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GE to Expand Locomotive, Mining Equipment Plants

$231 million for new R&D, capital equipment at Erie, Penn., Fort Worth, Tex.

Citing “rising demand for products and exports” of its locomotives and mining equipment, GE Transportation is launching a $231-million capital-improvement program for plants in Pennsylvania and Texas.

For its Erie, Penn., locomotive plant, GE outlined a $58-millon project for new research and testing cells, facilities improvements, and equipment to reduce engine emissions and improve fuel efficiency of its locomotives, marine engines, and stationary power units. The testing cells are intended to develop a new locomotive design that will meet the U.S. EPA’s emerging Tier 4 emissions standards (taking effect in 2015.)

Also at Erie, GE will invest $38 million to increase capacity and modernize machining, equipment, and tooling producing locomotives, mining truck drive systems, and other transportation products. Another $40 million is earmarked for plant upgrades and site beautification at the Erie plant.

GE said the Erie plant has been in operation for over a century but it is operating at it peak production level. It plans to hire up to 360 new employees there by the end of this year, and another 200 or so to fill positions left open by upcoming early retirements related to a new union contract for workers at Erie.

In response to rising demand for mining equipment, GE Transportation also plans to build a $95-million, 236,000-ft2 plant to produce and assemble AC motorized wheels for off-highway vehicles. It will be built adjacent to its new manufacturing operation in Fort Worth, Tex., complementing the mining equipment operations in Erie. Production will launch in mid-2012 with approximately 130 new employees.

Tina Donikowski, v.p. of Propulsion Systems and Services at GE Transportation, said, “One of GE Transportation’s strengths is our ability to adapt to changing markets and expand capabilities. We have stepped up production of mining equipment, drill motors, and other products. We expect to grow in these industries by providing leading technology and reliable products to our global customer base in the decades to come.”

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