The GE (General Electric) Genesis Series (trademarked: GENESIS) is a series of 3,200hp,
4,000hp (or 4,250hp) four-axle passenger diesel locomotives produced from 1993 to 2001.
They were initially intended for Amtrak, though other transit carriers such as Via Rail, Metro-North (MN), and New Jersey Transit (NJT or NJ Transit), have received and acquired units (including some from Amtrak).
Exactly 321 were built: 44 P40DC's, 228 P42DC's, and 18 P32AC-DM's.
In the early 1990s, Amtrak partnered with GE to design a revolutionary and modern passenger diesel locomotive intended to begin a whole new generation of motive power technology (thus, being dubbed "Genesis"; however, phrased in a "new beginning" context) for high-speed passenger rail service. Though, despite being the large corporation that GE has been for the past century and a half, the company unfortunately didn't have the reference material used to design a simple, basic, and "forward-looking" locomotive like Amtrak wanted, nor did they have the right design engineers to fully integrate the technology into the design. So, they turned to Krupp (a German firm who were responsible for the success of the ICE-1 body design), and succeeded (despite minor set-backs which delayed the debut of the new locomotive) in developing a unique, innovative, and now-iconic "monocoque" streamlined design for the newly-dubbed "Amtrak Diesel 103mph", or the AMD-103 (or P40DC; although originally designated as the Dash 8-40PB, Dash 8-40BWH, and so forth per GE's classification system), which was built specifically for Amtrak to replace their aging and costly EMD F40PH fleet.
The P40DC instantly became one of the very first successful models of passenger diesel locomotives ever built by GE upon its introduction (excluding modified freight diesel locomotive models such as the U34CH or P32-8BWH); considering that they were never really specialists when it came to passenger motive power in the past. Mechanically, the model was once considered to be the passenger version of a B40-8W (Dash 8), because of it's 16-cylinder 7FDL engine, 752 series traction motors, and Dash 8-era microprocessor controls; yet the P32-8BWH was practically the passenger version of the B40-8; minus the prescence of a 16-cylinder engine (having a 7FDL-12). In other words, when the P40DC was first introduced, it was considered to be part of GE's Dash 8 line, for the line itself served as the foundation for the locomotive model rather than being an entirely separate entitity. Though, the preceding model (the P32-8BWH) originally served as a hold-over as well as a tech-based testbed due to complications regarding GE and Krupp's designs and performances.
P32AC-DM and P42DC
The second model; the 12-cylinder, AC-traction, "dual-mode" P32AC-DM, was first introduced in 1995 as part of the "Genesis II" subline, thus making the AMD-103 or P40DC part of the newly-dubbed "Genesis I" main line. Though, despite the 16-cylinder P40DC being part of said line, it was eventually replaced with the faster, more advanced, and improved 4,250hp P42DC ("Genesis III") which included updated electronics and controls as well as electronic brakes (as opposed to being simply mechanical like with the preceding models) from the Dash 9 line; which, ironically was introduced during the exact same time as the P40DC's debut in 1993 (hence often being dubbed as the Dash 9-42PB, Dash 9-P42B, or simply the B42-9BWH, P42-9B, and so forth). Thus, after the P42DC's initial success in 1996, the model initially replaced the P40DC from GE's order catalog, and subsequent orders of Genesis units placed by Amtrak (and later customers such as VIA) were filled with the recent P42DC model opposed to the previous model.
Amtrak originally ordered the first 10 P32AC-DM's for service on their "Empire" trains through Long Island, NY to replace their aged FL9 and Turboliner trainsets. Although somewhat unnecessary (due to Amtrak's Acela Express and Northeast Corridor service), Amtrak opted to only purchase an additional handful of P32AC-DM units as a result of there being a small lack of passenger service coverage in certain areas around New Haven and Boston (besides the Long Island, New York region); where commuter railroads (such as the MBTA) originally weren't able to serve such areas at the time. Yet, because of numerous expansions and improvements with such commuter systems over the past two and a half-decades, Amtrak trains are now only occasionally seen in such areas from time to time. Thus, making Amtrak's P32AC-DM units a rarity to see too much anymore elsewhere nowadays besides on their "Empire" commuter trains.
Amtrak also ordered a second batch of units, but eventually sold over half of their second order in 1996 to the Metro North before their second purchase was even finalized; making the proposed order of an additional 15 units narrowed-down to only 8, making the total 18 as opposed to 25, although the MN also ordered 5 for trial service the same year as well, and was originally interested in using such units for their commuter service (the MN still continues to use such units today). Today, the MN currently owns and operates 26 P32-AC-DM units (which includes 5 trial units, 7 units donated from Amtrak, and further batches supplementing more units). Amtrak currently owns and operates 18 P32AC-DM units.
