Move over GE, make way, EMD; you’ve got new competition

Posted by Fred Frailey
on Saturday, August 6, 2011

Railway Gazette International reports that the first of 10 locomotives destined for delivery to Australia later this year has rolled off the factory floor, in China. This cannot be good news for U.S. locomotive makers, who have been kept in business the past few years largely due to overseas orders.

The maker is CSR Ziyang Locomotive, and the buyer is SCT Logistics, which operates trains in Australia. SCT plans to use the locomotives on its east-west trans-Australia trains. The locomotives are of unspecified horsepower but use AC traction. The maker claims to be using “independent intellectual property.”
It doesn’t take a great leap of imagination to see Chinese locomotive sales people calling on North American railroads. CSR claims to have used “a strict quality assurance system comparable with European and American standards” in order to meet the “extremely high” requirements of Australian railroads. If the Chinese can meet the expectations of Australian railroads, which heretofore have bought from the likes of Electro-Motive Diesel and General Electric, do they therefore have a competitive product? Seems so to me.
To me the worst of it is not that we might see CSR Ziyang motors pulling Norfolk Southern trains. No, the worst of it is that these are ugly products. — Fred W. Frailey

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