In 1988 Toronto-area commuter operator GO transit commissioned EMD to design a new commuter locomotive to replace the aging F40PH - which had been North America's standard passenger engine for more than a decade. The new F59PH design incorporated a 3000 horsepower prime mover and a separate head end power (HEP) motor/generator set for car lighting, heat, and air conditioning. The new engine used 12 cylinders instead of 16 to produce the same horsepower as the seventies-era F40PH, and with lower emissions. On the exterior, however, the F59new locomotive [didn't look like a new passenger engine; it ] had the boxy, muscular look of a freight hauler.
The Canadian-born design really came into its own on the West Coast of the United States. In 1994 the California Department of Transportation placed an order for nine F59's for "Amtrak California" service and specified a new look that, while officially designated the F59PHI, became known as the California F59: rounded nose, side skirts covering the fuel tank, and a streamlined carbody to blend with high, bilevel passenger cars. Other railroads apparently liked the new look and the engine's performance, and the F59PHI became a common sight on the West Coast. Commuter operators include Metrolink in Los Angeles, Translink in Vancouver, B.C., and Seattle's Sound Transit "Sounder" service. On the other side of the continent, F59PHI's can be found on Montreal commuter runs and Amtrak service out of Raleigh, North Carolina.
Replicate the services that are reviving commuter rail travel in many parts of the United States with MTH's RailKing Imperial Series F59PHI and matching passenger consists. The F59PHI sports operating smoke and operating ditch lights guaranteed to attract attention on your layout.
Did you know:
The addition of a separate motor/generator for head end power in the F59 eliminated an annoyance with the older F40PH, which had only a single motor: the prime mover in the F40 had to run at full throttle all the time, even when a train was stopped, in order to provide light and climate control to the passenger coaches. In fact a small number of F40's were built with a longer carbody to accommodate a separate HEP diesel motor.