Why do people dislike GE locomotives?

2-8-8-0 Jun 30, 2010

  1. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

    Let's becareful about posting political comments about companies here as TrainBoard does not have the time/$$$ to deal with legal issues that we can face from companies that can potentially take actions against us for allowing them to be posted.

    :tb-nerd: :tb-nerd: :tb-nerd: :tb-nerd:​
  2. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    I agree, my comment on GE's environmental record...is a matter of public record and a matter of their marketing department. I would not say anything about the politics of the matter, only that they themselves have changed what they themselves say about these issues.
  3. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

    Based on what I see (which is in no way a scientific or exact observation, just casual spotting and though my camera lens), GEs seem to dominate on this part of the UP (ex-MKT main thru Muskogee), especially on the coal trains. ALso, on the manifest freights when AC4400Ws or GEVOS are used in DPU and head-end power. Meanwhile, EMDs are THE local and switching power, and are mostly GP38-2s.

    Model railroaders and railfans have one perspective of GE diesels, and the folks who actually operate them have another. We modelers and railfans base our like & dislikes on appearance, numbers, paint scheme, whatever favorite motive power they replaced, etc., while the people who run 'em base their opinions on performance- how it loads up, pulls tonnage, wheel slip, annoying flame-throwing, etc. The two camps are pretty much mutually exclusive of each other, and I respect that. I don't give a rat's fuzzy rear end for the opinions of the manufacturers' policies, since policies don't pull freight. Locomotives are machines, and are used by railroads to move tonnage from point A to point B. It can look like a bad dream, but if it does what it's supposed to do, and is relatively easy to maintain & repair, that's all that matters- and the devil take the sales personnel and bean-counters. They don't work on the trains- the people in the cab do.

    Personally, I miss seeing SD40-2s in such high number, such as what BN and UP used to run. But that's just me. Nowadays we have GE and EMD, and GE has the lead in the marketplace.
  4. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    As I've hinted around at, I think what I mainly miss is the sights and sounds of 70s-90s railroading more than any specific loco. Huge SP Manifests with 10 locos some mid train, ATSF 991/199 high speed TOFC service.

    Strings of BN green and black.

    C&NW with the nose bell. It's not the units themselves, but the experiences that I miss.

    You can still catch flashes of this. Up on Donner Pass, the fact that it was UP didn't completely destroy it for me.
    Portland & Western keeps SP's Oregon lines alive.

    It's as much about place and time as anything. GE, because they're number 1 represent the disruptive influence. and they weren't there in the old days. At least EMD has been around since the beginning of Dieselization.
  5. TetsuUma

    TetsuUma TrainBoard Member

    I know but it will always be La Grange in my heart. :love: All the EMD units I really like were built at La Grange.
  6. Geared Steam

    Geared Steam Permanently dispatched

    Is your vehicle painted orange and black?

    Do you have a Milwaukee Road logo on your back window of your car/truck?

    Is it at the proper 34.6 degree angle?

    Do you have Ken's personal phone # for those Milwaukee Road research emergencies?

    If you know that Denton is on the way to Great Falls, then yes, you got it bad.


    Now, back the those GE Diesels..........
  7. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

    I was thinking more the maroon, orange, and gray scheme.

    Not yet.

    Duly noted.

    I don't have Ken's personal phone number, but we exchange quite a few PMs. I know that Denton is getting ready for an appearance at a well-known upcoming convention, and he and I just spoke last night via email about undercarriage details.

    So, yeah, I guess I am "sick," but if this is a sickness I want it to be chronic.:tb-wink:

  8. 2-8-8-0

    2-8-8-0 TrainBoard Member

    I miss seeing NS' high nose SD40s on the locals (now, it seems to usually have a -9) and I do miss the variety, but with hordes of GP-38s running around still, SD40s on occasion, SD 60s and 70s, C44-9s, there is still enough of a mix to keep me interested.

    I do have to admit, UPs AC4400s are pretty too. though SPs -9s were just gorgeous...when they were clean.

