Text and pictures by Edward Brain
In 2005, GO Transit contracted with MPI to build 27 new, class MP40PH-3C locomotives in order to start replacing its fleet of F59PH locomotives which were nearing 20 years, and in order to expand its fleet of locomotives. The new locomotives will be numbered 600-626. The new locomotives are 4000 horsepower with a maximum speed of 93 m.p.h., and can handle 12 car trains, compared to the F59PH locomotives which are 3000 horsepower, have a maximum speed of 83 m.p.h., and are limited to pulling a 10 car consist. The MP40PH-3C locomotives are also more environmentally friendly and are more fuel-efficient than the F59PHs.
MPI commenced delivery of the MP40PH-3C locomotives in late 2007, and the locomotives will be broken in with the assistance of an F59PH, and then will be let loose on their own. GO will receive the locomotives in stages over several months, with #602 being the first to have seen action on its own in February 2008.
GO will place the MP40PH-3C locomotives in operation first on the Lakeshore East and West Lines, and on the Milton Line where many platforms have been extended to handle the new 12 car trains, and there is limited opportunity to increase the number of trains along those lines. Once implemented, GO will be providing its customers with some of the longest commuter trains anywhere in Canada or the United States.
The MP40PH-3C will sport a similar paint scheme to the F59PH, but will have a more sleek appearance.
GO Transit received the last of the 27 locomotives at the beginning of 2009. All GO trains on the Milton Line are now running with 12 cars and have an MP40PH-3C proving the power.
The Board of GO Transit were so impressed with the MP40PH-3C that at their July 2008 Board meeting, they agreed to place another order with MPI for an additional 20 MP40PH-3C locomotives to be numbered #627 to #646. Delivery of these locomotives is expected to begin in late 2009 and continue into 2010.
With the introduction of the MP40PH-3C locomotives, GO has been able to start retiring some of its older F59PH locomotives. By the beginning of 2009, eight of the older F59PH locomotives - in the #520 to #535 series - have been retired, with seven of those locomotives being offered for sale to any interested parties. More F59PH locomotives are expected to be retired in the near future, especially after GO Transit starts to receive the second order of MP40PH-3C locomotives.