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GE Engines to Lose Steam If High-Speed Rail Too Slow

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U.S. taxpayers have spent $1.5 billion to allow Union Pacific Corp. (UNP)’s tracks between Chicago and St. Louis to carry faster passenger trains, one of the biggest projects in President Barack Obama’s high-speed rail program.


Now a panel advising the same agency that oversaw the work may require it to be re-done so trains can go even faster, to the potential benefit of Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) and Siemens AG (SIE) and the detriment of General Electric Co. (GE)


“In a time of great fiscal constraints, why should taxpayers pay more money to save a fraction of travel time that can’t even be achieved unless states spend billions of dollars more to undo work they have already done?” Rob McKeel, general manager of global locomotive operations for GE, said in an e- mail.


A committee with representatives from states, U.S. regulators and Amtrak, the U.S. national passenger railroad, is developing specifications for train engines to be bought with high-speed rail money from Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill. About $1 billion awarded to states in August 2011 for locomotive purchases has been held up until those standards are issued.


The group, called the Next Generation Equipment Committee, must decide whether to require equipment to run at top speeds of 110 miles per hour (177 kilometers per hour), the standard for the Federal Railroad Administration’s work with Illinois on the Union Pacific tracks, or 125 mph. It also could allow either standard or permit states to choose.





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Amtrak is slowly but surely growing under the Obama administration. I'm not really to sure about GE and high speed engines due to the fact that the P40/42 are very slow to get up to speed. I think Amtrak needs to explore other options as so with siemens.

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