Many Genesis have been built and currently still exist, though some have been retired, while some have been scrapped and/or rebuild as a result of numerous wrecks and/or maintenance issues. They are currently used as the main type of locomotive for Amtrak.
Ironically, VIA uses Genesis Series locomotives as their secondary locomotives, and still primarily utilizes their fleets of various EMD F40PH diesels as their primary units (unlike Amtrak).
Several of Amtrak's former original P40DC units (12 total) have since been sold and/or leased to the CDOT (Connecticut Commuter Rail/Connecticut Department of Transportation) transportation service RTA as well as the New Jersey Transit (NJT). The units owned by the NJT have also been rebuilt into what are dubbed as P32AC-DM's, but are still classified as P40DC's (or as a P42DC due to having been upgraded or rebuilt to P42 specs). NJT operates 4 ex-Amtrak P40DC's, while CDOT operates 8.
A major part of the unique (and rather "unorthodox") design of the Genesis line is the height. Designed to be lower than the preceding EMD F40PH, the Genesis series is 14" (356mm), 6" tall, and is 10 feet wide; making it a foot shorter and more than two inches narrower than most freight locomotives (including cowled diesels like the preceding F40PH and SDP40F in relation to the F45/FP45). Said design is also meant to comply with most narrow spaces throughout Amtrak's "North Eastern" route tunnels, which are far more shorter and more narrow than the other tunnels scattered throughout the railroad's system.. This makes the Genesis series the only Amtrak locomotives that can operate on all their lines in their system (even on electrified or third-rail lines like in the Northeast Corridor). Hence, they have since become the primary locomotive used for Amtrak; serving as an ultimate replacement for their once-dominant F40PH.
To create the low-profile, streamlined shape; GE and Krupp designed the GENESIS series of monocoque (or single-piece) construction. Its aerodynamics give it 22% more fuel efficiency, better crew safety (being classified as a "safety-cab" like with modern freight diesels) as well as comfort; containing special insulation to reduce engine noise, and it also produces 25% more tractive effort than the F40PH (thus, being some of the many reasons for its replacement on Amtrak's system) as well as consuming a less amount of fuel due to its special ability to run its HEP generator without having the engineer run full throttle on notch 8 (thereby making it more fuel-efficient than an F40PH). The Genesis locomotives do run at the same RPM as the F40PH, however. The 7-FDL16 prime mover is run at 900 rpm to create the 480-volt, 60 Hz electric current for HEP. Unlike the F40PH, 900 rpm is notch 7 on the Genesis locomotives (former Amtrak shop employee Douglas Allen).
The down-side of having the single-piece construction, is that it makes the locomotive more costly and tedious to maintain. Forcing Amtrak to install bolt-on nose cones in case of a collision or to replace or rewire cicuits for the locomotive's electronics on their original P40DC or AMD-103 units. Hence, the development of the P42DC; the improved and upgraded version of the original AMD-103 or P40DC, led to a better design to provide easier access for maintenance purposes (which also proved to be faster and more reliable, as well as having a quicker speed momentum; which was originally named so because of having a capability of traveling at speeds up to 110mph as opposed to just 103mph).
As modern and high-tech as these locomotives are, they were often disliked by more traditional passenger railroads upon production (such as Ferromex with their Chepe train; yet the company has since purchased more advanced and modern AC-traction freight locomotives from GE for their freight operations like every other major North American rail system). Several Latin American railroads and railways have tested Genesis Series locomotives for passenger service, yet still prefer using their original ALCO and EMD diesels for primary use (also due in-part to lower funding, considering how expensive Genesis locomotives were at the time).
The main ways of distinguishing between a P40DC (AMD-103) from a P42DC and a P32AC-DM is by:
- The length of the actual body or streamlined "shell" of the actual locomotive (P42's and P32's are slightly shorter than most P40's)
- The height of the windows (besides there also being a small window to the conductors side of the rear of the long hood, next to the rear door. Amtrak removed this window in rebuild P40DC units, including the "bar" lights as seen above the windows in earlier photos prior to the P32AC-DM and P42DC's debut).
- The size or style of the trucks (most notably on the P32AC-DM)
- All P-32 AC/DMS are able to go into 3rd rail. The transformer for the 3rd rail is painted red with a High Voltage sticker on it.
- P32AC-DM's have a different style of trucks and include carbody utilities shown underneath of the "shell" to utilize its special "dual-mode" equipment; via a drop-down third rail shoe.
- The two lower vents near the rear of the locomotive are bigger on a P32AC-DM than that of other Genesis units.
