NCDOT F59PH No. 1893 and F59PHI No. 1755 leading a Piedmont.
The EMD F59PH is a four-axle 3,000 hp (2 MW) B-Bdiesel-electriclocomotive built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division in two variants from 1988 to 2001. The original F59PH was designed in consultation with GO Transit for commuter operation in Toronto. The design was successful and became the backbone of GO Transit's fleet for two decades. Another major operator is Southern California's Metrolink, which launched with F59PHs in 1992. Production of the F59PH ended in 1994, with 73 locomotives built.
The F59PHI was designed for Amtrak California intercity service and began production in 1994. It is distinguished from the F59PH by its streamlined cab. A total of 83 F59PHIs were built between 1994–2001, primarily for commuter operators.
Two F59PH locomotives owned by GO Transit at Oakville station. GO has since discontinued the majority of these locomotives but a handful remain in regular service. Several ex-GO units are now operated by other services.
The F59PH was the first in the "F59" series of locomotives. Between May 1988 and May 1994, 73 locomotives were built for two commuter transit railroads: GO Transit of Toronto and Metrolink of Los Angeles.
Many F59PH locomotives are still in use today, mainly on commuter railroads. GO Transit began retiring its F59PH locomotives in 2008 in favor of newer MPI MPXpress locomotives. Currently, only a handful of these units have been rebuilt and remain in service.
Metrolink has rebuilt seven locomotives with an upgraded cooling system, an upgraded 12-710G3Eco Tier 2 engine, and an E-bell, and renaming them F59PHR. Even as Metrolink purchases new locomotives, it intends to keep its upgraded F59PHR units as yard switchers in maintenance facilities. NCDOT 1859 was also rebuilt to the same F59PHR standard in 2018.
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. 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 mph (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.
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.