Electro-Motive F40PH-2

The F40PH is a 3,000-3,200 hp (2.2-2.4 MW), 4 axle, HEP (head end power) equipped passenger locomotive developed based on the GP40 in the 1970s for Amtrak. It was built between 1976 and 1992. It is one of the most widely used passenger locomotives in North America. A number of variants of this locomotive have been operated by a variety of passenger railroads including Toronto’s GO Transit. This post will concentrate on the F40PH-2 purchased by Via Rail Canada in 1986.

Today Via Rail Canada has the second largest fleet of 54 units of F40PH series locomotives in North America, next to Metra commuter railroad of Chicago, IL. These units were built by General Motors Diesel in London, ON between 1986 and 1989. They are equipped with the EMD 16-654E3C prime movers and have a top speed of 95 mph (153 km/h). In order to continuously provide HEP to the train, the prime mover of the F40PH is designed to idle at 900 rpm (designed max operating rpm), giving the locomotive a distinctive high-pitched idling noise. The F40PH has hence been given the nick name “screamer” and “screaming thunder box” by railroaders and railfans.

Started in 2009, Via Rail Canada contracted CAD Railway Industries Ltd. of Lachine, QC to rebuild/upgrade its fleet of F40PH-2 locomotives. The rebuild programme includes fitting a cleaning burning prime mover and a secondary diesel engine for HEP (reduces idling fuel consumption and noise, increases tractive power). The entire fleet is scheduled to be rebuilt by 2013, and the details of the project can be found here. The rebuilt F40PH-2 locomotives can easily be identified by the new green, silver, and gold livery.


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