Why do people dislike GE locomotives?

2-8-8-0 Jun 30, 2010

  1. bnsf971

    bnsf971 TrainBoard Member

    Every time I get in the cab of a new model GE, it reminds me of a 1985 Chrysler, all plastic and cheap. They also seem to set themselves on fire more often than EMD products. The latter may just be because there are more of them now than there are EMD's. They pull better than a comparable EMD, but are slower off the line. They are slightly more fuel efficient, which is probably why the bean counters like them, and the "rolling forest fire" aspect aside, they have pretty high unit availability figures (reliable). If you get the chance to ride in one that's been on the road for a few years, you'll notice they seem to have more than their share of squeaks and rattles, generally more so than a comparable EMD.
    I haven't ridden in a GEVO yet, and it will probably be a (very) long time before one gets donated to the local railroad museum. That, and the fact cab ride invites are getting scarce will probably keep me out of the cab of one for a while to make a comparison.
  2. mrlxhelper

    mrlxhelper TrainBoard Member

    Yeah sure they got quiet cabs starting back with the -9 series and yeah you can feel them pulling a little better. Really, when you're the one having to use it to do your job and want to get home a.s.a.p., movement and a quiet cab are two things that make a railroader happy.

    Beyond getting me to and from at work, I DON'T like GE as a locomotive builder. As you all know they are not just a locomotive builder, they make jet engines,wind mills, light bulbs, toasters, washers/dryers, every other kitchen appliance, and a wide range of medical devices. Jack of all trades, master of nothing. Yeah yeah I know I've forgotten several other things they got their hands in, like GE CAPITAL FINANCE. We've seen it in action in the rail industry, I can only imagine how they use it elsewhere.

    One railroads next step to having a bunch of SD70 series units was to sign the papers. Overnight in came GE and "we'll finance your order on the spot and undercut the competition and ourselves". And so, the Southern Pacific wound up with a bunch of flame throwing trash 9's. On the bright side they did get a few 70's, took a little longer to finance and yeah, EMD can't build as fast but at least they weren't shooting flames and burning the paint off.

    How come SP's 70's were always out in California?...Oh yeah, emissions. In 2005 maybe 06 (I don't have the papers but remember them well) the AAR pulled random units for testing, GP's, SD's, Dash _, SD70ACe and a ES44 GEVO. In notch 8 the Gevo burned 11 gallons/hr (that's alot) MORE than the SD70ACe, not to mention it was around a hundred or so HP short of the advertised 4400HP. If you noticed in their advertising of the new Evolution units, it was about this time when something changed. "The most fuel efficient locomotive ever built" became "The most fuel efficient locomotive ever built (*)" *=when compared to previous GE locomotives.

    Some humor now. GE locomotive advertising, who are they trying to sell their "clean" locomotives to on TV? I can't afford one, wouldn't buy it if I could. All the railroad know who they are.
    So, why this?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQjQxMVz9P4

    Why not just have the typical stereotype foamer (you know the 400lb fat guy) all oiled up rolling around on the nose of the engine, that would bring on a full vomit inducing cringe. Dear GE, hear is some advice. Jessica Simpson sings that same song, much better, why not have her singing and parading around your junk? That might actually draw my attention and not make me cringe.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2010
  3. 2-8-8-0

    2-8-8-0 TrainBoard Member


    Nice to get a railroader's perspective! I only know one person who works for a railroad personally (he works for NS) and he says he likes the -9, but says his favorite is the SD-60, yet he dislikes the SD60M. His opinion of the SD70 is "meh, it gets you there." I suppose, if you work for NS, you kind of HAVE to make your peace with the -9...odds are youll be in one all the time.

    I know I spend a lot of time watching trains, all over Ohio, and havent ever seen the flame throwing. I did see a -8 with a cloud of smoke coming out of it, so the only loco I have seen doing something like this was, yes, a GE one. I dont know what it was, someone told me a turbocharger problem makes them do that?

    I appreciate a very honest answer, and the reasons you listed are actually good ones. Are they dependable? Ive heard their dynamics are fantastic, is that true? Do they have air conditioning? How do they compare to the SD-70 as far as adhesion?What causes the stack fires, anyway? Ive heard it was due to carbon buildup because of incomplete fuel combustion at idle (which would explain their poorer emissions ratings too) but i am not sure of this. These things matter too I would think, and I would like to know, if you get a chance.

    As far as GEs business practices, I certainly find them no more (or less) odious than, say, U.P.s or GMs. I dont need to deal with them. I certainly wouldnt expect GE to have any less heavy handed of business practice than any other industry in this country (ohhh, how about Microsoft) but oddly, we accept that.

    And as far as looks, if any of you wants locomotives you do not like the looks of on your model railroads, be my guest. If I think its ugly (unless its cute ugly, like the BL2) I wont buy one. I like how it looks, and Kato ones shouldnt (god I hope!) have the exhaust fires...

    Thanks folks, this is getting very interesting! Amanda
  4. Rossford Yard

    Rossford Yard TrainBoard Member

    As a modeler and railfan, I love GE's. I loved the look of the C30-7 more than almost any other diesel. I even liked the toaster B36-7 and 8's. That is in part because we used to see mostly EMD's, which had lesser styling IMHO and GE's provided the variety that Alco and others used to.

