This week the museum received a four-axle U36B carrying MCVX reporting marks and the roster number it had when working for CSX (7764).

The museum’s parent organization, the Lake Shore Railway Historical Society said No. 7764 was last with the Firefighters Education and Training Foundation in Massachusetts as a training locomotive for firefighters.

The unit was built in 1970 at GE’s Erie manufacturing facility located in Lawrence Park, Pennsylvania, as Seaboard Coast Line as No. 1776. It was later renumbered 1813.

“The U36B is a very rare GE locomotive model and we are thankful for its inclusion in our collection,” said society President Ray Grabowski Jr. “Its earlier re-purposing as a training unit just enhances Lake Shore’s educational function. Look for it to continue to be used as a teaching tool here soon.”

The North East, Pennsylvania, museum has eight other GE locomotives and one Heisler in its collection.

Fabled EMD LaGrange Plant Facing Closure

February 6, 2018

Another Midwest locomotive factory may be about to build its last unit.

Progress Rail Services is considering closing the famed Electro Motive Diesel plant in LaGrange, Illinois, and shifting its work to a factory in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Some production of engine and locomotive components could be switched to outside suppliers.

“Progress Rail routinely reviews its strategic footprint and, as a result, is evaluating how to use its existing manufacturing space as efficiently as possible to remain a competitive supplier to the rail industry,” said Progress Rail owner Caterpillar in a statement.

Caterpillar has been undertaking a global restructuring that has reduced employment at its many factories.

EMD has a locomotive assembly plant in Muncie, Indiana, and facilities in Brazil and Mexico.

The EMD business traces its history to the 1922 founding in Cleveland by Harold Hamilton and Paul Turner of Electro-Motive Engineering Corporation

It was later renamed Electro-Motive Company and opened a plant in McCook, Illinois.

However, the factory’s mailing address was LaGrange and for decades the facility has been known as “LaGrange.”

It was there that bulldog-nose F series locomotives were created along with other notable locomotive models.

General Motors bought EMC in 1941 and renamed it the Electro-Motive Division of GM.

It was sold to Greenbriar Equity and Berkshire Partners in 2005 and acquired by Progress Rail in 2010.

Last year  General Electric announced plans to shift locomotive assembling from its plant in Lawrence Park, Pennsylvania, near Erie to a newer facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

GE has since said it is seeking to sell its transportation division.

Caterpillar has not said when the LaGrange plant might be closed.

Restored C&O Diesel Arrives at Museum

June 16, 2017

A restored Chespeake & Ohio diesel locomotive painted in the Chessie System livery arrived this week at the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East, Pennsylvania.

The GE-built B30-7 locomotive was donated by CSX and painted into Chessie colors by the locomotive shop in Huntington, West Virginia.

Built at the GE locomotive assembly plant in Erie in 1980 as C&O No. 8272, the locomotive had been retired by CSX in 2009 as No. 5554.

The museum has seven GE-built locomotives in its collection.

Before being moved to the museum, No. 8272 was displayed at the GE complex in Lawrence Park in a private display.

The factory along with the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore assisted in the restoration by providing paint records, logo/lettering information and paint chips.

Chasing a bit of the Green on Norfolk Southern

April 30, 2014


Last Saturday saw me heading to Berea to catch the Southern heritage unit that was leading Norfolk Southern train 22K.

But A CSX train decided to park and block the view so we relocated to the signal bridge at milepost 192 near Eastland Road.

The Southern unit showed up just after we pulled in.  It would stop to refuel at Rockport, so we headed for the prime shot.

I had always intended for Berea to be a tripwire not the main photo location, which turned out to be near Rockefeller Road in downtown Cleveland.

What is normally a quiet spot had some 20 to 30 railfans waiting for the Southern unit.

We had some time to kill and NS ran the 206 around the 22K and then a 145 went west before the main event.

After more than an hour’s wait the 22K showed up. All of these trains had GE power. Hmmm. I detect a pattern here.

My next stop was Painesville at trestle over the Grand River.  We just beat the 206 but not in time for good photos.

That was OK as the 22K showed up about 15 minutes later. We picked up a passenger, new club member Cindy Luther, and drove to Conneaut.

Arriving just ahead of the Southern we got some photos on the bridge over Conneaut Creek.

We continued the chase to North East Pa., and got the 22K one last time.

Next was a quick visit to the Lake Shore Railway Museum. Across the tracks quite a crowd had gathered there as well.

Little Joe 802 and NS 3563 made some nice photos. The 3563 is a B32-8 that is a recent addition to the museum collection, which focuses on GE products.

On our way back we stopped at the GE plant in Lawrence Park just outside Erie. A new Union Pacific heavy Gevo was sitting on the interchange track.

Designated ES44AC-H, it is a specially weighted engine for unit train service.  We also took photos of a new mural on the wall of the GE plant.

One last CSX train with Canadian Pacific GE’s finished out day.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon









Watch for New BNSF, UP Locomotives This Year

January 24, 2014

Be on the lookout for new locomotives wearing the colors of the two western railroad giants, including some units built in Erie, Pa.

Union Pacific and BNSF began taking delivery this week of new locomotives from General Electric and EMD, Trains magazine reported.

The first BNSF ES44C4s arrived in Chicago on Tuesday from GE’s Erie plant. BNSF is slated to receive 275 new GE locomotives in 2014.

Nos. 8010 and 8012-8017 arrived at CSX’s Barr Yard in the morning and were to be moved to BNSF’s Cicero yard for delivery.

Road numbers for the BNSF locomotives will be 8007-8281. GE will produce ES44C4s for BNSF at its Erie and Ft. Worth, Texas, factories.
Union Pacific’s order for 100 EMD SD70AH locomotives are being built at Bombardier Transportation’s Sahagun, Mexico, plant.

Nos. 8824-8826 were recently released. Road numbers for these UP locomotives will be 8824-8923.

UP’s SD70AH locomotives are a heavier version of previous orders for SD70ACe locomotives from EMD, which use a different model name to differentiate them.

The SD70AH units weigh 427,000 pounds whereas a standard SD70ACes weighs 420,000 pounds.

This will be the UP’s second locomotive of units with added weight. In 2013,  ES44ACs Nos. 8052-8111 arrived weighing 432,000 pounds, 17,000 pounds heavier than a normal ES44AC. Union Pacific refers to the heavy GEs as C45AHs.

BNSF and UP have placed orders from both locomotive builders for 2014 delivery, with BNSF set to receive 100 SD70ACes from EMD and Union Pacific scheduled to receive 60 ES44ACs from General Electric.