    Wish there were more than 4 big US roads nowadays...I think i miss the different paint jobs the most.

    MOPMAN TrainBoard Member

    That's the reason I quit rail-fanning. They are all boring. Now on occasion I will visit the KCS (number 5 in my mind) to check out the retro Belles. I haven't seen a "ghost" in quite a while but I still see those NS dash 9s on the Atlanta/Dallas train.

    I'm still stuck in the 70s when ATSF, MP, Frisco, SP/Cotton Belt were the norm and you weren't hassled by Johnny Law while watching trains. In fact I spent many a night in the Santa Fe yard tower gabbing with the third trick yard master till sun up. Those were the days.
  10. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    The trick is to railfan in a place where the paint on the locos doesn't catch your eye.

    Donner, Feather River, Columbia Gorge, Moffat, Tehachapi, Cascades (Washington to California all roads) Mullen.

    The paint scheme loses its significance.
  11. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    This is true, but EMD was(very little of it left nowadays)in McCook IL. Not all that close to the "Racetrack". The LaGrange thing comes from the Post Office address that EMD used as its corporate address. Mc Cook is just east and a bit south of the main portion of La Grange itself. Actually the plant was closer to the ATSF main line! Reynolds Metals had a huge plant in McCook at one time. I believe that is gone as well. Don't get to that area as much as I used to years ago.

    Friscobob has a pretty "on target" post about EMD v. GE. I ran, and rode in both EMD and GE locos. The SD-40-2's that the BN had were really pulling monsters but in later years they leaked and rattled in every seam and you really needed the earplugs. It required a strong constitution to ride them in wintertime as they were impossible to keep warm.

    The high HP locos of both makers are slow loaders, but then again the controls are electronically governed and that is done on purpose to avoid damage from varied train handling practices by as many varied engineers among other reasons. The cabs in the newer units are air-conditioned,not so much for crew comfort as it is to keep the I.C.E eletronics cooled! In spite of what the carriers publicly state, crew comfort and safety are not all that high on the carriers specs for motive power. I personally liked the U-boats!
    We would get them from the "coal" divisions to run off their last miles in the midwest before the scrapper. They had bathrooms that a fully grown man could stand straight up in! The U-boats were horrendously slow loaders, but that was ideal for pulling heavy coal trains.

    EMDs will blow out fuel thru the stack and start induction fires when they are working hard.
    So will GEs. EMD was the #1 builder due to their marketing practices. GE's are stlll basically ALCOs, but built solely by GE!

  12. 2-8-8-0

    2-8-8-0 TrainBoard Member

    I got to spend about 3 hours in the Columbia Gorge watching UP when I was in Portland in 2007; a trip that was sadly far too short, and ended with me coming back here. I gotta think Heaven looks an awful lot like that.

    Thanks. You have helped me solve my "locale and prototype" problem=)

    So...how tall are Douglas and Noble firs in N scale...!

  13. mrlxhelper

    mrlxhelper TrainBoard Member

    Carbon build up typically happens to almost all units that are left idling for long periods of time. The results of that are best seen at night, when the unit thats been sitting is finally used, a flurry of orange sparks will erupt from the exhaust.
    You'd see this more often on local power and geeps that were left running over the weekend or something like that. Nowadays this has become a more rare sight as engines are being equiped with auto shut down devices or crews are instructed to shut the power down.

    Stack fires on GE's can be caused by several factors or a combination of.

    Most often when you see one running very poorly and starting to do the flame thing (random flickers) and billowing smoke it might be the unit has low water, low oil or both. I know it sounds weird for such a simple solution, but let the unit cool down some and add water or oil and the problem might go away.

    If the above isn't the problem, there's a good chance it's probably a fuel injector problem. A sustained flame, sometimes more prominent in certain throttles is usually a sign of bad injector(s). Too much fuel enters the cylinder and some doesn't burn, it gets super heated going through the engine and ignites when it hits oxygen at or near the stack.

