From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Amtrak 712 with a Peninsula Commute train, October 1978.jpg
Amtrak #712 in Southern Pacific service on the Peninsula Commute in 1978.
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderGE Transportation Systems
Build date1975-76
Total produced25
 • UICCo′Co′
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
TrucksGE 3-axle floating bolster
Wheel diameter40 in (1,016 mm)
Minimum curve29° (199.70 ft or 60.87 m)
Wheelbase46 ft 0 in (14.02 m) locomotive
13 ft 7 in (4.14 m) truck
Length72 ft 4 in (22.05 m)
Width10 ft 8.8 in (3.27 m)
Height15 ft 4 12 in (4.69 m)
Axle load64,333.33 lb (29,181 kilograms)
Adhesive weight100%
Loco weight386,000 lb (175,087 kg)
Fuel typeDiesel
Fuel capacity3,600 US gal (14,000 L; 3,000 imp gal)
Lubricant cap.380 US gal (1,400 L; 320 imp gal)
Water cap385 US gal (1,460 L; 321 imp gal)
Sandbox cap.56 cu ft (1.59 m3)
Prime moverGE 7FDL16
RPM range450-1050
Engine typeV16 diesel
Displacement175.2 liters (10,690 cu in)
Traction motors6x GE 752 DC traction motors
Cylinder size10.95 liters (668 cu in)
Transmission75:28 gearing
MU workingYes
Train heatingLocomotive-supplied head-end power rated at 750 kW (1,010 hp)
Loco brakePneumatic (26L) & Dynamic
Train brakesPneumatic
Performance figures
Maximum speed103 miles per hour (165.76 km/h)
Power output3,000 hp (2,200 kW)
Tractive effort58,980 lbf (262 kN) @ 14.7 mph (23.7 km/h)
OperatorsAmtrak, some leased to SP
Last run1992
DispositionAll scrapped by the early 1990s

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 by General Electric during Amtrak'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. A breakdown of the P30CH name reveals its full name:

  • P - Passenger locomotive
  • 30 - 3000 horsepower engine
  • C - C-C wheel arrangement
  • H - Head-End Power (HEP)

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) in the form of 2 Detroit Diesel generator sets, each rated at 375 kW. The six-axle P30CHs, which cost Amtrak $480,000 each,[3]: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.[4]:34 Ultimately the four-axle EMD F40PHs quickly began to supersede the P30CHs soon after their introduction by Amtrak.

Amtrak leased fifteen to the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1978 for use on the Peninsula Commute between San Francisco and San Jose, California.[5]:12 Caltrans leased several P30CHs for its abortive OxnardLos Angeles "CalTrain" commuter service.[6] In 1979 P30CH #715 was involved in a collision with an Illinois Central freight train, 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.[3]:105 They had their final runs in late 1992; Sadly, None of the 25 examples were preserved.[4]:34

Original owners[edit]

GE produced 25 P30CHs, all of which were delivered to Amtrak:[7]

Original Owner Road Numbers Quantity Builder Numbers Notes
Amtrak 700-724 25 40694-40718 15 units leased to Southern Pacific in 1978. 715 destroyed at Harvey, IL in 1979.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-04-29. Retrieved 2015-04-29.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Solomon, Brian (2004). Amtrak. Saint Paul, Minnesota: MBI. ISBN 978-0-7603-1765-5.
  4. ^ a b Glischinkski, Steve (September 1994). "Cowls". Pacific Rail News. No. 370. pp. 31–37. Archived from the original on 2014-09-12.
  5. ^ "Amtrak GEs Take over Espee Commuter Work". Pacific RailNews. Vol. 18 no. 7. July 1978. pp. 12–13. Archived from the original on 2014-09-12.
  6. ^ Caldwell, Charles M. (February 1983). "Southern Pacific". Pacific RailNews. Vol. 22 no. 2. p. 12. Archived from the original on 2014-09-11.
  7. ^ Komanesky, John (October 29, 2010). "GE U30 & P30CH roster". The Diesel Shop. Retrieved 2013-02-07.

External links[edit]