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Making the world's most efficient locomotive (pictures)

In a giant factory in Fort Worth, Texas, General Electric builds locomotives that produce fewer emissions than any other in the world. On Road Trip 2014, CNET's Daniel Terdiman walked the (assembly) line.

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Daniel Terdiman
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1 of 9 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Locomotive in the paint shop

FORTH WORTH, Texas -- Who doesn't love trains? Especially when they're being manufactured?

As part of Road Trip 2014, CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman visited General Electric Transportation's massive facility here, a 1-million-square-foot factory where the company makes locomotives.

GE says these locomotives are the world's most efficient -- measured by generating the least emissions in the industry -- and are delivered to customers and are often hauling cargo the same day.

Here, a locomotive is inside the paint shop. Currently, all locomotives made in the Fort Worth factory are being sold to BNSF Railway, so this machine will soon sport the orange and black livery of BNSF.

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2 of 9 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Operator and auxiliary cabs

A completed locomotive weighs in at 440,000 pounds, and the platform it's built on alone weighs 120,000 pounds.

Here, GE staffers work to assemble a locomotive. The platform has been mounted on the trucks (wheels) and they've added the operator cab and the auxiliary cab -- the section where all the electronics are installed.

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Engines

Two giant diesel engines sit on the floor in the Fort Worth assembly facility, ready to be being built into locomotives. The engines are built in Grove City, Pa., and weigh 34,000 pounds. A train pulled by a couple of locomotives can haul a ton of freight 500 miles on a single gallon of fuel.

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The finished product

A finished locomotive sits outside the Fort Worth facility. GE delivers to BNSF twice a week, and the locomotives are put into service immediately.

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Truck frames

A line of truck frames sit on the factory floor, awaiting their turn to have wheels and other systems installed.

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Trucks in progress

Locomotive trucks sit on the factory floor in various stages of build-out. Some have already had sensors and other systems added, while others haven't yet.

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Truck with speed sensor

A close-up look at a truck, including its speed sensor (the yellow cable).

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Truck assembly

A worker puts together the various elements of a truck assembly.

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Painted trucks

Two finished truck assemblies sit on the floor. They've already been painted and are now waiting to be integrated with a platform.

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