The EMD F59PHI is a quasi-high speed locomotive produced by Electro-Motive Division (EMD) from 1994 to 2001. It features an isolated cab, lightweight body, and a streamlined shape, features that were absent on the original commuter F59PH.
First built for the California Department of Transportation, the F59PHI has seen service in all four corners of America, as well as in the Pacific Northwest/Montreal area in Canada.
In 1990, the State of California passed a bill that would result in massive funding for the state transportation systems. It also resulted in a separate, state funded system of regional Amtrak routes.
CDoT wanted a locomotive that was both reliable and attractive. They approached EMD, who responded with the lightweight, high-speed F59PHI locomotive.
Soon after, more orders arrived. Amtrak ordered 21 of these locomotives for their Pacific Sufliner service (separate from Amtrak California), and the North Carolina Department of Transportation also selected it as their primary motive power. West Coast Express (operated by TransLink) in Metro Vancouver, also selected it for starting up its service.
Montreal's Agence de Metropolitaine de Transport bought 11 of these locomoties to go with their Bombardier BiLevel coaches, which were just arriving.
The F59PHI was produced until 2001. It was taken off of EMD's lineup because it wasn't able to meet the latest FRA and TIer-1 regulations.
Some of Amtrak California's F59PHI's have bee rebuilt by EMD, these are ECO repowers.
Differences between the F59PHI and the original F59PHEdit
The differences between these two locomotives are only skin-deep. Most features introduced on the F59PH, like the separate HEP genset, were carried over to the F59PHI. However, differences include:
- A lighter, streamlined body (made of fibreglass and composite material)
- An increase in horsepower (12V710G3C engine compared to te F59PH's 12V710G3A)
- This unit has 3200hp compared to the F59PH's 3000hp
- Isolated cab (hence the "I" in its designation)
- Increased speed (max speed: 110mph)