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7/2/2003



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

The Ascent of Tier-2 Compliant Power: UP now running five GETS 'Evolution' locomotives in revenue service, BNSF to test 30


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Class Is continue to explore their next-level locomotive technology options, and two of North America's largest railroads plan to take a closer look at GE Transportation Systems' (GETS) new Evolution Series™.



During the past 13 weeks, three Evolution Series locomotives have performed "extremely well" in 75,000 miles of active revenue service for Union Pacific Railroad, GETS said in a July 1 prepared statement. Unveiled in late December 2002, the 4,400-horsepower, 12-cylinder diesel engine locomotives are designed to reduce emissions 40 percent from levels current locomotives produce. Evolution Series units also feature a platform that can be upgraded to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations beyond 2005, and reduce fuel consumption by about 3 percent, according to GETS.



The three locomotives logged more than 550 hours of full-throttle "Notch 8" operation while working on UP manifest trains out of Hinkle, Ore., and "performed well" on initial high-speed capability tests completed on several intermodal runs between Chicago and northern California, GETS said.



"The first 13 weeks of active service have been very encouraging, and we have learned a great deal about how GE Evolution Series locomotives perform in a demanding environment," said Steve Gray, GETS' general manager of engineering, in a prepared statement.



On June 5, UP took delivery of two new Evolution Series locomotives, which currently are undergoing a series of high-altitude emissions, fuel and tunnel tests in northern California. After the high-altitude testing, the two locomotives are scheduled to join the other three pre-production units in active UP revenue service.



Another western Class I also plans to put Evolution Series units under the microscope. In the fourth quarter, Burlington Northern Santa Fe will test 30 Evolution Series pre-production locomotives, GETS said.



"We will continue to aggressively test pre-production units throughout 2003 and 2004 - focusing on accumulating operating hours in the toughest North American terrains - with the goal of introducing the most reliable product at launch," Gray said.


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