The EMD F59PH series of locomotives comprises two variants of locomotives built by EMD, the original F59PH and the newer F59PHI. These modern Diesel-electric locomotives are popular among North American commuter rail services.


  • F59PH 1
    • Fleet details 1.1
  • F59PHI 2
  • Accidents and incidents 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6


Two F59PH locomotives owned by GO Transit at Oakville station. GO has since discontinued the majority of these locomotives and have been used rarely. (One of these locomotives have since been leased to Metrolink in Southern California.)
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder Electro-Motive Division (EMD),
General Motors Diesel (GMD)
Build date May 1988 to May 1994
Total produced 83
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Length 58 ft 2 in (17.73 m)
Prime mover EMD 12-710G3A
Engine type V12 Diesel
Cylinders 12
Performance figures
Power output 3,000 hp (2.24 MW)
Locale Canada, United States

The F59PH was the first in the "F59" Series of locomotives. Eighty-three locomotives were built from May 1988 to May 1994 for two commuter transit railroads, Metrolink of Los Angeles, California, USA and GO Transit of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. While Metrolink continues to use these locomotives today, in 2008, GO Transit began discontinuing operations using this locomotive in favour of the new MPI MP40PH-3C.[1]:159 Only eight locomotives that were refurbished in 2011 remain in service.

This locomotive is equipped with a turbocharged EMD 12-710G3A, a 12-cylinder, two-stroke Diesel engine (prime mover), front and rear platforms, a full-width cab with a three-piece windshield. Earlier EMD cowl-type locomotives had used a two-piece windshield, while the Canadian comfort cab used a four-piece design.[1]:159

The F59PH is still used today, mainly on commuter railroads:

Fleet details

Operator Number Year built Unit numbers Comments
GO Transit 8 1988–1994 557–564
  • GO Transit owned 49 locomotives (520–568), but most have been retired and replaced by new MPI MP40 locomotives.
  • Units refurbished in 2011 remain in service.
Metrolink 23 1992–1993 851–873
  • 855 destroyed in the 2008 Chatsworth train collision and retired or scrapped.
  • 3 units leased from GO Transit.
NCDOT 4 1810, 1859, 1869, 1893
  • Used on Amtrak Piedmont service.
  • Purchased secondhand from GO Transit and rebuilt by American Motive Power.
Trinity Railway Express 8 1988–1994 525, 527, 528, 565–568
  • Purchased secondhand from GO Transit.
RB Railway Group 12 1988-1990 18520–18524, 18531, 18537–18538, 18547, 18551, 18554
  • Purchased secondhand from GO Transit.
  • Company leases units to commuter operators. Currently units 18520, 18522 & 18533 are leased to Metrolink, to replace engines out of service for installation of positive train control equipment. Some units are scheduled to be used on the proposed SEMCOG Commuter Rail.


Amtrak/NCDOT RNCX EMD F59PHI #1797, "City of Asheville", leading the Piedmont north out of Charlotte, North Carolina on February 20, 2003
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder GM Electro-Motive Division (EMD)
General Motors Diesel (GMD)
Build date September 1994 to 2001
AAR wheel arr. B-B
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length 58 ft 7 in (17.86 m)
Prime mover EMD 12-710G3C-EC
Engine type V12 diesel
Cylinders 12
Performance figures
Maximum speed 110 mph (177 km/h)
Power output 3,200 hp (2.4 MW)
Tractive effort Starting: 290 kN (65,195 lbf),
Continuous: 170 kN (38,218 lbf) @ 16 mph (25.7 km/h)
Locale North America

The EMD F59PHI is a common diesel-electric locomotive on passenger trains in North America, built originally by General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD), now built by the successor company, Electro-Motive Diesel, which is owned by Progress Rail Services, itself a division of Caterpillar.

First built in 1994, the locomotive is a 3,200 hp (2.4 MW) B-B diesel-electric locomotive intended for service on North American mainlines.[2] This locomotive is equipped with a turbocharged EMD 12-710G3C-EC, a 12-cylinder, 2 stroke diesel engine (prime mover). The main (traction) alternator converts mechanical energy from the prime mover into electrical energy that is distributed through a high voltage cabinet to direct current traction motors. Each of the four traction motors is directly geared to a pair of driving wheels. The gear ratio of the traction motors (model D87BTR) to wheel axle determines the maximum operating speed of the locomotive; a standard F59PHI has a gear ratio of 56:21 which provides a top speed of 110 miles per hour (180 km/h).

The F59PHI has a fully enclosed carbody which provides protected walkways for easy access to the engine room and trailing units. This arrangement allows routine maintenance while the locomotive is in service. The noteworthy aspect of this locomotive's exterior is the use of composites to present a streamlined appearance.[2]

To supply electrical power for passenger service, the F59PHI is equipped with a secondary electrical generator referred to as the Head End Power (HEP) unit. The head-end generator generates AC power at 480 V, 60 Hz AC, and can be rated between 500 and 750 kW (670 and 1,010 hp) to provide power to the passenger carriages for lighting, electric heating, and air conditioning. The head-end generator is powered by a second diesel engine dedicated to it. With this arrangement, the prime mover is not burdened by head-end power generation and consequently is used solely for supplying tractive effort.

When it debuted for Caltrans in late 1994, the F59PHI was the first locomotive in the United States which met California's stringent emission standards.[2]

Examples of the F59PHI are currently operated by these companies:

Accidents and incidents

On February 24, 2015, Metrolink locomotive #870 was pushing (the locomotive was located at the rear) a passenger train that struck a vehicle obstructing the line at Oxnard, California and was derailed. One person was killed and 29 were injured.

See also


  1. ^ a b Solomon, Brian (2011). Modern Diesel Power.  
  2. ^ a b c "F59PHI debuts in California".  

Further reading

  • Marre, Louis A.; Withers, Paul K. (2000). The Contemporary Diesel Spotter’s Guide. Halifax, Pennsylvania: Withers Publishing. pp. 112–114.