By Daniel Garcia and James Bow.
These are the engines that currently make up all of GO Transit's current locomotive roster. The F59PH is basically a GP60 frame, fuel tank, trucks, traction motors and electricals placed beneath an F40PH body, and a safety cab to boot. A 12 cylinder 710-series prime mover puts out 3000 microprocessor-controlled horsepower, and the HEP generator is connected to a separate 675hp engine. These engines were designed by GO Transit and GMDD specifically for commuter service, and have a top speed of 134km/h. They can accelerate a fully loaded 10-car train from 0 to 100 km/h in about 75 seconds, and are also the first engines bought by GO Transit that feature dynamic braking. With the advent of microprocessor controls, the effectiveness of dynamic braking has been greatly increased, to as low as 8km/h.
The first batch of 16 were bought in 1988 to replace the GP40TC's, and to allow the other engines to be slowly phased out. The second group of 11 was delivered in 1989 and 1990 and replaced the F40PH's and some of the GP40-2L's. Fourteen more arrived in 1990 to replace the remainder of the GP40-2L's, and to allow expansion of service. The GP40u's, the last group of non-HEP engines, were traded into GMDD as part of the purchase of the last 6 F59PH's in 1994. F59PH's are designated classes GCE-430g (1988), -430h (1989-90), -430j (1990), and -430k (1994). They are numbered 520-564. When the last non-HEP locomotives were retired from GO service, the supplementary APCU and APUs were also removed from GO property. By maintaining an all F59PH fleet, GO also reaps the benefits of a more efficient maintenance program.
GO now has surplus F59PHs, thanks to service cutbacks in 1996. To compensate, the four newest engines (565-568) were sold to Fort-Worth, Texas in the spring of 1997, along with 16 bi-level coaches. Other surplus locomotives, along with surplus bilevel cars, have been leased to other commuter agencies in Vancouver and Los Angeles, to name but two.
Considering engines can last for up to 30 years, it's probably going to be a while before GO Transit is going to have to start retiring the F59PH's.
Here's a shot of the cab of F59PH locomotive #549. Photo taken by email@example.com