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Not Sure

Member Since 01 Jul 2013
Offline Last Active Today, 10:07 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: TEX Rail project

06 November 2017 - 04:55 PM

The most recent video update includes delivery footage of the railcar:


In Topic: FW Chamber: Promote GE move to FW

31 October 2017 - 12:55 PM

The Fort Worth plant was built specifically to shutter the Erie plant, despite assurances from GE that wouldn't happen. For domestic locomotive production I suspect Fort Worth will be it for some time going forward. Export production will occur at foreign plants as they come online.

When the plant first opened there was a rush by BNSF in particular to acquire as many Tier III locomotives as possible before the Tier IV mandate went into effect. Locomotives from both Erie and Fort Worth were delivered in the first couple years. As the plant made its transition to the Tier IV locomotive, BNSF purchased several early production units prior to the Tier IV mandate. This allowed BNSF to take delivery of the 4200 series Tier III units later on, which are known as Tier IV credit units.

I'm not part of the mechanical department - I only operate the locomotives - so I couldn't tell you what the advantage of Tier III vs. Tier IV locomotives are. They run about the same as far as I can tell.

At the time the plant opened, railroads were surging from record volume lows in 2009 and 2010. BNSF like many others needed to bring a lot of stored power online to accomodate the increased traffic. Locomotives being returned to service from long term storage often have problems and require major overhaul. A good number of the locomotives BNSF had stored were later sold or returned to the lessor which put BNSF in a good position to replace those older less efficient locomotives with new models. It also didn't hurt to have Berkshire Hathaway behind BNSF in a capital expenditure kind of mood. This is why if you drove by the GE plant in 2013-2016 you almost always saw new BNSF locomotives. If you saw other railroad's locomotives, they were often outnumbered by BNSF.

Lately the plant has been transitioning to offer rebuilding services of older GE products in addition to building new locomotives. In my opinion, this is a brilliant strategy since many locomotive components have a long life (frame, trucks, engine) while others need to be replaced more frequently. The GE plant seems to be able to handle a variety of locomotive cores based on the traffic BNSF shuttles to and from the plant.

Business for the railroad seems to come in waves. Right now some business units are trending downward while others are trending upward. Even in a period of steady volume there exists a need to replace older locomotives. GE has improved its product so much over, let's say 1980s models, that a lot of these older locomotives are still going strong. I still see locomotives in road service from before the merger of 1995, for example. Many of these are candidates for rebuilding rather than outright replacement, which again puts GE Fort Worth in a good position to capture this business. Being able to extend the life of older products through rebuilding and creating new products at the same facility is a huge advantage, especially for the largest locomotive manufacturer.

The point I want to drive home is the Fort Worth plant is not an outpost for a fledgling manufacturer. This is the new model for the preeminent locomotive manufacturer. Is the business of building locomotives different from building automobiles, for example? Yes, in particular the waxing and waning of production volume to suit market demand. If GE's locomotive business were shut down tomorrow a massive void would exist and no other manufacturer is in a position to fill it, even during this time of steady volume without pressure for additional motive power.

GE may be motivated to shed non-core businesses (IMO GE is a manufacturer first and foremost so I don't think of the locomotive and mining divisions as non-core), the Fort Worth plant could be sold. If that comes to pass, I hope the plant is sold quickly to a buyer with vision enough to continue the engineering and manufacturing legacy GE has built over many decades.

In Topic: FW Chamber: Promote GE move to FW

30 October 2017 - 09:00 AM

No way will it be shut down. GE is the primary supplier of Tier IV compliant locomotives in the US. By primary I mean the vast majority of compliant locomotives are built by GE. The other major builder has only just begun to produce Tier IV compliant locomotives. In the locomotive business in North America there is GE, Progress Rail and a handful of small outfits. GE and Progress Rail account for almost all new locomotives sales in North America.

Whether GE owns the locomotive division going forward or not doesn't matter much. Someone will buy it.

In Topic: TEX Rail project

08 October 2017 - 11:38 PM

What rename doesn't seem to get is that those of us along the route outside Fort Worth (NRH, Grapevine) aren't interested in paying our share for trains that pass us by.

 Yes, I remember the outcries when DART Express Bus #205, 206,208,210,211,278,282,283 and the more publicized MAX (Arlington) routes were implemented and the DART riders telling DART that they aren't interested in paying for a bus that passed them by.

What does this have to with the price of tea in China? I've lived in NRH for the past 15 years. I've never lived in a DART member city. I care about public transit in my area. More to the point, as a citizen, I am paying in part for public transit in my area. This is the first and only route and transit option for NRH. Comparing it to any of the myriad services DART offers is disingenuous. I'm not the one here cherry picking things to get offended by.

Hasn't this express nonsense you're spouting run its course? I don't understand how the extra ten people - which I'm assuming is you and nine others - who would ride a train from downtown to the airport because it's an express train vs. a train you would not ride because it stops along the way (and picks up the people in Northside, Beach, NRH and Grapevine who might also like a ride to the airport at the same time) negate the needs of every other stakeholder along the route. It's been demonstrated upthread not only how much more expensive it is to serve these "elite riders" who would demand an express train but also how negligible the time savings would be that I cannot imagine it would be worth it to everyone getting the bill. How many times a week do you fly out of DFW? Is it always at the same time? If not will you call to get the express train rescheduled for the day?

I'm not the guy who says, "hey, these scraps are all we are going to get, let's not complain," but instead of trying to do better with this system right now, I'll be happy it's done at all in light of the long wait (I remember coming out of the hospital in Grapevine one day to tour the Colorado Railcar DMU that came through in 2003, back when this system was to be up and running a few short years later). I have lived in this particular town and in this particular part of town specifically to utilize this long-promised service when it finally becomes available. I've paid a lot of property and sales taxes along the way knowing this was coming. I'm ecstatic there is real tangible progress being made. Once it gets going and a real need is demonstrated for additional services I'm all for revisiting schedules and frequency. Throwing cold water on the project over a lack of express service is ridiculous, if I'm being kind here. I think it's a silly tangent to the discussion.

By the way, is Courier font supposed to represent sarcasm on this forum?

In Topic: TEX Rail project

08 October 2017 - 07:41 PM

What rename doesn't seem to get is that those of us along the route outside Fort Worth (NRH, Grapevine) aren't interested in paying our share for trains that pass us by.