GO Transit F59PH No. 529 leaving Toronto, ON in October of 2007.

(Adolch at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)



The EMD F59PH is a four-axle 3,000 hp (2 MW) B-B diesel-electric locomotive built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division from 1988 to 1994. A variant, the F59PHI, was produced from 1994 to 2001. The F59PH was originally built for GO Transit commuter operation in the Toronto region. Metrolink in Southern California also purchased a fleet for its 1992 launch. The streamlined F59PHI was designed for Amtrak California intercity service. A total of 72 F59PH and 83 F59PHI locomotives were built.



Between May 1988 and May 1994, 72 F59PH locomotives were built for two commuter transit railroads: GO Transit of Toronto and Metrolink of Los Angeles. Based on the GP59, the locomotives had a turbocharged EMD 12-710G3A, a 12-cylinder, two-stroke Diesel engine (prime mover). Head end power was supplied by a separate diesel generator.

GO Transit began retiring its F59PH locomotives in 2008 in favor of newer MPI MPXpress locomotives. Most were purchased by other operators including Exo (10 locomotives), Metra (3), NCDOT (11) for use on the Piedmont, and Trinity Railway Express (7). Five of the NCDOT units were rebuilt into cab control units without prime movers.

Seven Metrolink units were rebuilt as F59PHR. The non-rebuilt Metrolink locomotives were retired by 2020. Five of those were purchased by NCDOT in 2018.


Original owners

Owner Number Year built Unit numbers
GO Transit 49 1988–1994 520–568
Metrolink 23 1992–1993 851–873

A Caltrans-owned F59PHI locomotive on an Amtrak Capitol Corridor train in 2010.

(nick fullerton from 'Vallejo, USA, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)



The F59PHI is a variant with a fully enclosed streamlined carbody. The first nine units were purchased by Caltrans for use on Amtrak California services and entered service in 1994. Like the F59PH, the F59PHI is equipped with a secondary electrical generator – rated between 500 and 750 kW (670 and 1,010 hp) – for HEP. A total of 83 locomotives were built, most for commuter rail and Amtrak corridor services on the West Coast.

Two F59PHI locomotives were built in 1995 for Philip Morris Companies to haul the Marlboro Unlimited, a custom built luxury train to carry winners of a Philip Morris sweepstakes around the country. After Philip Morris cancelled the train, the units were stored before being sold to Metrolink in 1998.

Some units are still in service with the original owners, while others have been retired. The 21 ex-Amtrak units were sold to Metra in 2018.


Original owners

Owner Number Year built Unit numbers
Amtrak (for Pacific Surfliner and Cascades) 21 1998 450–470
Caltrans (for San Joaquin and Capitol Corridor) 9 1994 2001–2009
Caltrans (for San Joaquin and Capitol Corridor) 6 2001 2010–2015
Exo 11 2000–2001 1320–1330
Metrolink 10 1995 874–883
Metrolink 4 2001 884–887
NCDOT (for Piedmont) 2 1998 1755, 1797
North County Transit District (Coaster) 2 2001 3001–3002
Sound Transit (Sounder Commuter Rail) 11 1998–2001 901–911
Trinity Railway Express 2 2001 569–570
West Coast Express 5 1995 901–905


Type and origin
Power type: Diesel-electr:ic
Builder: Electro-Motive Division (EMD)
Build date: 1988 to 1994 (F59PH)
Build date: 1994 to 2001 (F59PHI)
Total produced 72 (F59PH); 83 (F59PHI)
​• AAR B-B
• UIC Bo'Bo'
Gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length F59PH: 58 ft 2 in (17.73 m)
Length F59PHI: 58 ft 7 in (17.86 m)
Prime mover: EMD 12-710G3A (F59PH)
Prime mover: EMD 12-710G3C-EC (F59PHI)
Cylinders: 12
Performance figures
Maximum speed: 110 mph (177 km/h) (F59PHI)
Power output: F59PH: 3,000 hp (2.24 MW)
Power output: F59PHI: 3,200 hp (2.4 MW)
Locale: Canada, United States