The future of GE Transportation's Fort Worth plant got a little brighter this week with the announcement that CN, the Canadian National Railway Company, placed an order for 200 new locomotives over the next three years. Production on the CN order begins in 2018. It's the largest motive power order by any Class 1 railroad since 2014, according to GE.
This comes at a time when railroad orders for new locomotives has been soft. GE orders for the first nine months of 2017 were down 39%, according to filings. GE employs about 400 workers at the North Fort Worth facility.
In a prepared statement Rafael Santana, CEO of GE Transportation said that "CN's steadfast commitment to serving the expanding needs of its customers across Canada and the United States is helping to turn around the North American locomotive market. We are proud to partner with CN on this agreement to meet the needs of their future growth, and optimize and further digitize their freight rail operations."
The order includes Tier 4 and Tier 3 Evolution Series locomotives. They will be equipped with GE Transportation’s GoLINC Platform, Trip Optimizer System and Distributed Power LOCOTROL eXpanded Architecture, which all help to make the trains more effective and efficient, according to GE. GE announced earlier this year that it plans to sell off $20 billion worth of corporate assets. Locomotive manufacturing is one of the GE companies on the spin-off list, according to reports. Canadian National's rail network spans some 20,000 miles across Canada and through the spine of Mid-America. The railroad carries over $250 billion in goods across their line each year. In a news release the President and CEO of CN, Luc Jobin, indicated that "we are bullish on the North American economy and on our ability to compete and win new business with our superior service model. We are proud to continue our partnership with GE Transportation."