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712 SF oct78x - Flickr - drewj1946.jpg
Amtrak #712 in Southern Pacific service on the Peninsula Commute in 1978.
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder GE Transportation Systems
Model P30CH
Build date 1975-76
Total produced 25
AAR wheel arr. C-C
UIC classification Co′Co′
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Trucks GE 3-axle floating bolster
Wheel diameter 40 inches (101.60 cm)
Length 72 ft 4 in (22.05 m)
Width 10 ft 8.8 in (3.27 m)
Height 15 ft 4 12 in (4.69 m)
Locomotive weight 19.3 short tons (17.2 long tons; 17.5 tonnes)
Fuel capacity 3,600 US gallons (13,627.48 l)
Lubricant capacity 380 US gallons (1,438.46 l)
Sandbox capacity 56 cubic feet (1.59 m3)
Prime mover GE 7FDL16
Aspiration Turbocharged
Cylinders V16
Top speed 103 miles per hour (165.76 km/h)
Power output 3,000 hp (2,200 kW)
Railroad(s) Amtrak, some leased to SP
Nicknames Pooch
Last run 1992
Disposition All scrapped

The GE P30CH (nicknamed "Pooch" because of the similarity of the designation) was one of the first brand-new Diesel-electric locomotives built for Amtrak in the company's early years. The design was based on the GE U30C, but had a cowl carbody like its EMD competitors. Amtrak operated them from 1974–1992.

Amtrak ordered 25 P30CHs in 1974, following up on its order of 40 EMD SDP40Fs in 1973. The P30CH was the first Amtrak diesel locomotive built from the factory to offer HEP (head end power). The six-axle P30CHs, which cost Amtrak $480,000 each,[1]:105 were plagued with mechanical problems and were never very popular with crews or Amtrak management. In the mid-1970s Amtrak moved away from six-axle designs in favor of four-axle units; four-axle locomotives could better handle routes with numerous curves.[2]:34

Amtrak leased fifteen to the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1978 for use on the Peninsula Commute between San Francisco and San Jose, California.[3]:12 Caltrans leased several P30CHs for its abortive OxnardLos Angeles "CalTrain" commuter service.[4] In the later years of their Amtrak careers, the locomotives were used regularly into the mid-1980s on the Sunset Limited and Auto Train routes.[1]:105 They had their final runs in late 1992; none were preserved.[2]:34

Original owners[edit]

GE produced 25 P30CHs, all of which were delivered to Amtrak:[5]

Original Owner Road Numbers Quantity Builder Numbers Notes
Amtrak 700-724 25 40694-40718 All scrapped


  1. ^ a b Solomon, Brian (2004). Amtrak. Saint Paul, MN: MBI. ISBN 0760317658. OCLC 56490949. 
  2. ^ a b Glischinkski, Steve (September 1994). "Cowls". Pacific Rail News (370): 31–37. 
  3. ^ "AMTRAK GE'S TAKE OVER ESPEE COMMUTER WORK". Pacific News 18 (7): 12–13. July 1978. 
  4. ^ Caldwell, Charles M. (February 1983). "Southern Pacific". Pacific News 22 (2): 12. 
  5. ^ Komanesky, John (October 29, 2010). "GE U30 & P30CH roster". THE DIESEL SHOP: Home to First & Second Generation Locomotives and Motive Power Rosters. Retrieved 2013-02-07. 

External links[edit]