Production is under way on the first railroad locomotive to be assembled at the new General Electric facility in far north Fort Worth, plant manager Walter Amaya said Wednesday.
"We'll have our first locomotive built by the end of this month," Amaya told about 200 people at a Fort Worth Chamber luncheon. Production of GE's first fuel-efficient Evolution electric-diesel locomotives to be built here began Jan. 2, about two weeks after the city issued a certificate of occupancy.
"Right now the locomotive is ready to start getting through the testing process. It actually looks like a locomotive," Amaya said, adding that employees were eager for the first vehicle to be complete.
Just under 300 employees have been hired at the plant, and GE is looking for another 75 to 100 people to fill jobs, spokesman Manley Ford said.
The Mexican-born Amaya told area business leaders that the GE plant would be unlike other company facilities. Unlike the series of buildings, some over a century old, at GE's plant in Erie, Pa., all the work at the facility in Fort Worth is under one roof.
"We're going to build a platform," he said. "We're going to be cutting, forming it, assembling it and completing a fully functional locomotive that will exit our building."
At a sibling plant next door, workers have built about 200 wheel sets for mining vehicles since July.
Amaya declined to say how many locomotives will be built this year.
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