- The rear power outlets are placed lower on a P32AC-DM than on the traditional DC-traction models.
- All P32AC-DM units lack the rear door on the back of the locomotive, making access to the back impossible.
- Several P40 and P42 units owned by Amtrak have distinct round headlight slots as opposed to their original "shield" covers as a result of their cabs having been rebuilt due to a collision or because of maintenance issues.
- Several P40DC's are also rated at 4,250hp as a result of having the lay shaft in the engine readjusted.
- Although essentially P42DC's, Amtrak's remaining rebuilt P40DC units are only different by retaining their mechanical brakes.
Besides the less obvious physical differences, Amtrak's fleets of P40DC units are numbered in the 800 series (numbers 800-843), while their later P42DC units are single to triple-digit in numerical order from 1-207 on their roster (with at least 197 active as of 2012 due to numerous wrecks forcing the units disposal). Their relatively small P32AC-DM fleet consists of units numbered in the 700 series and are numbered 700-717, which is also a key identifying feature.
Metro North's fleet of P32AC's are numbered 201-227.
VIA Rail's P42DCs are classed EPA-42a (GE Passenger A-unit, 4250hp, first series [a]) by CN Rail (under their classification systems). Such name or "code" can usually be located below the windows on the sides of the cab.
One thing to consider from a mechanical standpoint, is that the P40DC has a lay shaft for its prime-mover, while later models have electronic switches and control panels replacing the traditional method of reving or starting the engine.
Metro North's P32AC-DM units were built with escape-hatches on the noses in case of emergency. Amtrak later had escape-hatches installed in 2018 in preparation for rerouting trains to Grand Central.
The only difference between the different versions of the Genesis Series locomotives are the features and horsepower ratings.
- P40DC (AMD-103 or Dash 8-40PB) - First version; first purchased by Amtrak; 4,000hp, 103mph.
- P42DC (Genesis III or Dash 9-42PB)- Improved version of the P40DC, which was first purchased by Via Rail of Canada; 4,250 hp, 110mph.
- P32AC-DM (Genesis II or AMD-110) - AC-traction powered 3,200hp, 110mph commuter version of the P42DC with a special "dual-mode" feature very much like with the EMD FL9 (although initially a replacement for such preceding model).
|Length||69' 0"/21.03m||69' 0"/21.03m||69' 0"/21.03m|
|Height||14ft 4in/4.37m||14ft 4in/4.37m||14ft 4in/4.37m|
|Weight (x1,000 lbs.)||263,000 lbs.||275,000 lbs.||263-269,000 lbs.|
|Bogies||Krupp/Siemens high speed bolsterless||Krupp/Siemens high speed bolsterless||Krupp/Siemens high speed bolsterless|
103mph/170km/h (VIA: 100mph/160km/h)
|110mph/177km/h (VIA: 100mph/160km/h)||110mph/177km/h (VIA: 100mph/160km/h)|
|Engine (Prime-mover)||GE 7FDL-16||GE 7FDL-12||GE 7FDL-16|
Head-End-Power (HEP) Delivery System
|Horsepower at track (HEP mode)||3,550hp||3,550hp|
|HEP Capacity||Can deliver HEP (head-end power) for up to 16 Amtrak Superliner coaches||unknown. Either 7-10 "Shorliner" Cars.||Can deliver HEP (head-end power) for up to 16 Amtrak Superliner coaches|
|Traction Horsepower||DC||DC (convertible AC-traction current received via third-rail shoe)||DC|
- Amtrak retired 27 of their 44 P40DC (three were wrecked upon selling 12 while keeping the remaining 15 in storage). As of 2014, however, a handful of the units previously stored at the railroad's Bear, DE facility have since been rebuilt to P42DC specs (minus still retaining their mechanical brakes) upon returning to service. Said units were rebuilt under the TIGER stimulus program initiated in 2009. 18 P40DC units were rebuilt between 2001-2008, while the remainder have since had varied dispositions.
- The 27 units were retired upon the discontinuation of Amtrak's postal train services, which furthermore relied on locomotives (such as the F40PH and P40DC) equipped with mechanical brakes to successfully perform said operations at the time.
- Literally all retired P40DC units still retain their original Phase IV liveries as opposed to being repainted into the current Phase V livery.
- Amtrak P40DC units No.'s 807, 819, and 829 were wrecked and scrapped. 819 was wrecked in an accident at the Big Bayou Canot on September 22nd 1993 (the infamous wreck of the Sunset Limited), and 807 and 829 were wrecked in a deadly Bourbonnais, IL accident on March 15th 1999.
- Amtrak P42DC units Nos. 143 and 149 were wrecked at Wendover, UT in September 2001 and have since been scrapped.
