A GE Dash 8-32BWH leading the Sunset Limited through Cade, Louisiana in 2010.

(Leo W. Persick Jr., CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)



The GE Dash 8-32BWH, also known as the P32-8BWH, B32-8WH, or P32-8, is a passenger train locomotive used by Amtrak, based on GE's Dash 8 series of freight train locomotives. Built in 1991, they were the first locomotives purchased to replace the veteran EMD F40PH.


Amtrak 511, a GE Dash 8-32BWH at Tampa Union Station, May 10, 2014.

(Walter from Tampa/St Petersburg, Florida, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)



The Dash 8-32BWH operates in a diesel-electric configuration that uses DC to power the traction motors, the 7FDL-V12 diesel engine produces 3,200 hp (2,400 kW) at 1047 rpm. When providing head end power to the train, the engine is speed locked to 900 rpm. Power output to the traction motors is 2,700 hp (2,000 kW) when running in HEP mode with a 0 kW HEP load. Traction horsepower decreases to 1,685 hp (1,257 kW) when providing the maximum 800 kW (1,100 hp) HEP load to the train.

The Dash 8-32BWH has a 74:29 gear ratio, resulting in a maximum operating speed of 103 mph (166 km/h) in passenger operation.


Long hood view of Amtrak California (CDTX) locomotive No. 2052.

(Pi.1415926535, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)



Twenty of these locomotives were delivered to Amtrak in 1991, numbered 500 through 519. They were nicknamed "Pepsi Cans" by many railfans, due to being delivered in a wide-striped red, white, and blue livery. Since the most recent overhaul, however, the locomotives now wear the Phase V livery.

The Dash 8-32BWH has since been relegated to yard switching (mainly in Los Angeles, Oakland, Chicago, Miami, and the Auto Train terminals), maintenance of way service, and transfer service, displaced by the newer and more powerful GE Genesis and Siemens Charger. However, the Dash–8s occasionally substitute for the Genesis and Charger units if necessary. The Los Angeles-based units see frequent use on the Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner, and many are also frequently used on Amtrak's Cascades service. The East Coast-based units back up the routes in and out of Washington DC, sometimes running on the Cardinal, Crescent, Silver Service, Pennsylvanian (for units based in Philadelphia), or the Virginia segment of the Northeast Regional.

Two of the locomotives, 501 and 502, were sold to the California Department of Transportation. The locomotives were renumbered 2051 and 2052, and received the Amtrak California paint scheme. They are used on the San Joaquin and Capitol Corridor trains.



Type and origin
Power type: Diesel-electric
Builder: GE Transportation Systems
Model: Dash 8-32BWH
Build date: 1990–1991
Total produced: 20
​• AAR B-B
• UIC Bo'Bo'
Gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Trucks: General Electric Floating Bolster (FB2)
Wheel diameter: 40 in (1,016 mm)
Minimum curve: 150 ft (46 m) / 39° (single unit); 175 ft (53 m) / 33° (coupled)
Wheelbase: 39 ft 8 in (12.09 m) (between truck centers)
Length: 66 ft 4 in (20.22 m)
Width: 9 ft 11+1⁄4 in (3.029 m)
Height: 15 ft 4 in (4.67 m)
Axle load: 79,148.3 lb (35,901 kg)
Adhesive weight: 100%
Locomotive weight: 274,890 lb (124,688 kg)
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel capacity: 1,800 US gal (6,800 L; 1,500 imp gal)
Lubricant capacity: 365 US gal (1,380 L; 304 imp gal)
Coolant capacity: 350 US gal (1,300 L; 290 imp gal)
Sandbox capacity: 26 cubic feet (740 L)
Prime mover: GE 7FDL-12
RPM range: 400-1,050 (720 or 900 when supplying HEP)
Engine type: 45° V12, four stroke cycle
Aspiration: Turbocharged
Displacement: 131.4 liters (8,020 cu in)
Alternator: GMG 195A1
Traction motors: 4 GE 752AH DC traction motors
Head end power: Alternator-driven head-end power (GTA 33A1)
Cylinders: 12
Cylinder size: 10.95 liters (668 cu in)
Transmission: AC-DC
MU working: Yes
Train heating: Locomotive-supplied head-end power, 800 kW (1,100 hp)
Locomotive brake: Dynamic / Electropneumatic
Train brakes: Pneumatic
Safety systems: FRA standards; ACSES II
Performance figures
Maximum speed: 103 mph (166 km/h)
Power output: 3,200 hp (2.4 MW)
Tractive effort: Continuous: 38,500 lbf (17,500 kgf) @26 mph (42 km/h)
Factor of adhesion: 4.472
Operators: Amtrak, Amtrak California
Road Numbers: 500–519 (Amtrak)
Road Numbers: 2051–2052 (Caltrans)
Nicknames: Pepsi Cans
Locale: United States
Delivered: 1991
Disposition: Operational, used primarily for yard switching and backup motive power (Amtrak)
San Joaquin and Capitol Corridor trains (Caltrans)