General Electric's railroad locomotive plant in Fort Worth is on a roll.
Just months after receiving an order for 200 locomotives from Canadian National Railway — a contract that ensures the Fort Worth plant will have plenty of jobs for at least the next three years — GE this week announced the company had secured another order for 50 locomotives from Kansas City Southern.
“This purchase will help us continue the modernization of our locomotive fleet and position KCS for future expanded volumes.” said Jeffrey Songer, KCS executive vice president and chief operating officer.
The order is for GE's Tier 4 locomotive, its most advanced model, which features a 70 percent emissions reduction compared to previous models.
The locomotives will be build at the Fort Worth plant, known as GE Manufacturing Solutions, near Texas Motor Speedway.
The work will begin this year and the first units are scheduled to be delivered to KCS beginning next year.
"This agreement will expand our relationship with KCS, drive operational efficiency across their system, and further meet the needs of their future growth,” said Rafael Santana, GE Transportation president and chief executive officer. “Our leading Tier 4 locomotives will give KCS the productivity and reliability needed to move and grow with its customers.”
Kansas City Southern will use the locomotives for both its U.S. and Mexico rail subsidiaries.
After railroads endured a lull in traffic in recent years, North American freight volume increased roughly 5 percent in 2017, and is expected to continued to grow in 2018.
KCS is a transportation holding company in the U.S. and Mexico, and a 50 percent owner of Panama Canal Railway Co.
GE Transportation is headquartered in Chicago, and has about 9,000 employees worldwide.
GE's traditional locomotive plant is in Erie, Pa., but in recent years the company has shifted much of its work to the newer Fort Worth plant which opened in 2013.
GE, the conglomerate and United States industrial giant that traces its roots to Thomas Edison, has agreed to merge its railroad business with Wabtec, in an $11 billion deal first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Wabtec is based in Wilmerding, Pa.
The move is part of GE chief executive John Flannery's effort to streamline the company. Wabtec is formally known as Westinghouse Air Brakes Technologies Corp., and is known for manufacturing railroad equipment.
The GE plant is currently hiring, spokesman Tim Bader said.
This report includes information from the Star-Telegram archives.