Jay Potter wrote:This and a number of other Internet discussions I've read in recent years have included references to GE locomotive prices being lower than EMD locomotive prices; however I don't recall any of those discussions citing any actual prices. Can anyone provide any specific pricing examples?
It's difficult to say "A GE ES44AC costs $_____ and an EMD SD70ACe costs $_____," because there is a lot of variation depending on the size of the order, the options a railroad chooses to add or delete, whether or not the purchase price includes a service contract, etc... but what makes it even more difficult is that there's usually no news coverage when a freight railroad buys locomotives.
It's a little bit easier with commuter rail locomotives because they're purchased by public agencies, and when a commuter rail agency buys new locomotives, it gets a ton of coverage in the newspapers, often including a total purchase price for the order -- for example, you might see something along the lines of "ABC Commuter Rail awarded a bid for 16 passenger locomotives to XYZ Motive, Inc., totaling $64 million." Then you could divide $64 million by 16 and get a per-unit price of $4 million. Unfortunately it's hard to decipher how much of that $4 million is for the locomotive and how much of it is for a service contract, training for ABC Commuter Rail's employees, etc., but at least with a public agency you could submit a FOIA request to get more specifics.
Conversely, when a freight railroad buys locomotives, it's not news. The bigger Class I roads will usually issue a press release of some kind, but generally they don't include prices. You might be able to find out the prices if you're a stockholder, but I have no experience with that.
The exception is when private railroads get new "green" switchers, partially or fully funded by government agencies -- in that case it's a lot easier to find out the purchase price, and there tends to be more news coverage because of the "green" angle. Not so with line-haul locomotives they buy on their own dime, unfortunately.