Posts Tagged ‘GE Transportation’

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.”

Trip Optimizer Surpasses 500M Miles

July 29, 2020

Wabtec recently said that its Trip Optimizer energy management system recently surpassed 500 million miles in operation.

The Pittsburgh-based company describes Trip Optimizer as a “smart cruise control system for trains” that was put into service in 2009

In a news release, Wabtec said Trip Optimizer, features “situational awareness that accounts for terrain, train make-up and speed restrictions to calculate an optimum speed plan, automatically controlling locomotive throttle and dynamic brakes according to that plan for optimal fuel utilization and emission reduction.”

The system is now operating on more than 11,000 locomotives globally and Wabtec said it has saved 400 million gallons of fuel, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 500,000 tons per year.

That is the same as taking 100,000 cars off the road.

Trip Optimizer was originally developed by GE Transportation, which Wabtec acquired in February 2019.

Wabtec Looking Overseas for Business Growth

November 5, 2019

Locomotive builder Wabtec said falling rail freight traffic has had an adverse effect on its business but the company remains optimistic about other rail-oriented aspects of its portfolio.

Pittsburgh-based Wabtec acquired GE Transportation last February and has committed to keeping open its locomotive assembly plant near Erie, Pennsylvania.

Among the factors affecting the locomotive business is railroads using fewer locomotives as they adopt the precision scheduled railroading operating model of running fewer and longer trains.

That has led Class 1 carriers to sideline large numbers of their locomotives.

However, Wabtec CEO Rafael Santana said his company has seen gains in the market for locomotive parts, multiyear service agreements and international markets.

Two-third of Wabtec locomotive manufacturing is now oriented toward railroads in India and Southeast Asia.

In 2020, Wabtec expects half of its revenue from its former GE Transportation operations will come from international markets.

“Across our international installed base, we continue to see strong opportunities for growth, including regions like India, where we will be delivering over 100 locomotives this year as part of our 1,000-locomotive contract,” he said during a third quarter earnings call.

Santana said a new 6,000-hp WDG-6G locomotive for India is in testing and is expected to soon be in revenue service.

The international market is also yielding a substantial international business in locomotive upgrades.

If U.S. freight traffic were to uptick in 2020, Santana said that might not be enough to help Wabtec.

He said that even if there were modest increases of 1 percent to percent in domestic freight business next year, there is a lag time before new locomotive orders began arriving.

With so many U.S. carriers storing locomotives, they could be expected to tap the storage fleet before looking to buy new units.

Another bright spot for Wabtec is transit cars.

“Aging [transit] fleets across Europe and U.S. need to be upgraded, presenting unique opportunities for growth,” Santana said. “And increased growth and infrastructure spending in emerging economies, like India, is driving tremendous growth opportunities for our business.”

Wabtec’s overall third-quarter 2019 sales were $2 billion with about $1.3 billion from the locomotive segment and about $700 million from the transit segment.

Overall corporate net income for the quarter was $90 million.

Erie Locomotive Plant to Get Additional Work

September 19, 2019

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.

GE Continues Rebuilding Locomotives in Erie

October 19, 2018

Although the future of the GE Transportation locomotive assembly plant in Erie, Pennsylvania, remains murky, the facility continues to rebuild and test locomotives.

This week Canadian Pacific AC4400CW No. 8200 was seen on the test track being evaluated.

It is the first of 30 AC4400CWs to begin testing after being rebuilt at the plant in Lawrence Park.

The units are known as AC44CWMs and are nearly identical to other rebuilt CP locomotives in the 8000 and 8100 series.

The 8200 series, though, features software and other minor changes. The rebuilding of the CP locomotives is expected to be completed in the coming months.

Wabtec Continues to Acquire GE Transportation

September 18, 2018

Wabtec Corporation on Monday told the Securities and Exchange Commission that it is making progress in its efforts to acquire GE Transportation.

The SEC filing said the transaction is expected to be completed by early 2019.

“The company continues to make progress in its planned merger with GE Transportation, including today the successful execution and settlement of $500 million of three-year Floating Rate Notes and $2 billion of five-year and 10-year Senior Notes to fund a majority of the cash requirements for the transaction,” Wabtec said in the filing.

Wabtec announced last May its plans to acquire GE Transportation, which manufactures railroad locomotives and marine equipment.

GE Transportation has a locomotive assembly plant in Erie, Pennsylvania, and two engine plants in Grove City, Pennsylvania.

Wabtec is based in the Pittsburgh suburb of Wilmerding.

The combined company will have around $8 billion in revenue, according to Wabtec.

CN Orders 60 More Locomotives From GE

September 6, 2018

Canadian National has ordered another 60 new locomotives from GE Transportation. That will bring the carrier’s order of new units to 260.

CN ordered 200 new locomotives last December with all of the units to be built in Fort Worth, Texas, and coming with a multiyear service agreement.

The locomotives include Tier 4 Evolution Series locomotives, which are equipped with GE’s GoLINC Platform, Trip Optimizer System and Distributed Power LOCOTROL eXpanded Architecture, GE officials said.

In upping its locomotive  order, CN cited traffic growth this year, with North American rail volume up 3.5 percent so far this year.

CN Begins Receiving New Locomotives

June 7, 2018

Canadian National took delivery this week of the first of 200 new locomotives that it ordered from GE Transportation.

The units, which are being built at an assembly plant in Fort Worth, Texas, are the first of 200 new locomotives that CN ordered and were the largest locomotive contract by a Class I with any manufacturer since 2014.

