EMD "F40PH" Locomotives

The EMD F40PH saw the F series again in production as the builder did not catalog a model between 1957 and 1967, when the FP45 was constructed. By the time the F40PH was debuted, however, the industry had long since bailed on passenger service and the model was only purchased by Amtrak or commuter agencies. The original intent of the model was to replace the Electro-Motive Division SDP40F model, which had proved unsuccessful in operation with Amtrak. While never on a sales level approaching early first generation models like the FT, F3, or F7 the F40PH did sell relatively well as they became a quite common sight leading Amtrak trains for years.  Interestingly, the F40PH proved so successful on Amtrak that numerous other commuter agencies ultimately purchased it. 

Although today Amtrak has since retired or sold virtually its entire fleet of F40PHs, several commuter agencies continue to use the model for to power their trains and they still remain a relatively common locomotive in such service.

Go Transit F40PH #510 works commuter service on Canadian National's Kingston Subdivision near the Scarborough Golf Club in Toronto during March, 1981. Roger Puta photo.

The EMD F40PH began production in early 1976. It was a four-axle, B-B truck design that featured GM's latest 16-cylinder model 645E3 prime mover (EMD began using this engine with the FP45 of 1967), which could produce 3,000 horsepower early on, nearly double that of early first generation F models. The F40PH used GM's D77 traction motors, although interesting it produced a bit less continuous tractive effort than early Fs at just over 38,000 pounds (however, its starting effort was much higher, 65,000). Amtrak received its first order of 30 F40PHs between March and April, 1976 (numbered 200-229). These first 30 were rated at 3,000 horsepower while all future units, as well as those ordered by other agencies came rated at 3,200 horsepower. Additionally, the F40PH was capable of speeds of up to 103 mph but the locomotive was never actually operated that fast.

Amtrak F40PH's that have seen better days with what appears to be the "Capitol Limited" at Hyndman, Pennsylvania during July of 1988. Wade Massie photo.

The EMD F40PH (which should not be confused with the F40C model, built solely from the Milwaukee Road in early 1974 for use in commuter service) was initially developed for use by Amtrak, as it needed to replace its fleet of SDP40Fs, which were only a few years old at the time but were not reliable in passenger service. Additionally, the SDP40Fs were under suspicion due to a number of early derailments along with the fact that Amtrak never liked how the locomotives rode while in service. In contrast the F40PH proved to be a quite reliable locomotive in its intended service and Amtrak ultimately purchased more than 400 units. Interestingly, EMD initially based the F40PH from its very successful GP40 series of the mid-1960s (its variants remained in production until the mid-1980s) that used a four-axle setup rather than six.

Metra F40PH #122, the "Village of Deerfield," proudly waves a Wabash flag as it sits in Manhattan, Illinois on October 5, 1996. Wade Massie photo.

When production had ended on the F40PH in February, 1988 Amtrak owned 210 units (200-409). Other agencies to pick up the EMD F40PH included the Regional Transportation Authority (100-173), Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (1000-1017), and New Jersey Transit (4113-4129). Also not listed below are the variants of the model built through 1992 including the F40PH-2 (purchased by Caltrans, 900-919, and the Regional Transportation Authority, 174-184), F40PHM-2 (bought by the RTA, 185-214), F40PH-2C (bought by the RTA, 1050-1075), and the F40PH-2M (purchased by Speno Rail Services, S1-S4). Altogether, including variants, there were 398 F40PHs constructed by EMD.

A pair of Amtrak's F40PH's have the "Coast Starlight" above San Luis Obispo, California in March, 1985. Roger Puta photo.

EMD F40PH Production Roster

Owner Road Number(s) Quantity Date Built
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority1000-1017181978-1980
New Jersey Transit4113-4129171981
Regional Transportation Authority100-173741977-1983

F40PH-2 Production Roster

Owner Road Number(s) Quantity Date Built
Regional Transportation Authority174-184111989

F40PHM-2 Production Roster

Owner Road Number(s) Quantity Date Built
Regional Transportation Authority185-214301992

F40PH-2C Production Roster

Owner Road Number(s) Quantity Date Built
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority1050-1075261987-1988

F40PH-2M Production Roster

Owner Road Number(s) Quantity Date Built
Speno Rail ServicesS1-S441982-1985

A pair of CalTrain F40PHs speed past a searchlight signal at Oak Hill near San Jose, California during June of 1991. The author notes that this section of the line has since been double-tracked. Drew Jacksich photo.

The F40PH could be seen powering almost any Amtrak train between the late 1970s through the late 2000s until the railroad's new GE-built "Genesis" models (the P42DC, BP40-8, and P32AC-DM) began to take over most routes. While Amtrak has since sold or retired its fleet of F40PHs most are either used on other commuter systems (such as VIA, MBTA, Tri-Rail, CalTrain, NJ Transit, Metra, Metrolink and others) or preserved in museums. Even CSX Transportation uses four F40PH-2s for use on its business train; 9992, 9993, 9998, and 9999. Only Go-Rail of Canada is known to have since sold its fleet. The two F40PHs known to be preserved today include Amtrak #281 at the California State Railway Museum and Amtrak #307 at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer. 


Header Photo: Drew Jacksich

Researching Rights-Of-Way

A popular pastime for many is studying and/or exploring abandoned rights-of-way.  Today, there are tens of thousands of miles scattered throughout the country.  Many were pulled up in the 1970's and 1980's although others were removed long before that.  If you are researching active or abandoned corridors you might want to check out the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) Historical Topographic Map Explorer.  It is an excellent resource with thousands of historic maps on file throughout the country.  Just type in a town or city and click on the timeline of maps at the bottom of the page!

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You will be hard pressed at finding a better online resource regarding diesel locomotives than Craig Rutherford's TheDieselShop.us.  The website contains everything from historic (fallen flags) to contemporary (Class I's, regionals, short lines, and even some museums/tourist lines) rosters, locomotive production information, technical data, all notable models cataloged by the five major builders (American Locomotive, Electro-Motive, General Electric, Fairbanks-Morse, and Baldwin), and much more.  A highly recommended database!

Electro-Motive Database

In 1998 a gentleman by the name of Andre Kristopans put together a web page highlighting virtually every unit every out-shopped by General Motors' Electro-Motive Division.  Alas, in 2013 the site closed by thankfully Don Strack rescued the data and transferred it over to his UtahRails.net site (another fine resource).  If you are researching anything EMD related please visit this page first.  The information includes original numbers, serials, and order numbers.