    There's probably a handful of other reasons this happens but those are probably the two most common.
  14. 2-8-8-0

    2-8-8-0 TrainBoard Member

    Ok, thanks! Makes sense.
  15. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    I thought blown turbos was also a big reason for the more distructive ones (not the running fires but the bam and she's done fires.)

    You see pictures of units that clearly have fire damage on the hoods. I THOUGHT that was blown turbos.
  16. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

    For me it's just that, Mopar vs all other manufacturers. I'm a die hard Chrysler fan and a die hard EMD locomotive fan. I have always owned a Dodge and always will. I run nothing but EMD locomotives and always will and nothing else.

    On another twist of the subject, research the history of Rio Grande. They have always owned EMD mainline locmotives. GE always tried to get Rio Grande to buy from them. GE thought they had a garranteed sale from Rio Grande after the EMD GP-35 disaster, those locomotives did not work out very well, but EMD saved the deal giving full garranteed trade ins on SD40-2. My favorite EMD are all 12 wheel drive units, SD-9, SD40-2 and SD-70MAC, The SD-70ACe is a bullet proof locomotive with a great prime mover engine.

    Since how you brought up Norfolk Southern, they came up with SD-40E locomotive. They took 2 EMD locomotives and made one model out of it. They took the EMD SD-50 which had a good strong chassis, trucks, electrical system but it had a prime mover engine that got poor fule mileage and was high maintenance. Then They took old worn out SD40-2 locomotives which had one of the best prime mover engines for a SD model and rebuilt it and then stuffed it into the SD-50. Some other mods were made also. Then Norfolk Southern renamed this model the SD-40E. There were 25 of these built by NS and they will be used as helper units in Altoone, PA. When I talk to NS about the EMD SD units they really liked the old SD40-2 locomotives. NS was on hand with a new SD-40E to show off at Conrail Days in Strasburg, PA. You can view pictures of the new SD-40E in my photo album under the heading Conrail Days, the link to my album is in my signature.
  17. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

    Hey, I'm from NW Pennsylvania, about 60 miles from Erie, and let me tell you, this is GE country. They are a MAJOR economic influence up here. The crankshafts are made six miles from me, the engines over at Grove City. GE is the biggest employer in the third largest city in Pennsylvania, that sums it up. I've been through the assembly plant many times, and it is an impressive, impressive place.

    You can criticize a lot of things, but if you want to root for the home team, you can certainly, and unapologetically, root for GE. This is the story of a US company that got there the hard way, playing #3, then #2, now #1. They continue to be a major, major technological leader and have to compete in a hard world market, using well-paid union labor. We cheer locally every time a big locomotive order is announced, we feel it right here in our town, and louder when a big export order is announced.

    Do I wish they'd come up with something, anything, a little more stylish? Yeah, particularly the first time I saw a P40 up on the test track. Good God... And the basic "Evo" is hard to distinguish from anything else, at least for me. But in an era where it seems like everthing is coming from China, they're still sending stuff TO China.

    Go GE!
  18. mrlxhelper

    mrlxhelper TrainBoard Member

    Heck YEAH!!!!!!!:thumbs_up::thumbs_up::thumbs_up: to all of that.
  19. mrlxhelper

    mrlxhelper TrainBoard Member

    Yeah sometimes, turbo failure on most units now will shut them down. I'm not saying in all cases, but some there may not have been a fire but alot of heat damage to the paint. Others are so sevely paint damaged it had to be a fire, those are the kind that don't come out the stack.
  20. 2-8-8-0

    2-8-8-0 TrainBoard Member

    I try and find the good in any car, or locomotive, or whatever, they all have their merits...and flaws.

    I had a Dodge ramcharger for a long time, and I really liked it. It hit 280k miles before I sold it. I would buy another one. But I wouldnt discount another make simply on account of that one. ATM I own a GMC pickup (also, like the dodge, quite old) and at 230k miles, is still running strong. Both fulfilled my needs quite well, and I would say both were well built; different, yes, but well made.

    I suppose some of us find more flaws (or merits!) in one than another, and hey, thats great...if everyone preferred one or the other, there wouldnt be an EMD and a GE...there would only be one or the other!

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