The General Electric P32-8BWH is a type of four-axle, 3,200hp diesel locomotive which was produced during December 1991 specially for Amtrak with only 20 units built. The locomotive is a modified B40-8W with passenger capabilities, having HEP for powering electricity in coaches. All 20 still remain in service, but are scheduled to be retired in 2014 (excluding the Amtrak California units) as the 29 remaining P40DC units (those not upgraded to P42DC standards) will now be used for back-up service.
History The GE P32-8BWH was one of the first modern passenger diesel locomotives produced by GE, which were built as compensation for the late development of the GE AMD-103 (P40DC) Genesis type passenger locomotive which was finally introduced in late 1991 and delivered from 1992 onwards. Nevertheless this Dash 8 model was involved in part of the initial success of GE's Dash 8 series or sales which helped boosted GE's income and market-share.
All 20 P32-8BWH units produced were originally supposed to be the actual original 20 P40DC production model units built for Amtrak. These units; however, were instead delivered as a modified form of a B40-8W (having a B40-8's carbody, shell, cab, design, etc.) and served as a "tie-over" as a result of a dispute with Krupp and GE realizing that the production schedule would be delayed because of the complicity of designing a bodyshell that was both lightweight, compact; yet had enough room for storing the prime mover, HEP equipment; and (in the case of the P32AC-DM), dual-mode equipment for such capabilities (though, the P32-8BWH itself was originally used as a demonstrator to demonstrate the Genesis locomotive's capabilities before becoming a dubbed a "tie-over").
- The P32-8BWH was delivered in a unique scheme which ironically resembled one of the previous designs used for Pepsi soda cans. Hence, the term or nickname "Pepsi Cans" which was used by railfans and employees.
- P32-8BWH units were once commonly used on numerous long-distance passenger trains, but now currently serve as switching and backup units.
- Two units are also currently used for Amtrak California's service; 501 and 502, renumbered to 2051 and 2052. Both units have received various versions of the Amtrak California scheme as well.
- The P32-8BWH has received the same style Phase V scheme as most of the other units owned by Amtrak. None are painted in the original "Pepsi Can" scheme anymore. Some still wear Phase IV, but most have been repainted to Phase V.
- The original upper strobe lights (seen above the cab windshields to the side) were removed by 2001 as with Amtrak's original fleet of P40DC (AMD-103) units. The P32-8BWH and P40DC had strobe lights and an emergency oscillating red light (seen in the middle above the cab windshields) originally, but crews disliked the bright flash of the strobes, Amtrak also removed the oscillating red light because marker lights served the same purpose, and were less maintanece. Currently the locomotives, have headlights, ditch lights, and marker lights.
- Most Amtrak locomotives have a Nathan K5LA horn, but a few wear the Canadian tuned K5L.
- Two additional units were also proposed to be built (making the total production for the model being 22) to demonstrate to various commuter railroads, yet the further development and success leading towards the AMD-103 Genesis side-lined the initial proposal.