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,: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.:34 This came as a result of a number of derailments involving the P30CH locomotive, which both Amtrak and the NTSB could not track down the cause of. In all such derailments, the coach directly following the locomotive derailed, and the only common factor in these accidents was the presence of the P30CH locomotive. It has been theorized that the derailments dealt with the manner in which the P30CH "tracked" or followed the profile of the rail, but to this date the cause of the derailments remains a mystery.