The order includes Tier 3- and Tier 4-compliant Evolution Series locomotives equipped with GE Transportation’s GoLINC platform, Trip Optimizer™ system and Distributed Power LOCOTROL® system.

CN’s contract with GE also includes a locomotive training package and guarantees for reliability, fuel consumption and out-of-service intervals related to GE-prescribed field modifications.

GE Transportation, Wabtec to Merge

May 21, 2018

Wabtec has agreed to acquire GE Transportation in a transaction valued at $11.1 billion, which includes a $1.1 billion net tax benefit.

The merger will make GE Transportation a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wabtec, which is headquartered in Wilmerding, Pennsylvania.

Wabtec will become a Fortune 500 company with revenues of more than $8 billion. The combined company is expected to have 27,000 employees.

It is not clear what effect the merger will have on the Erie locomotive assembly plant where production of new locomotives is winding down as the facility transitions to an as-yet unspecified new role.

A spokesman for the union that represents workers at the facility in Lawrence Park expressed hope that Wabtec would reverse that decision.

GE Transportation also has engine plants in Grove City, Pennsylvania.

Wabtec, which got its start as Westinghouse Air Brake and is now formally known as Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corporation, will become a major player in the global railway equipment and services market with operations in more than 50 countries.

General Electric and Wabtec said in a statement on Monday that they expect synergies of around $250 million by 2022.

The merged company will operate as Wabtec and more than 23,000 locomotives in its global installed base and components on virtually all North American locomotives and freight cars.

GE is to receive at the closing of the deal $2.9 billion in cash for a 9.9 percent stake in the new company, while its shareholders will receive a 50.1 percent stake. Wabtec shareholders will hold the remaining 49.9 percent stake.

Wabtec Chairman Albert Neupaver will be the executive chairman of the merged company with Raymond Betler serving as president and CEO.

The company will have its headquarters in Wilmerding, which is a Pittsburgh suburb. GE Transportation is currently headquartered in Chicago.

GE Transportation President Rafael Santana will become president and CEO of Wabtec’s freight division, which will be based in Chicago.

Wabtec Chief Operating Officer Stephane Rambaud-Measson will become president and CEO of Wabtec’s transit segment, which is based in Paris.

GE will designate for nomination three independent board members.

The locomotive assembly business is prone to cyclical swings, but GE Transportation’s earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation is expected to grow from about $750 million this year to between $900 million and $1 billion in 2019.

The company has a backlog of about $18 billion including about 1,800 new locomotives and another 1,000 units to be rebuilt and upgraded.

In the past two quarters, GE Transportation has received orders worth $3.6 billion.

The merger is not expected to be completed until early 2019 and is subject to approval by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

GE Transportation spokeswoman Deia Campanelli said the GE Transportation name is expected to continue in some fashion, but those details have not been worked out.

Scott Slawson, president of Local 506 of the United Electrical, Radio and Machines Workers of America, which represents about 1,500 employees at the GE Transportation plant in Erie, told the Erie Times-News that there remain many matters for the union to work through between the time the deal closes and when the union’s contract expires in June 2019.

“If Wabtec is going to be a new employer to us, there are a lot of benefits to employees that we currently have with GE,” he said. “We have to bargain those things away from GE and make sure everyone gets what is in the contract. There is never anything easy. It means a lot of work. You have to be on your toes.”

However, Slawson said he is trying to see the merger as a positive. “At this point we have no reason to look at this any differently.”

GE Transportation said in summer 2017 that it planned to phase out production of new locomotives in Erie by the end of 2018.

The company has a newer and non-union assembly plant in Fort Worth, Texas, that is expected to continue building new locomotives.

“I think a fresh set of eyes might look at things differently,” Slawson said. “Mistakes are made. Hopefully our new employer is willing to listen.”

Slawson told Trains magazine that perhaps a Pennsylvania-based company might be willing to return some work to the Erie plant.

Raymond E. Grabowski, the president of the Lake Shore Historical Society in North East, Pennsylvania, said his group’s museum might be able to incorporate into its exhibits the technological advances made by Wabtec.

“One day, we hope we can look back and tell future generations that these too were proudly developed and made in Erie.,” he told Trains.

Wabtec Reported Interested in GE Transportation

April 24, 2018

Wabtec Corporation is said to be talking with General Electric about buying GE Transportation.

Bloomberg News said the potential transaction size is $6.8 billion.

GE would not acknowledge the talks, saying only that it was “evaluating a range of strategic options for our business and do not comment on rumors or speculation.”

Wabtec also did not respond to a request for comment.

Railway Age quoted Cowen and Company analyst Matt Elkott as saying the $6.8 billion figure is is too high “given what we see as Wabtec’s enviably strong position at the negotiating table.”

Last year reports surfaced that GE was looking to sell its transportation division. However, a more recent report in the Wall Street Journal said GE might want to keep control of the transportation division in some manner.

“GE Transportation would likely be too large for many private equity investors,” Elkott told Railway Age. “Alternatively, a spin-off of a locomotive business into public equity markets may not be well-received by investors, in our opinion.

“The rail equipment industry can be brutally cyclical, and companies operating within the space tend to target a high degree of diversification.”

Elkott said GE Transportation might be better suited as a potentially synergistic addition to an existing diversified platform such as Wabtec’s but it cannot be ruled out that it would be acquired by a large investment conglomerate or international entity.

Wabtec, which is based in suburban Pittsburgh, is valued at $8 billion.

GE Transportation has a locomotive assembly plant in Lawrence Park, Pennsylvania, near Erie and two locomotive engine plants in Grove City, Pennsylvania.