    My proto info is second hand from railroaders, but some have told me that the EMD pull better, are more reliable and last longer. Your really don't see as many GE C-30-7 on the road as some their EMD contemporaries, like the SD40-2 and GP 40, etc. Heck, we still see first generation EMD. (til the current recession)

    But, GE has always sold them cheaper, and has made strides, which trumps the other advantages of EMD in many sales.
  5. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

    Well I prefer 1st gen EMD, especially SP. Uboats too except for the U25 for some odd reason. Winged GEs are neat though. The best is SP AC4400CWs. They just look powerful like a muscle car. UP and BNSF paint just doesn't do them justice but NS works especially on the standard cab units. Conrail humpbacked -8s are cool too. :)

    Oh and catching a GE flameout at night is awesome!!! :D
  6. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    A fwe things.

    On Financing. GE's model is to sell the unit cheap and gouge you on the Maintanence. EMD Sells the unit for more, but the maintanence is cheap. So pick your poison.

    Also, I've talked with some people "in the know" and on the Trash 9 vs. SD70, the Dash 9 produces more particulate than the EMD unit and is thus dirtier. GEVO vs. ACe, the Fuel economy is relatively close though I've heard EMD is the leader though it probably wouldn't sway orders.
  7. VinceMaddux

    VinceMaddux TrainBoard Member

    I have to say when I saw my first CSX Wide Nose GE unit I thought it was the coolest thing ever. It was such a big change from SDs and GPs that I have seen. Now I see them all the time and I can't tell a dash 9 from and GEVO, it all looks the same to me.
    But I have to give GE credit when they did the P42 series, it looked like nothing ever seen on America rails.
  8. doofus

    doofus TrainBoard Supporter

    If you taped a pint carton of milk to the control stand of a GE, you would have a pint of butter when you got to the other end of the road! [​IMG]
  9. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

    I always considered the post 1970 GE locos as merely being ALCo's in disguise.
  10. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

    You mean something like this?

    Well, I for one, have nothing against them! They are great locomotives and it is a shame that Kato can not get the headlights correct or the cab shape. But it can be made right with a little work!

    I have several just like this one, and if I weren't fixated on NS SD80's right now, I would see about getting a dozen more Dash 9's for the conversion.

    So nothing but affection from me for the GE units.
  11. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

    I really like GE 44-tonners and all the other center-cab switchers.
  12. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

    Why do people think people dislike GE locomotives? o_O
  13. mrlxhelper

    mrlxhelper TrainBoard Member

    Another thing GE does have over EMD, and I hope it changes soon with CAT coming in, is they have a better traction control system, or a least it seems to be. I don't have much experience with the 70MAC's, I hear they're the same but the ACe's seem to have too much torque in the traction motors for their own good. Without a really good traction control system that surplus torque turns into wheel slip. Another thing that doesn't help with this problem is the sissy weight restrictions most roads have anymore. I like CSX for that...Pile the weight on!!!
    MRL and CSX I believe have the heaviest ACe's built, at least domesticly. Still, on the MRL units it doesn't seem to be enough to help the wheel slip issue on the helpers. Cut in the middle of coal and grain trains going up Bozeman pass at 13mph they sometimes have a hard time finding their footing, and if its raining...oh boy. It is amazing how much sand helps though.

    I'd really like to know how well the SD80MAC's perform if any one knows. I've heard those are the perfect modern locomotive. They hold the rail pretty well with their high HP and size, plus their perfomance and availability has made them NS's #2 engine behind their rebuilt GP38-2's.

    One other thing, MRL's ACe's have thee best dynamics I've ever experienced and I've been told they're beefier than any other unit out there. If they're within good operating range, about 10-30mph, on a loaded coal or grain they'll dig in and do thier thing.
  14. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

    Crank the A/C, do you get ice cream?! He, he!:teeth:

    ATSFCLIFF TrainBoard Member

    Speaking as a modeler I like GE locos. I like the early U30C, C30-7 and the later C44-9W, they gave variety in body styles.

    Attached Files:

  16. TetsuUma

    TetsuUma TrainBoard Member

    1. La Grange is on the triple track between Aurora and Chicago. GE is wherever it is.
    2. I like round fuel tanks.
    3. When the CB&Q finally got GE units, they merged into BN. (I know it wasn't right away but it's my post and I'll blame GE for anything I want.) [​IMG]
    4. I'm not an Alco fan by any means but I really think what GE did to Alco was pretty low.
    5. I like first gen diesels and oh yea - GE doesn't really have any first gen diesels. (Early U-Boats don't count).
    6. I live by the old Southern line through Northern VA I'm sick of seeing GE units everywhere on NS.

    GE 44 and 70 tonners are excluded. GE was (and continues to be) able to deliver units faster (not necessarily better) and when the railroads needed ponies quickly, they turned to GE.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2010
  17. bnsf971

    bnsf971 TrainBoard Member

    My personal opinion (worth what you're paying for it) is GE has redesigned their prime mover, and are now trying to force a 12 cylinder engine to do the work of a 16 cylinder. That didn't work out so good for them when they tried it before, and maybe it's still not working so well. Remember the U23 and C30-7A models?
  18. 2-8-8-0

    2-8-8-0 TrainBoard Member

    Very nicely done! Do you have a thread or anything showing how you did the light move?
  19. CarlH

    CarlH TrainBoard Member

    It's easy to dislike whoever is #1. I wonder if Alco diesels would get the romantic appeal they get today if Alco had overtaken EMD to become #1, and if their quirky burbling and smoke characteristics were not the features of a fallen producer whose products are hard to find today, but instead were seen everywhere and were now symbols of Alco's domination.
  20. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    TO be fair though, GE as a corporate entity has made some major changes in the way they do business. Especially from an environmental perspective. They are owning up to their Superfund sites as it were.

    GE's are built in Erie Pennsylvania. LaGrange(Really McCook) may be on the Race Track, but the Locos are built in Canada.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2010

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