Posts Tagged ‘New locomotive deliveries’

Market for New Locomotives Has Gone Soft

April 10, 2016

They look good, perform well and garner a lot of favorable publicity. But during a time when freight traffic is down, environmentally friendly locomotives are having a tough time finding buyers.

An analysis by Railway Age of Tier 4 compliant locomotives compared them with DOT-117 hazmat tank cars.

Both are well suited to achieve desirable goals, but those are not necessarily the most pressing or immediate goals of the railroad industry.

train image2Tier 4 refers to emission standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Although the railroad industry has embraced Tier 4, it doesn’t have enough Tier 4 compliant locomotives to pull its trains.

The railroad industry remains profitable and is outwardly optimistic about its future.

But month after month of reports from the Association of American Railroads show freight traffic in decline, particularly the coal business.

Some freight business has remained stable or achieved some growth, but that hasn’t been enough to offset the large losses resulting from falling coal traffic.

Those are not the conditions that are likely to lead to railroads wanting to buy new locomotives or tank cars.

Another falling commodity has been crude oil and the number of available tank cars exceeds the demand for them.

Likewise, Class 1 railroads have many locomotives in cold storage.

“Two years ago, every serviceable locomotive was reactivated,” said Oliver Wyman’s Jason Kuehn at Rail Equipment Finance 2016 in an interview with Railway Age. “Now, 15 percent or more of the road locomotive fleet is in storage. The price spread between natural gas and diesel has choked off interest in LNG and CNG-fueled locomotives. And Tier 4 emissions levels are so strict that they’ve halted the virtuous cycle supporting locomotive replacement. We’ve gone from the perfect storm to a dead calm in two short years.”

Railway Age reported that some locomotive builders and leasers are looking to the export market for business.

Progress Rail/EMD, GE Transportation, National Railway Equipment, MotivePower, Railserve, RJ Corman, Brookville Equipment, Knoxville Locomotive Works and Republic Locomotive are among the companies that have sent represents traveling to such places as China, India, Russia and South Africa in search of sales.

As a result of the soft U.S. market for locomotives, Railway Age said that you won’t find this year a builder offering something new and/or innovative.

Nonetheless, the companies are seeking to do what they can with what they have to serve what markets exist and to prepare for what they hope will be better times ahead.

That means tinkering with existing products and seeking to use technological advances to tweak them.

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.

Expect to See Fewer GE Deliveries in NE Ohio

March 27, 2013

Northeast Ohio railfans have long enjoyed watching new locomotive deliveries pass through the area after being released by the General Electric manufacturing plant in Erie, Pa.

But now sightings of those deliveries to Union Pacific and BNSF will become less frequent following the opening of a new locomotive factory in Fort Worth, Texas.

The first new locomotives built at the Texas plant were recently released and sent on their way.

The Fort Worth facility is building some of the 175 ES44C4s ordered by BNSF.
The locomotives were assembled in Texas using components sent from various sources. GE plans to eventually build its own components in-house.

Of the 175 units that BNSF ordered, 100 will be built in Ft. Worth with 75 being assembled in Erie. These numbers could change, depending on the new factories performance. Road numbers for the order will be BNSF Nos. 6508-6599 and No. 7100-7182.