It’s not every day that a railfan gets to visit the place where mighty railroad locomotives are born (forged of steel and bound together by lots and lots of welding)… Recently, however, I got an invite to tour GE’s new locomotive manufacturing facility in Fort Worth, Texas. Right now they’re producing the Evolution Series Tier 3 locomotive (ES44C4) for BNSF, and I got an up close and personal view of the process from start to finish. The entire locomotive creation process takes about 60 days, and the facility had various locomotives in all stages of that process. Every week six locomotives are completed… six gleaming, shiny powerhouses…
My invite to GE Manufacturing Solutions came with their #GEInstaWalk program – which opens some of GE’s state-of-the-art facilities to Instagram photographers and fans. This was the third InstaWalk to be held, the first being at GE Aviation’s jet engine testing facility in Peebles, OH, and the second was to see the two GE wind turbines at the Cape Cod Air Force Facility in Massachusetts. Each event was a unique opportunity for the attendees to get a VIP experience “behind-the-scenes” of some amazing technology.
Our day-long tour of the Texas facility introduced us to many of the fine GE employees that make their locomotives, all of whom seemed legitimately interested in what we were doing, and were proud to show us their part of the elaborate process of creating a massive locomotive. Throughout the day we shared some of the things we observed on our Instagram accounts. Lots of photos were taken, though only a fraction of that made it to Instagram. What didn’t make it there, you’ll find here… this is my collection of photos from the day, and how a locomotive comes to life.
It is nice to see manufacturers improve their plant and facilities, however, this comes at the cost of the jobs of most of the employees at the old Erie, PA facility. This as the new Tier IV federal emission regulations have put the brakes on new locomotive production, it could not have come at a worse timing for PA or the northeast railroads.
I will no longer be able to see shiny new locomotives on my way home from Chicago :(
Ge is now laying off half of the hourly people at the Fort Worth plant
Can the public come and take a tour of the train plant? I have a 5 year old boy who is OBSESSED with trains and we are interested if it’s still open to the public. Thank you!