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Digest: Progress Rail ends manufacturing at La Grange, Ill., plant

By | April 1, 2021

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Progress Rail closes La Grange engine plant

Progress Rail logoProgress Rail has closed its La Grange, Ill., engine facility, ending manufacturing at a site that had been part of locomotive production since EMD broke ground for its main plant there in 1935. Progress, which announced plans to close the plant in 2018, said it anticipated the transition of engine manufacturing and assembly to Winston-Salem, N.C.; electrical locker manufacturing and assembly to Muncie, Ind.; and other work to outside suppliers, would be complete March 31. “This decision to consolidate allows Progress Rail to use manufacturing space as efficiently as possible and remain a competitive supplier to the rail industry,” Progess said in a statement. “The company continues to maintain the LaGrange office for engineering and administrative support roles, which are not impacted by this consolidation.

Broken rail caused 2019 derailment of CN grain train in Alberta

A broken rail led to derailment of a Canadian National train at Chipman, Alberta, in September 2019, but investigation was unable to determine why the rail broke, according to a report issued Wednesday by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. The derailment occurred about 4:05 a.m. on Sept. 29, 2019, in Chipman, about 49 miles east of Edmonton, with 18 cars — cars 69 to 86 of a westbound 100-car grain train — derailing. No injuries occurred. The report indicates that most of the cars ended up in a jackknifed position, consistent with sudden, catastrophic rail failure, and video from an eastbound train which had previously passed through the location showed a track anomaly.

Missouri legislative committee approves budget calling for Amtrak cuts

The Missouri House of Representatives’ budget committee has approved a budget that would cut the state-supported Missouri River Runner passenger service between St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo., from two daily round trips to one. The Missourian reports the budget calls for $9.85 million for passenger service, while two daily round trips would cost at least $12.65 million. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the train had operated twice daily and carried more than 170,000 passengers a year. It is currently operating just one round trip because of pandemic-related service reductions.

7 thoughts on “Digest: Progress Rail ends manufacturing at La Grange, Ill., plant

  1. I took the opportunity to visit LaGrange during one of their open houses back in the mid to late 90’s. Happy I had the opportunity given the closure. I went with a buddy who was a mechanical engineer and it made the tour all that more interesting. He works in aerospace and I recall he was unimpressed everytime one of the LaGrange employees would discuss the tight tolerances they machined particular components. Needless to say tight tolerances are defined differently by the aerospace and rail industries. It was an interesting place, though even twenty five years ago the age of facility was really starting to show.

  2. I went when they had their 100th million horsepower open house in mid or late 70’s, that was an awesome event, thousands of people and families there. I also went for 75th anniversary. At that time you could really see it was a different place and not for the better either. I believe that was 2010. How things change.

  3. I was there twice as a Mechanical Department management trainer for Conrail in ’79 and ’80. It was a fantastic place to be able to see. They also had a great HO scale model railroad complete with a few U-Boats that didn’t work.

  4. Amazing that one suburb is so important to American railroading in two entirely different ways. Best suburban train watching spot in America bar none.

  5. It’s only a matter of time until Progress Rail shutters the office at LaGrange, too. They’ll probably also move it to North Carolina, which is a much friendlier business climate than is Illinois.

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