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Rail News: Mechanical

Florida East Coast buys GE locomotives, Reading and Northern acquires coal cars

Florida East Coast Railway L.L.C. (FEC) announced yesterday it will acquire 24 new ES44C4 locomotives from GE Transportation.

Part of GE's Evolution® Series, the ES44C4 units will be used in thru-freight, heavy-haul service on the regional's 351-mile mainline between Jacksonville and Miami.

The locomotives are designed to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Tier 3 emission requirements by controlling nitrous oxide and particulate matter emissions. The units also can lower fuel consumption and operating costs, FEC officials said in a press release.

"These locomotives will provide the fuel-efficient power we need to support the current operations and future growth of the railroad," said Fran Chinnici, FEC's senior vice president of mechanical, engineering and purchasing.

Meanwhile, the Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad Co. (RBMN) capped off 2013 with the purchase of 105 three-pocket, open-top hoppers from PPL Corp.

The cars will be placed in domestic service to move anthracite coal across the nation, said RBMN Vice President of Facilities Steve Balthaser in the regional's winter newsletter. The acquisition enables the 300-mile short line — which serves eight counties in eastern Pennsylvania — to retire an equal number of older cars.

Because anthracite coal is very corrosive and shortens a car's useful life, much diligence is placed on repairing or replacing RBMN's coal cars, said Balthaser. The car purchase will enable the regional's shop to focus more on preventative maintenance than reactive repairs, and perform upgrades on
other series of cars.

"This will strengthen the overall health of our fleet," said Balthaser.

RBMN plans to acquire the same number of open-top cars in 2014.


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