BioEditThe EMD (Electro Motive Division) F59PH is a type of four-axle, 12-cylinder, 3,000hp diesel locomotive built from 1988 to 1994 with 73 built. Like its refined counter-part, the F59PH was essentially the successor to the F40PH, but was built solely for commuter services.
Built specially for Toronto, Ontario's GO Transit (Government of Ontario) commuter rail network, the locomotive quickly gained popularity with not only its original owner, but also with California-based Metrolink during the construction of the state's Los Angeles-area (now from San Diego to Los Angeles) commuter services beginning in 1992, where it became even more of a hit, and further sparked the development of the F59PHI with Amtrak following the F59PH's final run in 1994.
Although mostly retired from GO Transit and having been placed in secondary service with Metrolink, the model can still be found on various other commuter railroad systems or railway networks scattered throughout the United States and Canada, notably NCDOT (North Carolina Department of Transportation), AMT (Agence Metropolitaine de Transport), among others.
The Tier 2-compliant (now Tier 3) MPXpress series of diesel locomotives built by MotivePower Industries (MPI) has since replaced many active F59PH and subsequent F59PHI units in service.
The model was among one of the first ever commercially-successful Canadian-built diesel locomotives built for the domestic American locomotive market by GMD (General Motors Diesel), rather than being a domestic model built in Canada for a domestic customer like the SD60.
Many are still in active service, though some have been scrapped.
The F59PH was commissioned by, and designed in close cooperation with, Toronto-area commuter agency, GO Transit as a replacement for the company's exclusive 8 GP40TC and 6 subsequent London-built F40PH units. The concept of transforming the existing unpopular GP59 freight diesel locomotive into a new 3,000hp passenger locomotive equipped with a 12-cylinder 710G3 engine and an independent HEP engine-generator housed in a full-cowl carbody with a CN-style comfort cab was the brainchild or inspiration of GO Transit's operations division. EMD was initially reluctant to embrace the concept, though GO followed suit, and by May 1988, GO Transit #520 rolled out of EMD's London, Ontario facility ready for service. Unlike the F40PH with its shaft-driven 16-645E3-powered HEP generator, the F59PH was a drastic improvement over its predecessor with its separate generator and prime-mover, further reducing fuel consumption and wear, and was even reminiscent of the EMD (later MK Rail beginning in 1991) F40PH-2C built for MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Area Transit Authority) from 1987-1988. The F59PH also adapted the use of microprocessor controls present on models like the GP59 or GP60 at the time of production. EMD's positive reception to customer input paid off, as the F59PH proved to be technologically and commercially successful. GO stayed true to their commitment to the model, replacing their entire fleet of aged second-hand units (and subsequent specialty units) as well as covering expansion services with a total of 49 F59PH's built in four separate orders and delivered by 1994. However, the Canadian-born F59 proved to be an even bigger hit on the West Coast in Southern California (and has still gained a heavy prominence since then). In Los Angeles, Metrolink ordered 17 F59PH's for the October 1992 debut of its LA-area commuter services and quickly ordered a half dozen more as route-mileage expanded and traffic increased. Metrolink, however, was just the beginning, for its successor (the F59PHI), took Amtrak and the state of California by storm.
Beginning in 1997, GO began retiring their otherwise vast fleet of F59PH units in favor of newer, more advanced models. Despite being less than 3 years old, GO retired four units (565-568) and were eventually sold to Trinity Railway Express (TRE) for use in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex area after having been rebuilt by Amtrak prior to entering service in 2000. Despite having been rebuilt twice (receiving upgraded HEP generators and new microprocessor control systems), all but 8 F59PH units were retired from service between 2009-2013. 3 were leased to the proposed (yet failed) MiRail (MDOT) system in Michigan, but were then leased to AMT, and are now currently in service with Metrolink.
As of today, only 8 units (GO #557-564) remain in secondary service on GO Transit, and are used as spare units, though many ex-GO units have since been reacquired for spare use in the case of overflow traffic during weekends or holidays. Some F59PH units still remain in active revenue service with Metrolink as well, albeit under emission and duty restrictions, and are often used simply as HEP units for generating air conditioning or heating for passenger coaches on long consists requiring the use of two locomotives, for an HEP generator's capacity is otherwise limited, and cannot exceed certain car lengths. Many of their units have also been leased or sold to other commuter railroads, while those previously leased to other rail networks have since been returned to Metrolink following lease termination.
Metra on the otherhand, acquired a trio of ex-GO F59PH units (METX 97-99) and have since been in service since late-2015. They are the first locomotives within Metra's fleet to be painted in their modern scheme since the delivery of the MP36PH-3S units delivered between 2003-2004. On another note, approximately 42 F40PH units are scheduled to be repainted into said scheme within the next four years.
|Length||58' 2"||58' 7"|
|Weight 1,000 lbs.||260,000||
For some time, AMT (Agence Metropolitaine de Transport) painted their fleet of ex-GO F59PH units in an Amtrak Phase III-inspired scheme before eventually settling on an updated scheme to match the rest of their equipment and retiring several units to Metra.