Three years after opening it’s second locomotive production facility and despite slowdowns in the railroad industry, GE rolled out its 1,000th locomotive built in Fort Worth. GE Manufacturing Solutions, a wholly-owned entity of GE, marked a milestone on Thursday by celebrating the milestone locomotive built at the Fort Worth site. More than 700 employees attended a ceremony commemorating the achievement. “This milestone is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the team here in Fort Worth,” said Richard Simpson, vice president and global supply chain leader, GE Transportation. “In less than four years, this team helped start up the GE Manufacturing Solutions facility and built 1,000 high-quality, competitive locomotives for our customers. ” The 1,000th locomotive is a GE Transportation Evolution Series Tier 4 model for Canadian National Railway. Part of the ecomagination-certified Evolution Series, GE’s new Tier 4 locomotive decreases emissions by more than 70 percent from…
Category: Class 1 Railroads
Railroads will get three more years to implement positive train control (PTC) following the passage of a transportation bill in the House and Senate this week. On Tuesday the House passed short-term legislation for a transportation measure that includes extending the deadline for PTC, a safety requirement designed to prevent train collisions, to Dec. 31, 2018. A day later, the Senate approved the measure, HR 3819, which now goes to the White House for sign-off. The extra time comes through a measure that extends for three weeks the operation of public transit and highway programs while Congress continues work on a long-term authorization bill. Transportation leaders lobbied for an extension of this year’s Dec. 31 PTC deadline that requires railroads to install the safety system across portions of freight and passenger systems. In August the Federal Railroad Administration reported that most railroads would not be compliant by the deadline. Railroads,…
An anticipated record grain harvest is gaining traction among North American farmers but not so much on the rails. As wheat and soybean production surges, shipments on U.S. railroads have been delayed because of backlogs attributed to increased demand for rail cars that some say points to the oilfield. BNSF Railway and Canadian Pacific have reported backlogs of almost 2,400 cars between them, according to published reports. Both railroads maintain that oil shipments have not replaced crop shipments but farmers and shippers are applying pressure in an attempt to get product to market. On Thursday, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board will hold a public hearing in Fargo, ND, where farmers and shippers can voice concern. CP and BNSF representatives are expected to attend. While oil production from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and other U.S. North American oil plays have commanded significant track time, America’s grain belt has been…
BNSF Railway announced in February it is soliciting bids for the construction of 5,000 strengthened “Next Generation” tank cars to haul oil and ethanol. Cars to be built are to exceed the stronger new standards the industry voluntarily adopted in October 2011 for the CPC-1232 jacketed tank car and will add new safety requirements. The tank car body shell and head ends will be built of thicker steel and, will have half-inch thick steel shields on either end to help prevent cracking during an accident. Cars also will have pressure-relief valves that could withstand an ethanol-based fire. BNSF’s plans are a little unusual, because railroads don’t typically own tank cars. “This BNSF tank car RFP represents a significant voluntary commitment that may help accelerate the transition to the Next Generation Tank Car and provide tank car builders a head start on tank car design and production, even as the Department…
BNSF is among three Class I railroads that are looking at using natural gas as an alternative fuel for locomotives. Fort Worth-based BNSF will begin testing a small number of locomotives using liquefied natural gas (LNG) later this year, while Union Pacific and Canadian National are currently doing research. Low natural gas prices are a driving factor. Prices are some of the lowest since booms in 1995 and 2002. Last week, natural gas prices were up slightly to $4.30 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), a stark contrast to 2002 pricing that reached about $19 per MMBtu. Demand and pricing for diesel fuel has risen in recent years in Europe, China, India and the United States, “The use of liquefied natural gas as an alternative fuel is a potential transformational change for our railroad and for our industry,” said the company’s CEO, Matthew K. Rose. “While there are daunting technical…
Conductor trainees can get hands-on experience soon without having to go far from Kansas City Southern’s new training center in Shreveport, LA. The Transportation Engineering and Mechanical Training Center will soon have a trio each of box cars and tank cars, plus five couplers, in a stationary display adjacent to the Center. The next new class of conductors can walk from the TEaM Training Center to the adjacent tracks where multiple trainees can simultaneously get hands-on experience with the cars. Currently, new conductors get field training at the yard in nearby Bossier City. The new interactive displays, constructed in the Shreveport car shop by carmen Larry Kirby and Duane Smith, are expected to be set on track panels soon. Superintendent of Cars Kyle Salter said that the two men were given only pictures of similar displays from another training facility to build the setup in Shreveport. Kirby and Smith each…
July/August 2020 Issue No. 100
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A Time to Build
The covid-19 pandemic is having an indelible effect on model railroading and rail enthusiasm. And modelers, retailers and event promoters are meeting challenges head-on. Our 100th edition of the Cowcatcher has extensive coverage of how the hobby is managing through historic times. For modelers, staying at home has meant building or working on layouts.
Pump up the volume!
Adding sound to any train is easy by outfitting boxcars, hoppers and other rolling stock with Digitrax “sound schemes” decoders. Tom Marsh explains how he fitted an N-scale boxcar with the equipment to give DC-powered trains sound.
Project Layout: The N-scale Whitehurst & Pine Ridge Railroad opens up lower-level staging for better functionality, while incorporating train movements to the top of the layout into operations…
Actor Jackie Gleason’s “Bonnie Brook” Budd-built passenger car charts new territory at a South Texas railroad museum…
Special cargo makes a Schnabel car’s last run before retirement memorable…
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Product News & Review
GRAIN BELT MODELS BINS/CULVERTS
Grain Belt Models, a division of Iowa Scaled Engineering, has introduced a realistic-looking line of galvanized grain bins and culverts. The Cowcatcher reviewed some of the models and placed them on the Northwest Tarrant & Pacific.
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Tracks from Texas to Tokyo
Railroad in Focus