After opening new headquarters, Wabtec looks ahead

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Wabtec is building a new 12-cylinder diesel engine at this plant in Grove City, Pa.
Dan Zukowski

PITTSBURGH — Eight months after the merger of Wabtec and GE Transportation, executives attending the recent opening of the company’s new headquarters in Pittsburgh, many of whom are former General Electric employees, told Trains News Wire that the integration of the two teams was proceeding smoothly.

The opening of the headquarters coincides with Wabtec's 150th-anniversary celebration [See "Wabtec celebrates 150th anniversary, opens new Pittsburgh headquarters," Trains News Wire, Oct. 15, 2019.]

Business conditions are mixed, with strong global markets offsetting some weakness in North America.

Nalin Jain, group president of freight equipment, says that the North American market is “a little soft right now for us,” due to trade issues, declining coal traffic and the operational efficiencies created by Precision Scheduled Railroading.

Internationally, however, Jain says there is “a ton of activity, which is driven by growth, fleet renewals, as well as some new markets that we are getting into.” Strongest regions include Australia and Southeast Asia, along with Russia, Kazakhstan and other former Soviet republics now known as the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Included in that is a 300-unit order from Kazakhstan’s national railway for switching locomotives which will use Wabtec’s new 12-cylinder, 2,500-hp high-speed diesel engine. The engine meets both European Union and International Union of Railways emissions standards.

The powerplant is manufactured at a former GE plant in Grove City, Pa., about an hour north of Pittsburgh.

Jain also sees Wabtec’s new battery-electric locomotive, currently being built in Erie, as promising new development.

Dominique Malenfant, global technology officer, says that while they are currently focused on the freight market for that project, it could have applications in commuter rail as well. He adds that there are many areas of technology the company is pursuing, including energy management, increased diesel-engine fuel efficiency and automation.

“We believe that the value we bring to our railroad customers is really around technology differentiation,” Malenfant says.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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