Posts Tagged ‘General Electric locomotives’

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.”

GEs for an EL Monday

May 11, 2020

The late Mike Ondecker caught General Electric demonstrators 304 and 303 leading an eastbound Erie Lackawanna freight through Akron in mid-1968.

Note the two trailers on flatcar in the consist behind the motive power.

In recent years intermodal shipments largely moved in dedicated trains, but with precision scheduled railroading dominating operations at most Class 1 railroads such sights as this, which used to be common, are coming back into vogue.

Nos. 303 and 304 were built in June 1966 as U30B models, but were later converted into U36B units when they were transformed to 3,600 horsepower.

After being downgraded back to 3,000 horsepower, the units were sold to the Western Pacific where they had roster numbers 770 and 771.

Photograph by Mike Ondecker

GE May Get Out of Locomotive Business

October 27, 2017

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that General Electric is considering getting out of the business of building locomotives.

The newspaper cited unnamed sources as saying GE is considering a move to “partner, spin off, or possibly sell” GE Transportation.

GE has declined to comment on the report. Aside from building locomotives, GE Transportation also makes heavy-duty diesel engines and mining equipment.

Headquartered in Chicago, GE Transportation has locomotive assembly plants in Fort Worth, Texas; and Erie, Pennsylvania, the latter of which has been making locomotives and parts since 1911. GE also has an engine plant in Grove City, Pennsylvania.

The discussion about GE selling its transportation division comes amid disappointing third quarter earnings and a plan to cut $20 billion in businesses over the next two years.

GE Transportation Likely to Take a Hit

October 21, 2017

GE Transportation may be among the business units of General Electric that will see an aggregate $20 billion worth of businesses cut from the GE’s portfolio within the next two years.

The Wall Street Journal reported that third quarter earnings statements from the locomotive and jet engine maker will reduce the company’s cash-flow outlook by $5 billion  to $7 billion.

GE managers have slashed $1.2 billion in costs from business units so far this year, surpassing the original $1 billion goal.

Earlier this year, GE Transportation said it will move locomotive production from its Erie Assembly plant in Lawrence Park, Pennsylvania, to a newer plant in Fort Worth, Texas, by the end of 2018.

The Erie plant will remain open producing parts and working on unspecified non-locomotive projects.

GE CEO John Flannery has ordered a review of every business unit and business practice, including expensive annual retreats to Florida and the company’s fleet of executive jets, both of which have been reduced.

GE to Cease Making Locomotives in Erie

July 28, 2017

GE Transportation said this week that it would end locomotive production at its Erie assembly plant by late 2018.

The company said that the design and develop center at the plant will remain open. The plant will also make prototypes and spare parts. Approximately 575 workers will lose their jobs.

The announcement cited downturns in freight traffic and a global market for locomotives. Locomotive production once done in Erie will be consolidated in an assembly plant in Fort Worth, Texas, which opened in 2013.

Opened in 1910, the Erie plant, which is located in Lawrence Park township, once employed 2,000. The workforce has been steadily reduced in recent years.

Aside from the Erie plant being old, it was also more costly to operate.

The Erie Times-News reported that the average salary of a production worker in Erie is more than $30 per hour where new hires at the Fort Worth plant are paid about $17 per hour.

The Erie plant was unionized but the Texas plant is not.

Earlier this year, GE Transportation CEO Jamie Miller said the the company would focus on the global new locomotive market.

In the past year GE has landed an order for 1,000 locomotives to be built for Indiana and 133 for South Africa.

In North America, GE is going to emphasis re-manufacturing older locomotives and upgrading the technology on those units to monitor performance.

Orders for new locomotives in North America have all but vanished with Class 1 railroads mothballing more than 4,000 locomotives in response to a freight recession that began in 2015 and management practices that are seeking to move tonnage in fewer trains.

General Electric itself has been in turmoil in the past few months with CEO Jeffrey Immelt stepping down an activist hedge fund pushing GE management to step up its cost cutting.

GE said earlier this year it would reduce expenses by $2 billion over the next two years.

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.