GE P30CH Review

Hello, one and all. Welcome back to another review. To close out Amtrak Month, we will review the GE model P30CH.
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The General Electric model P30CH (nicknamed Pooch) was the second diesel locomotive rostered by Amtrak. They were built from 1975 to 1976 and were numbered from 700 to 724.

History

 

In 1973, Amtrak ordered the EMD model SDP40F (which I will review in July for the second Amtrak Month of 2017). The locomotives were problematic, but reliable to a certain extent. However Amtrak wanted another locomotive, so in 1974, they ordered the P30CH. Unlike the SDP40F, which was built with steam heat capabilities (but could be converted to Head End Power), the P30CH was the first Amtrak locomotive to be built with HEP. Like the SDP40F, the P30CH was based off of a freight diesel (SDP40F based off the EMD FP45) which was the GE U30C Universal Series freight locomotive (but with a cowl body). Like the SDP40F, despite some advancements, Amtrak didn’t have much success with them. Mechanical problems plagued them to no end. They were not liked by management or crews and very problematic due to their six axles and them working on some routes that utilized sharper curves. This along with other problems doomed the P30CH. They lasted until 1992 mainly working on routes like the Auto Train and Sunset Limited, which were straighter so they could work a lot better, but still maintenance headaches. Despite problems, they did find other work. CalTrans and Southern Pacific used them as well. CalTrans leased them for use on the short lived CalTrain Oxnard – Los Angeles Service plus Southern Pacific leased some on the San Francisco – San Jose commuter service (now done by Caltrain). By 1992, the more reliable EMD F40PH killed off the P30CH and soon were gone. There are NO survivors.

Normally, I’d do an initial thoughts and go into some randomness, but I never saw one in person except for one from a casual glance, but it was at speed so I didn’t get a chance to get a good look at them.

Final Thoughts

 

While the P30CH was an innovation, the locomotive was a pain in the ass that never was a real big success. Today, the P30CH is just a memory and a stepping stone in Amtrak’s locomotive history. And that concludes Amtrak Month, next month is High Speed Rail Month, looking at high speed trains. But, don’t worry, Amtrak Month will resume in July with the first subject being the EMD AEM-7. Until next time, this is Jessica K, out.

GE P32ACDM Review

Hello, one and all. Welcome to another review. Continuing with Amtrak Month (the unofficial name), we will review Amtrak’s current dual mode locomotive, the GE P32ACDM.

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The General Electric model P32ACDM is a dual mode locomotive built by General Electric for both Amtrak and the Metro North Commuter Railroad in New York. They are one of two diesel locomotives currently built for North America railroads that are capable of running as third rail locomotives in the current day (the other is the EMD DM30AC used on the Long Island Rail Road).

HISTORY

Prior to the P32ACDM, Amtrak and Metro North both used the aging EMD model FL9, a diesel tracing back to the days of the New Haven. Although reliable, the FL9’s were getting old and needed replacement.
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Eventually Amtrak consulted with GE for a replacement that was dual mode since there aren’t fans to ventilate diesel exhaust in New York. Thus we got the P32ACDM which allowed the retirement of the FL9. Today, Amtrak and Metro North use them to no end. If you want to know about more history, see http://www.american-rails.com/nyc-electrification.html.

Initial Thoughts

From first glance, I’m not keen on the P32ACDM, but considering the job they have to do, I respect them. Without them, trains couldn’t get into New York without the use of overhead wire, or a rather lengthy reroute to the Northeast Corridor. Other than that, I find them okay locomotives.

Final Thoughts

While I’m not big on the P32ACDM, they play a pivotal role in moving trains in and out of New York on the ex-New York Central and a portion of the ex-New Haven. Until next time, this is Jessica K, out.