By Daniel Garcia, Mark Walton and James Bow.
The GP40TC series locomotive was the first engine GO Transit bought. They were esentially GP40’s mounted on a longer SD40 frame redesigned to house an additional HEP generator and motor. Eight locomotives were purchased in 1967, featuring a 16 cylinder 645E engine motor pumping out 3000hp (horsepower), with a separate 500hp engine to power the HEP generator. They were bought without dynamic brakes, without safety cabs (they weren’t invented yet), and without the Dash 2 electrical and control systems that appeared in locomotives a short while later. They were designated class GCE-430a.
The GP40TC series locomotives were originally numbered 600-607, then changed to 9800-9807, and finally numbered 500-507 when they were pulled from service. At the time of the purchase, GO Transit service was still in its trial phase. If the service flopped, the Government of Ontario reasoned that they could more easily sell off these locomotives rather than a locomotive that was designed more for passenger use. Fortunately, GO Transit passed its trial period with flying colours, and the locomotives remained in the system.
The GP40TC HEP units produced a very shrill whine, which residents near Willowbrook Yard found extremely annoying. At the start of GO service in 1967, the locomotives were at the east end of the trainsets, as today. GO installed lineside power at Willowbrook so they could shut down the HEP units during long layovers there. In 1974-75, GO had CN’s Pointe St. Charles Shops in Montreal (later AMF Technotransport, now Alstom) install sound deadening material in the HEP end of the GP40TCs, and reversed the trainsets so the loco was on the west end, away from homes near Willowbrook. Later, the trainsets were reversed again, with the locomotives at the east end.
The GP40-2L(W)s were ordered without HEP units, thus requiring the APCUs. The thinking was that whatever sound deadening was required could be done more easily in a large carbody that housed only the HEP unit, than in a small cramped area like the GP40TCs.
The GP40TCs continued to be used until 1988, when new F59PH’s arrived to render the aging GP40TCs surplus. The cars were sold to Amtrak to became no.’s 192-199. Amtrak referred to these models as GP40PHs, and these were used in work train service. They were renumbered from 192-199 to 520-527 between 2000 and 2004, and were recently shipped off to Norfolk Southern’s Juniata Locomotive Shop in Altoona, Pennsylvania to rebuild the units into GP38H-3 locomotives.
GP40TC locomotive number 604 leads another train of bilevels into Oakville Station.
Here we see GP40TC 606 in GO’s original paint scheme, leading a train of single level cars.
- Amtrak Photo Archive
- Canadian Rail, May 1975 #280, page 144
- Dorin, Patrick C. The Canadian National Railways Story, Superior Publishing Company, Seattle (Washington), 1975.