Friday, February 15, 2019

How Wabtec/GE Locomotives are made

Since I have notes about Progressive Rail(Caterpillar)/EMD locomotive manufacturing, it is only fair that I write some notes about GE locomotives. Especially since I came across a couple of videos that do the heavy lifting for me.

GE was able to make a locomotive that met the Tier 4 deadline. EMD is making a Tier 4 locomotive, but I recently read that UP is putting most of the 100 units it bought into storage because of electrical problems.

GE Transportation was recently merged with Wabtec in a $11.1 billion deal. Wabtec is the current name for the Westinghouse operation that invented air brakes. They have expanded into other railroad technologies such as PTC (Positive Train Control) equipment.

Maria Ko
[I didn't realize the wheel flanges were so small.]
GE's original plant was in Erie, PA. I don't know if this is the facility that Alco used when they built locomotives. I've learned they build their engines in Grove City, PA. They also moved a lot of the locomotive production from Erie to a million sq. ft. facility in Fort Worth, TX (16 photos). In fact, for a while they were talking about closing Erie. At least they kept the production in the USA. I don't know what combination of cheap land, cheaper taxes, and union busting prompted the move. There is no point reading articles about the move because no one is going to honestly say "we moved to bust the unions," if that was the case.

(new window)

(new window) I can't believe they didn't hand the "bubbly gal" a torque wrench to finish installing the the "oh wow" oil pressure sensor. Letting the public think that finger tight is OK hurts my brain. I really miss the WWII produced videos that had a professional narrator behind the scenes focused on providing information. (I still haven't figured out if one guy did many films back in the 1940s, or if several guys did "the narrator voice." Some of the GE videos also had Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame. So they are not sexist. Sometimes they include a "bubbly guy.")

2/22/2019: Union Workers 'send message' to Wabtec with 'practice picket' demonstration outside GE plant
McCracken says while workers are frustrated with wages, worker control over scheduling has been a major factor, too. According to a press release sent by the U.E. union rep, Wabtec’s proposal includes mandatory overtime.

1 comment:

  1. While deleting a bunch of spam comments, I inadvertently deleted a relevant comment on this post. The comment indicated that the motive for Fort Worth was union busting. Erie is a union shop, but Fort Worth is not. The new management is trying to gut the current contract so the union is bracing for a strike. The company has had production problems in Fort Worth because the turnover is high. If I remember correctly, the comment said that the pay was low in Fort Worth.