Videos & Photos Photos Photo Galleries A visit to Wabtec’s Fort Worth factory

A visit to Wabtec’s Fort Worth factory

By David Lassen | May 8, 2023

Where diesels are born (or reborn)

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Wabtec’s Fort Worth plant

Shiny locomotives outside building
Freshly painted, remanufactured locomotives of Norfolk Southern and Canadian National await delivery outside Wabtec’s Fort Worth, Texas, plant in October 2022. All photos, David Lassen

FORT WORTH, Texas — In October 2022, following my attendance at the Railway Supply Institute Expo and Technical Conference, I also had a chance to visit Wabtec’s locomotive assembly plant in Fort Worth. My visit happened to fall on the day Canadian National accepted the first of a series of 50 remanufactured AC44C6M locomotives [see “Canadian National receives first diesel …,” Trains News Wire, Oct. 17, 2022], but before that brief ceremony, I had a chance to take a tour of the facility. Here are a few photos.

Model of locomotive assembly plant
This model of the facility is used to review how the manufacturing process is structured. It apparently came in quite useful when the Fort Worth plant had to modify its processes to go from building new locomotives to remanufacturing.
Two rows of locomotive engines on factory floor
There’s something impressive about seeing large quantities of very large parts awaiting use, whether they are prime movers …
Line of three-axle locomotive trucks
… or trucks.
Assembly area for locomotive cabs
In Wabtec parlance, a “cab” is a subassembly, so a “cab assembly” could involve electrical systems, or engines, or a number of things. This just happens to be a cab for, well, cabs.
Locomotive cab suspended by crane
Speaking of cabs, here’s one being moved into position in the final assembly area. Our tour was rerouted slightly around this move; understandably, no one wants visitors walking under a locomotive cab suspended in midair.
Unpainted locomotive with others visible in background
Here’s the final assembly area. As the chalked lettering on the nose indicates, this is a Union Pacific unit. That was obvious even without the chalk because of the yellow paint visible on some portions of the locomotive — the remanufactured diesels go to the railroad that provided the core for the rebuild.
Black and white locomotive in small, well lit enclosure
UP, Norfolk Southern, and Canadian National units were being rebuilt during our visit. Here’s an NS unit in one of the paint booths.
White locomotive with blue nose
Almost all the locomotives built in Fort Worth have been for North America. The exceptions have been for Australia, as with this unit for Fortescue Metals Group, awaiting the start of its journey to mining-railroad service in the harsh environs of Western Australia’s Pilbara region. Modifications include extra-beefy radiators.

5 thoughts on “A visit to Wabtec’s Fort Worth factory

  1. I would love to see speed lettering done on the side of the locomotives for UP.
    The Railroad of the West.

  2. I toured this plant when it was building new locomotives, not rebuilds. It is so clean inside you could eat breakfast off the floor. Basically, back then, it was just an assembly factory since all parts except the cab were manufactured else where (mostly Pennsylvania) and shipped to Ft Worth. It was fairly quiet inside since any area that made noise was contained in a room. Painting also contained.

  3. Love this article. I remember the EMD open house in 70’s that I was at in La Grange. IL for the 100th million horsepower. It was a warm sunny day and their were a lot of brand new SD40-2’s there plus different track gauges for export locomotives. what a great day and time that was, lots of people there also.

  4. Too bad there was no chance to get a shot of a finished cab interior. Very interested in newest cab controls and equipment, especially PTC stuff.

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