Railroads & Locomotives Locomotives Who has new locomotive power in 2024?

Who has new locomotive power in 2024?

By Chris Guss | January 30, 2024

Flatlined for years

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Locomotive power 2024

orange, black and yellow locomotive on track
Locomotive power: One of each ET44ACHs and ES44ACHs (Tier 4 credit) locomotives for BNSF sit at Wabtec’s Ft. Worth, Texas, facility on Jan. 23, 2024. Travis Berryman

Someone turned on the new locomotive faucet, but its just a slow drip right now.

For several years no new six-axle freight locomotives have been built for North America’s Class I railroads. Now, there are some signs of life. Last year saw orders from Canadian National and BNSF Railway — Canadian National bought 10 Wabtec ET44ACs and BNSF received 25 ET44ACHs and 25 ES44ACHs (Tier 4 credit) locomotives. These were the same two companies that last purchased new power back in 2020 before orders stalled out.

While these orders were comparatively small by historical standards, they proved that new power is still necessary in the industry despite the overwhelming demand for rebuilding and/or upgrading older locomotives on railroad rosters.

New BNSF ET44ACHs and ES44ACHs (Tier 4 credit) locomotives have appeared again at Wabtec’s Ft. Worth, Texas, facility in January, signaling that at least one railroad plans on receiving more new power this year. While exact quantities of new locomotives for BNSF or other domestic customers in 2024 is unknown, it’s expected that any new-build orders of meaningful size could potentially offset rebuild/remanufacture production output since many locations share production space for both new and rebuild locomotives these days.

With hundreds of locomotives still parked in storage lines across the country and thousands of potential rebuild cores still present on Class I rosters, large orders for new power will most likely be many years down the road.

Someday, the faucet may be turned on a bit more.

2 thoughts on “Who has new locomotive power in 2024?

  1. The stagnant builds are to keep GE and EMD plants open. 2024 will be an interesting year with Class 1 RR budgets.

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