New Orders Stoke the Fortunes at GE Transportation Fort Worth Locomotive Plant

GE said it secured orders for 225 refurbished locomotives from several unidentified railroads, giving a boost to its 3-year-old modernization program.

GE

With new orders boosting its business and casting aside an uncertain future, you might consider the GE Transportation plant in Fort Worth as the 1 million-square-foot locomotive engine factory that could.

GE announced this week that it secured orders for 225 refurbished locomotives from several unidentified railroads this year.

“Our modernization program allows our customers the ability to extract more value out of their asset by bringing  performance to the latest standards, and repurposing them to reflect changed strategies.”

Pascal Schweitzer

The company also will deliver 80 modernized locomotives to Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. and 100 to Norfolk Southern Corp. In addition to the modernized locomotives, in December, Canadian National Railway announced it would buy 200 new locomotives from GE Transportation over the next three years.

The modernization work will be done at the 500-employee Fort Worth plant — the world’s largest locomotive modernization facility — that sits on 71 acres not far from Texas Motor Speedway. The facility opened in 2013.

The Dallas Business Journal reported that the increase in business will be translate into an increase in hiring at the plant to handle the additional work under GE’s modernization program.

“Our modernization program allows our customers the ability to extract more value out of their asset by bringing performance to the latest standards, and repurposing them to reflect changed strategies,” Pascal Schweitzer, GE’s vice president global services, told Railway Age. 

Schweitzer said that the company is “customizing solutions for our customers and installing state-of-the-art technology. No two locomotives are the same.”

GE TRANSPORTATION PLANT HAD FACED UNCERTAIN FUTURE

The modernization program began in 2015 after a market downturn caused railway companies to slow their purchases of new locomotives.

The recent boom in business comes just months after the future of the plant seemed uncertain.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported in November that GE’s CEO John Flannery, had confirmed rumors that the company intended to sell or spin off its locomotive division as part of a broader strategy to unload $20 billion in assets.

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