GE vs. EMD Locomotives

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rail_watcher
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GE vs. EMD Locomotives

Unread post by rail_watcher »

I've recently discovered Virtual Railfan channel on YouTube and have been very intrigued watching different rail lines throughout the USA. One thing I am noticing is that there seems to be twice as many GE locomotives being used in comparison to the EMD's. Are the GE's cheaper than the EMD's? Are they more crew friendly? On a personal note, this is very disappointing to me, because I love the looks of the SD70ACe's over the GE's. Just curious, thanks!

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SD80MAC
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Re: GE vs. EMD Locomotives

Unread post by SD80MAC »

GE's are cheaper and come with a better maintenance package. In recent years they have also proven to be more reliable than EMDs.
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AARR
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Re: GE vs. EMD Locomotives

Unread post by AARR »

Said perfectly.

Would you say that the SD40-2 was EMD's last superior engine to whatever GE was offering at the time?
SD80MAC wrote:
Thu Sep 30, 2021 11:50 am
GE's are cheaper and come with a better maintenance package. In recent years they have also proven to be more reliable than EMDs.
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SD80MAC
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Re: GE vs. EMD Locomotives

Unread post by SD80MAC »

Yes and no. The problem was the SD50, which happened to be so bad, that was available around the same time as GE’s Dash, which was the best locomotive GE had ever built at that point. EMD’s SD60 series, while much better than the SD50, still wasn’t as good as GE’s Dash 8 and Dash 9. The SD70 line was pretty much just as good as the competing GEs, but by then GE had already established itself as #1.
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EWRice
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Re: GE vs. EMD Locomotives

Unread post by EWRice »

In regards to the SD50, what was the bigger issue; asking too much of the 645 prime mover or the new electrical systems?

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SD80MAC
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Re: GE vs. EMD Locomotives

Unread post by SD80MAC »

EWRice wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 8:43 pm
In regards to the SD50, what was the bigger issue; asking too much of the 645 prime mover or the new electrical systems?
It was a combination of both. 3,500 HP was too much to ask of the 16-645 engine, though over time those issues were finally ironed out. The other issue was electrically they were more complex and subsequently less reliable than the SD40-2. SD50s also debuted "Super Series" wheel slip which used a radar to detect to and control wheel slip, which worked about as well as it sounded. The SD50s also suffered from bad vibration at certain RPMs, too.

That being said, most of the issues with the SD50s (and GP50s) were eventually corrected, but by that point EMD's reputation had taken a beating. Conrail enjoyed high reliability from their SD50s, and CSX did as well. Eventually, CSX derated all of their SD50s (both their original and ex CR units) to 3000 HP "SD50-2s". Norfolk Southern rebuilt 58 of their SD50s into 3000 HP SD40Es, essentially just bigger SD40-2s.
"Remember, 4 mph is a couple, 5's a collision!"
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