When built, VIA's F40PHs were some of the last built, and were some of the most advanced. Though classified as -2, their internal systems resemble EMD's Third generation locomotives, such as the SD60.
VIA bought 59 of these locomotives, and numbered them 6400-6458. CN classified these locomotives as GPA-30a/b/c (unrebuilt), and GPA-30d/H (when rebuilt).
The CN class is broken down as follows: General Motors-Electro Motive Division, Passenger, A-unit, 3000 horsepower, a/b/c/d/H (order number, rebuild type (d and H only)
During the 1980's, VIA Rail's inventory of run-down GMD F-units and MLW FA units were in dire need of replacement. Also, VIA's LRC locomotives were also starting to show mechanical and technical problems despite their young age. VIA needed a replacement, and in 1986 approached General Motors Diesel Division, to purchase an initial 20 F40PH locomotives. The initial 20 locomotives were classed GPA-30a.
10 more locomotives would follow in 1987, classed GPA-30b. A final 19 locomotives were ordered in 1989, classed GPA-30c.
The F40PHs built for VIA Rail were powered by a 16-cylinder EMD 645E3C engine, rated for 3000-3200hp. Unlike VIA Rail's older locomotives (excluding the LRC), the F40PH is capable of Head End Power (HEP) generation. At the time of delivery, the HEP was shaft driven by the main engine, which had to be speed locked to 900rpm whenever the HEP was on, and regardless of the speed of the locomotive. HEP generation also reduced traction power greatly; the F40PH only delivers 2400hp in HEP mode for traction.
Once delivered, these locomotives retired many of VIA's GMD F-units and MLW FPA-4s, and also allowed many of the problem-plagued LRC locomotives to be stored, which meant the F40PH would provide almost all of VIA's service.
Capital funding increases in the early 2000s, as well as the delivery of VIA's P42DCs, allowed VIA to refurbish some of its F40PHs. 6400 was the prototype. The prototype was completed in 2006. It featured computerised control systems, as well as a prime mover certified for EPA Tier-0 regulations. It was classified GPA-30d after rebuild. 6400 was later retired after derailing in 2010.
6402 was another prototype. It emerged with the same improvements as 6400, as well as a separate HEP generator for added fuel economy. It was reclassed GPA-30H. VIA then decided to refurbish the remaining F40PHs, based on the improvements of 6402.
The refurbishment project is now complete and all locomotives are currently in service as GPA-30H class locomotives.
The following are specifications for the CAD/VIA Rail F40PH-3D Rebuilds. See the EMD F40PH page for specifications before being rebuilt.
- Length: 56ft 2 inches
- Width: 10ft 7 inches
- Height: 15ft 7.5 inches
- Engine: EMD 16-645E3C-T1
- Power output: 3000-3200hp
- HEP: 800kW alternator driven by separate CAT C18 engine
- Top speed: 95 mph (6437-6458 cannot exceed 90mph)
When delivered, the VIA Rail F40PH was almost identical to Amtrak's F40PHs, although differences are:
- Ditch lights mounted beneath the anti-climber
- Passenger-style pilot
- No MARS light above the cab
- Winterization hatch above the first radiator fan closest to the cab
- Twin-bus HEP receptacles
- Desktop controls (hense the "D" in its name)
- EMD Dash 3 controls (similar to the 50 and 60 series produced by EMD)
- Centre-mounted fuel tank
- CN Cowl unit-style class lights above cab windows
After refurbishment, VIA's F40PH-3Ds can be identified by:
- A bulge near the rear of the locomotive covering the rear walkway, in order to make room for the new HEP generator.
- A quieter idle sound (due to the HEP engine)
- Second, smaller diesel exhaust at the rear of the locomotive (again, due to the HEP engine)
- VIA "Renaissance" scheme
- Third headlight below the original cluster
- Additional K5LLA emergency horn mounted on top of the cab. It is split in two (KS-1, 2, 3A horns in one cluster, KS-1L and KS-4A in another cluster.) The KS-1L bell is of another variation and is shorter.
- CN Class lights removed
VIA currently operates 53 of the 59 F40PHs it recieved in the 1980s. The remaining 6 have been retired after being severely damaged in derailments. The rebuild program is complete and all remaining F40PHs are now rebuilt to -3C standards.
- VIA 6403 was renumbered 6459 in July of 2013 due to VIA wanting to avoid having 6403 "immortalized" after it was featured on the new Canadian $10 bill.