- Amtrak P40DC's 833, 834, 836, 838, and 840-843 were leased to Shore Line East and sold to the Connecticut Department Transportation between 2005-2007. These continue to wear the ex-Amtrak Phase V scheme with a CDOT logo over the Amtrak logo.
- As of 2021, however, rebuilt P40DCs bear the CTrail scheme instead. These will be renumbered as [].
- Amtrak P40DC's 808, 810, 812, and 820 were rebuilt with P42DC specifications at Beech Grove, IN and sold to New Jersey transit in 2007-2008. NJT numbered their units [].
- These were sold again to ConnDOT in 2015. However, the first ex-NJT unit, 4803, did not see service until mid-2021, when it came back from overhaul at Beech Groove and repainted into the CTrail scheme instead of wearing the NJT scheme. 4803 has since been renumbered to 6711; all ex-NJT units will also be renumbered within the [] range along with the CDOT's ex-Amtrak locomotives.
- Amtrak P40DC's 809, 814-818, 821-824, 830-832, 835, and 837 were rebuilt with P42DC specifications at Beech Grove, IN and returned to service between 2010 and 2011.
- Amtrak P40DC's 800-806, 811, 813, 825-828, and 839 are currently being rebuilt with P42DC specifications at Beech Grove, IN as of late 2012. Amtrak P40DC's 813, 825, and 828 have since found use for Amtrak's San Joaquin service, while Amtrak P40DCs 800-806, 811, 822, 826, 827, and 839 have since returned to full service.
- Although having a less horsepower rating, the P32AC-DM is capable of providing faster speeds of up to 110mph as a result of having "dual-mode" electric features as well as AC-traction motors as opposed to the more traditional DC-traction motors included with the P40DC (besides its upgraded/improved P42DC counter-part) capable of providing only 103mph in comparison to performances.
- Whenever a power outage occurred (or where to occur in any case) on the mostly-electrified Northeast Corridor, P42's would be given the "call of duty" to assist stranded trains.
- During Amtrak's 40th anniversary celebration in 2011, 6 P40DC/P42DC Genesis units were painted in commemorative schemes to replicate Amtrak's previous schemes which were once used (one P40DC, being 822; which was rebuilt during the same year).
- Several of the Metro North's P32AC-DM units were also painted in a "heritage" scheme used to dedicate or commemorate the New Haven railroad which once operated over the MN's trackage (several of their former NH FL9 units were also painted back into their original scheme, while some still also retain their original, restored paintwork; besides rebuilt units such as their BL20-BH fleet and GP40PH-2 units).
- The P32-8BWH (or B32-8BWH) was once also known as being part of the Genesis series because of its obvious name, and the line once being part of the Dash 8 series (as stated above) which also began a new era for motive power. Yet, the P32AC-DM initially replaced the P32-8BWH, and the locomotive itself became a unique passenger variant of the B40-8W (considering that the P32-8BWH was one of the only other "dual-mode" locomotives used by Amtrak at one time; despite only being capable of "push-pull" service rather than having the ability to run on an electric current).
- Amtrak P42DC #32 was the final P42DC and final member of the Genesis series to wear Amtrak's Phase III paint.
- The P42DCs were Amtrak's only Genesis units to be built wearing Amtrak's Phase V paint.
- One Amtrak P40DC was painted in an exclusive scheme celebrating the anniversary of the US Postal Service and Amtrak's service to the organization.
- Amtrak P40DC 801 was featured in "There Goes a Train", an educational kids VHS tape, which even showed a detailed interior view of the cab.
- Amtrak #42 was recently painted in a special paint dedicating the US Military veterans service to the United States military (besides the number also serving as a commemoration to the railroad's 42 years of service).
- Ironically, Amtrak #42 was previously serving as a temporary replacement unit on Amtrak California's San Joaquin commuter service, and was filling-in for a P32-8BWH unit which was undergoing overhaul.
- Although photos are somewhat rare, Amtrak #800's original demonstrator scheme can be seen here as a recreation for the Trainz Railroad Simulator simulation game.
- Despite being ranked as one of the "most successful locomotives ever produced", the Genesis Series also held the reputation for being one of the "ugliest locomotives ever produced", while simultaneously holding the "most modern design" designation.
- Amtrak #66, the Phase II heritage unit, was wrecked after hitting a vehicle. It suffered irreparable damage and is now being parted out at the Beech Grove shops in Indiana. Amtrak #130 would later be repainted to become the new Phase II unit.
- 156 is to join 66 in Beech Grove due to structural issues after an incident. None of these units have frames, so if the body “ ironically “ gets bent out of shape, it’s on its way to retirement.