It's a little bit sad when you think about it. GE has been in need of cash for a while. Rather than not touch the mostly successful, money making, rail division they reach in and start selling it piecemeal. The railcar leasing was spun off, and I'm sure Wabtec is bringing more debt which will require more spin offs.
Honestly, it's not unlike what happened to Kmart. They started spinning off their successful subsidiaries like OfficeMax, Sports Authority, and Borders Books. They started spinning those off while they were making great money, and by the end of the 90's were struggling without them. This forced them to merge with Sears which is the same as a death sentence.