• Canadian GE units

  • Discussion of General Electric locomotive technology. Current official information can be found here: www.getransportation.com.
Discussion of General Electric locomotive technology. Current official information can be found here: www.getransportation.com.

Moderators: AMTK84, MEC407

  by Engineer Spike
Why did GE never build units for the Canadian market before recently? I know that they still had MLW/Alco for many more years. I would think that GE would have had a facility in Canada just like GM has GMD.
  by LCJ
Didn't GE purchase the MLW facility several years ago?

I don't know why they were not in the Canadian/Canadien market. I mean, they sold locomotives everywhere else in the world. I guess Canada is strict about not importing, but rather manufacturing within borders (as GM had done in a very big way).
  by D.Carleton
Canada had very strict laws regarding locomotive manufacturing and use in the dominion. Someone else can clarify this but if a US made locomotive spent more than a few hours on Canadian soil a tariff had to be paid. Ergo, many US manufactures set up licenses with Canadian firms (ALCO with MLW, FM with CLC) or incorporated their own company (GMD). US railroads with branches in Canada purchased locomotives from these firms for captive service north of the border. GE did not pursue this option probably due to the longevity of MLW production and the knowledge that locomotive manufacturing can’t handle more than two companies.

In late 1988 Bombardier sold MLW to GE giving GE their first foothold in Canada. In 1994 NAFTA removed the locomotive restrictions rendering the former MLW shops superfluous.

  by missthealcos
GE did try to interest CDN railways with demonstrators at times, and never seemed to impress anyone here. It has alot to do with 'thriftyness" for lack of a better word...CN and CP were quite content at one time to make things run forever, CP skipping entirely over any type of "3rd generation" power, and CN having only the SD50F/SD60F. Alco powered products were not regarded that same way here as in the US, and therefore lasted much longer. Even now, I believe(on good authority in some cases), the only reason for the swing to GE in recent years, has more to do with the warranty than anything else. Also, the fact that 3rd generation GM products never really had raving reviews, even in the US in many cases....when it came time to supplement/replace the SD40-2's, especiallly in CP's case, who weren't exactly thrilled with their last GM purchase, were in the mood to try something new.

  by Ol' Loco Guy
There was always some "local content" on the GE supplied portions of MLW locomotives. The GE plant that supplied the equipment was in Petersborough, ONT.

  by hogger1647
I am new to this forum but I have been in the railroad business locomotive operation officer and maintenance on many railroades for 53 years now and I am still working. I see some people don't know GE locomotives. Yes GE had a bad time starting with the U25b and c but now
I'll put a GE against any EMD sd70m. I see someone stated EMD builds locomotives and GE makes toasters. Well I don't agree at all with that comment never will. I read The Short line magazine a few months ago where someone (I will not mention the name but he is active in this forum) made a lot of bad comments about GE locomotives. I called the publisher of that magazine that I would stop my subscription if I ever see comments like this again. The comments were unfounded totally I have run dash 9 and ac6000 in heavy grade territory and I find them to be very reliable and the dynamic brakes are supburb. I wish people would be fair when making comments about GE locomotives. They have changes totally
Hogger :D

  by hogger1647
I forgot to mention. The canadiens did not buy GE locomotives because of the dry radiator cooling system GE could not guarantee radiator freezing in the cold Canadien winters GE has fixed this problem and both CN and CP now have a lot of GE locomotives.

  by EDM5970
Geeps have the radiators above the expansion tank, wouldn't that have caused a potential freezing problem? Yet GMDD was selling lots of Geeps to the Canadian roads. Also the RDCs (very popular in Canada) had their radiators all the way at the top of the carbody. Not to question anyone with half a century of experience, but there had to be a lot more involved with this than the cooling system.

I do admit that Geeps have shutters, while the GEs had thermostatic valves that distributed the coolant to more radiator sections as the engine got hotter. Was the lack of shutters the problem?

Mu gut feeling says the resistance to GE was political; MLW stayed in the picture until much later then Alco, and the MLWs were a Canadian product after all.

The attitude in one of the posts reminds me of that old New England line-

"Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

  by hogger1647
Yes the radiators are above on the roof of a GE loco but here is where there is a big diffrence. On EMD locos there is always water in the radiators on GE's there isn't,until the water heats. On old GE's there were flow valves then the wobble plate that put water into the radiators when called for.Then the water would drain out totally but locomotives with the flow valves some times the water would not drain out fast enough and it would freeze in the radiators. Remember the fan is always running in the U series as long as the engine is running. There is no shutters on a GE locomotive. So in the Canadien weather at 30 to 50 below, GE's would not be guaranteed to freeze up.
So GE as usual fixed the problem on the dash series the cooling fan is 2 speed electric motor operated and can be reversed if needed (to clean leaves off the screen) I have done it a few times.at the end of the core of the radiator is a drip spout on each core to make sure it drains out and the water going into the radiators is better controlled today I noticed many times the water temperature always stays the same. See if you get this on a EMD loco. It is better to run the water temp at a constant temp . less contraction and expansion. Look at the water glass on a GE it is huge compared to EMD as the water goes into the radiators the water drops in the GE glass I have heard Engineers report this fact to the train dispatcher as a problem WHERE IS HIS TRAINING?? As the FRA says it is non existant on the UP. I agree totally. I have met some engineers that don't know how to make a class one brake test.....THE RAILROADS ARE IN REAL TROUBLE with all the kids running trains......YES MOST ARE INTELLEGENT AND CAN LEARN BUT THE RAILROADS DON'T WANT TO SPEND MONEY ON TRAINING.
So we see wrecks and wrecks. I am glad I am partly retired.
  by Gregory Kats (tramrunner)
in July 2004, I saw a lot of GE Diesel-Electric Units between Niagara Falls, ON and Toronto, ON.

I rode on Amtrak. IN canada, Amtrak retains the same composition as in USA. ALl the way, I was pulled by GE Engine.
  by SD Shortline
I think that GE's are more attractive to RR management. The C44-9W's are cheaper than the SD70M, or at least were. GE's are less attractive to crews the computer says has a little more input than the hogger.

SD70M's on the other hand seem to be more attractive to crews. Most have control stands or at least guages that don't fritz out as possible with the screens (as on EMD's too). Especially the newest the SD70ACe, with a stand as standard equipment. Rumor has it it has a cup-holder.

I think EMD listens to the operator input better than GE. It seems RR wise the UP listens to train service crew better than BNSF. UP=SD70M, BNSF=C44-9W. GE has some decent units out there or otherwise they would not be around.

It also seems that EMD's hold up better(cheaper) after being used and abused. There aren't many U-boats trudging along, but look at the GP/SD9 still earning there keep on the BNSF. Rebuilt SD40's abound as well. In 20yrs it'll be neat to see whether the C44-9W or the SD70's end life as yard goats.

I miss the C30-7's on coal trains...