Re: Locomotive Builders
Date: January 30, 2018 06:48PM
GE's locomotive business will almost certainly be bought by somebody. The fact that they're actually shipping Tier-4 locomotives that don't use Diesel Exhaust Fluid (SCR emission control) is a huge plus for US railroads. Unfortunately for current business, US railroads loaded up on Tier-3 locomotives before Tier-4 went into effects, and with current business being a relatively light there's a lot of recent power stored. So neither GE nor EMD (Progressive Rail/Cat) is selling much heavy-haul at the moment, and a good chunk of what they *are* selling is export not domestic.
It's quite a turnaround from only a few years ago, when GE was building as fast as they could and pretty much owned the business. My guess is that they still pretty much own the business, but there just isn't much business, so with a short-term orientation at the top of the company the rail divisions are ripe for disposal.
Diesels are still being built in the US, but as you point out some of them are built by non-US companies (like Siemens) - they do use US engines (Cummins for Siemens) though. Others are built by smaller, specialty makers (Brookfield, NRE, etc.) or are special runs (EMD's F125, sold at a stupid high price to only one railroad: LA Metrolink). Other than GE, nobody is currently selling locomotives without SCR/DEF-based emission control. Absent orders from Amtrak, I don't see GE or EMD getting back into the large, general-use passenger diesel business; though if they did I would see GE as being very competitive for long-haul stuff because they don't use DEF for emission control. You don't build a big business on occasional (every 30 years or so) passenger orders, though.