The GE Show is here to help us understand the technologies that are changing our lives.


episode four

The Rebirth of Rails


Trains might seem old-fashioned. They look pretty much as they always have, and roll on the same tracks. But there's been constant progress on the rails. Take switching technology, for example. GE's ecomagination technology helps it become increasingly accurate, even as the rail network has become more complex. Try your hand at managing train switching in real time, with a game that takes you through different eras of technology. And if you go "Choo, Choo!" in the privacy of your own home, that's fine with us.

Train Switching is Complicated

Managing trains in that game was tricky, right? See how GE Transportation's RailEdge Movement Planner acts like air traffic control for railroads, saving millions of dollars each year. It's an example of how we apply smart thinking to practical problems.

Moving More Efficiently

If you can increase the speed of all trains on a Class 1 railroad network by 1 mile per hour, you can save millions of dollars a year in capital and expenses.

GE's RailEdge Movement Planner is a breakthrough software solution that improves railroad capacity and reliability on the existing rail infrastructure. Movement Planner helps railroads move more freight faster.

Efficiency is gained at a fleet-wide level across an entire railroad network by analyzing train schedules, traffic control systems and train movements relative to each other and then coming up with an optimized traffic plan for the trains, even down to the best speed at which to travel to keep the flow going throughout the railroad.



Energy: you can't destroy it, but you can certainly waste it. That's what most motorized vehicles do, including trains. Usually, the energy generated when you stop a moving vehicle is dissipated as heat, and is lost to the atmosphere. With GE's ecomagination we've discovered that you can capture and store that energy, then reuse it - that's how our hybrid systems work. Watch the video to see a simple illustration of the physics behind dynamic braking. Keep in mind an object's force is measured in Newtons, using the equation "force = mass * acceleration."

What is hybrid dynamic braking?

GE Evolution Hybrid Locomotive

The energy that's generated when you stop a train is substantial. In a conventional train engine, that energy is dissipated as heat and lost to the atmosphere. But we're working on technologies that can capture and store that energy, using the hybrid dynamic braking system developed by GE's ecomagination team. This could mean 10% less CO2 emissions and 10% less diesel fuel than a standard locomotive in North America.

How are we using it?

The energy dissipated in braking a 207-ton locomotive during the course of one year is enough to power over 8,900 average US households for a year.

  • Reusing energy

    GE engineers are designing a Hybrid diesel-electric locomotive that will capture the energy dissipated during braking and store it in a series of sophisticated batteries.

  • Reduced emissions

    Replacing every locomotive in North America manufactured before 2001 with GE's hybrid technology would, in a year, cut nitrogen oxide emissions as much as removing one third of all cars from U.S. roads.

  • Money savings

    If every locomotive in North America were a GE hybrid locomotive, railroads could save $425 million each year in fuel.



Choose your words carefully. That's always true, but especially in this case. The words and terms you choose create a customized trip that illustrates the cost, in both expenses and emissions, of transporting a load. Experiment with the different fields and see how hybrid trains using GE's ecomagination technologies could potentially revolutionize the cost structure of moving goods across the country.

Disclaimer: The figures shown here are based on AC locomotives, pulling standard 50 foot 6 inch boxcars. It assumes the train is running nonstop at a constant speed at an average grade of 0.5%. The fuel burn for both the Hybrid and baseline locomotive assumes a constant average North America duty cycle. It uses an average diesel fuel cost of $3.20 per gallon to calculate the cost of fuel for the trip.


GE's Trip Optimizer

It's like cruise control with a PhD. GE's Trip Optimizer doesn't just control speed, it thinks about the entire journey. Using sophisticated software and detailed maps, the Trip Optimizer analyzes each specific trip. It considers hills, curves and data about the train itself to map out the most efficient route possible, minimizing both braking and acceleration. It's a GE ecomagination technology that can cut fuel consumption by as much as 10% just by being smarter.