By Railfan & Railroad Staff
OMAHA — Union Pacific announced this week that it would have Wabtec rebuild 600 General Electric locomotives over the next three years as part of a $1 billion deal. The rebuilds, similar to ones Wabtec has done for Norfolk Southern, are expected to be more fuel efficient and dramatically reduce emissions, a major goal for the railroad in recent years.
UP officials said that 525 AC4400 and AC6000 locomotives plus 75 Dash 9s will be subject to the rebuild program, with the first ones rolling out of Wabtec’s facility starting next year. The entire rebuild is expected to be complete by 2025. UP hailed the deal as the largest-ever investment in locomotive modernization in railroad history.
“Union Pacific is taking thoughtful, deliberate steps to reduce our environmental impact and to help our partners improve theirs,” said UP Chairman Lance Fritz. “Wabtec’s modernization program helps make our existing fleet more fuel efficient, capable and reliable. The resulting increased tractive power enables us to move more freight with fewer locomotives, which improves efficiency and reduces emissions.”
While orders for new locomotives are down, the number of locomotives being rebuilt is on the rise. The modernizations of UP’s fleet will extend the locomotives’ lives, increase reliability by 80 percent, increase haulage ability by 55 percent and increase fuel efficiency by 18 percent.
“Modernizations are a game changer for our customers, offering the ability to realize significantly more value out of existing locomotive assets,” said Rafael Santana, president and CEO of Wabtec.