"That locomotive back there in the roundhouse is Amtrak's newest, it's their pride and joy. It's called Genesis. Guess what- They're going to pull it out of roundhouse, put it on the turntable, put it on the track, and guess who gets to drive it? Hahaha, Engineer Dave!" -Engineer Dave in There Goes a Train
In the late 1980s, Amtrak was looking for a new diesel locomotive; one with an extended range and being able to withstand the tight clearances of the Northeast, as well as being more fuel-efficient, lighter, and faster than the existing EMD F40PH. Two manufacturers, EMD and GE, responded. GE was ultimately awarded the contract to build an initial 64 diesel units and 10 dual-mode locomotives.
GE partnered with Krupp for the design of the lightweight bodyshell, however, the final design wasn't able to be determined on time; GE would ultimately build 20 fewer units of the new design, and instead build 20 3,200hp units based on their existing line of four-axle Dash 8 freight locomotives. These locomotives are the P32-8WH units, and are currently in service as switchers and backup units.
The final design was revealed in 1993, as the "Genesis." initially named the Amtrak Monocoque Diesel - 103 MPH/AMD-103, later be redesignated the P40DC/Genesis. GE built 44 P40 units for Amtrak, some of which were sold to New Jersey Transit and the Connecticut Department of Transportation, while many have undergone refurbishment and reactivated by Amtrak (after being mothballed and stored in 2005). The remainder are still in storage with Phase IV colors.
On introduction, Amtrak engineers were perplexed by the new/different horn button, which was difficult to "quill/bleed" 1 or the 2 trumpets, but eventually found a way to make it work.
The second variant came 2 years later, as the AMD-110 Dual Mode/Hybrid locomotive, later redesignated the P32AC-DM/Genesis. While similar looking to the P40DC, this locomotive had AC motors, capability to operate as a diesel or from 3rd rail, and was geared for a maximum speed of 110 MPH.
Later on that year, the final variant was introduced; Amtrak requested an order for 120 diesel-powered units, but faster and more powerful than the P40DC. This came to be the P42DC, the primary locomotive for Amtrak outside the Northeast Corridor today.
Amtrak would return to GE to order 86 more P42DCs and 8 more dual-mode P32AC-DMs. Metro-North, a commuter railroad operating in New York and Connecticut, ordered 32 P32AC-DM units for operating trains into New York's Grand Central Terminal. The final Genesis units produced by GE were 21 diesel units for VIA Rail of Canada in 2001.
Unique to the Genesis locomotives is their height, being 1f167/0m356 shorter than the F40PH; the P32AC-DM submodel also has retractible 3rd rail shoes, enabling service into Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station. This made the Genesis the only Amtrak locomotive able to operate on all Amtrak routes.
To create the Low Profile Streamlined body, GE + Krupp developed the Monocoque design. The aerodynamics give it 22% more fuel efficiency, better crew safety (being classified as a "safety-cab" like with modern freight diesels) & also produces 25% more power than the F40PH, which influenced Amtrak's decision to replace the latter with the Genesis.
A disadvantage of the Monocoque body is costlier repairs after minor crossing collisions, resulting in Bolt-On Nose Cones being installed on most units.
- P32AC-DM/AMD-110/Genesis: 3200hp/2400kw Diesel GE.12v7FDL Or 3RLE.650v, GE.B15 AC Motors
- P40DC/AMD-103/Genesis: 4000hp/3000kw Diesel GE.16v7FDL, GE.752 DC Motors
- P42DC/Genesis: 4250hp/3183kw Diesel GE.16v7FDL, GE.752 DC Motors
- Head-End Power/HEP: 1067hp/800kw480v3p60h For 16 Coaches Max
- Dimensions Max: 121t7Gros/3m048Wdth/4m368Hgth/21m03LgthCoupled
- Axles: BoBo/4Power, Krupp.1m435Gage/1m016Diam/2m743Base/13m17Axis Bogie
- Speed Max: 110 MPH/177 KPH
- Couplers: Janney/AARF/APTF/InterLock
All Genesis submodels appear identical at first glance, but there are differences;
- P40DC: This locomotive is nearly identical to the P42DC even after rebuild, although differences include:
- A Hostler's window at the rear of the locomotive (although it has been removed in recent Amtrak rebuilds).
- Flashing lights above the cab (removed in Amtrak rebuilds).
- One can easily tell the difference between a P40DC and P42DC by simply looking at the number; all P40DC locomotives are in the 8xx series, while P42DC locomotives are numbered between 1 and 207.
- P32AC-DM: This locomotive has a number of differences compared to a P42DC:
- Additional equipment on the trucks, for 3rd rail shoes.
- A quieter idle (due to its use of a static inverter for HEP generation, instead of the alternator-based design of the P40s and P42s).
- Taller, but shorter, radiator intake vents.
- Hostler's window similar to the P40DC.
- No rear access door.
- No bolt-on nosecone (unlike the DC units).
- There is still a shield above the main headlights (The DC units had them removed during their refurbish/rebuild).
- Headlight cluster is still in the shape of a "home-run plate" (unlike the DC units, which had their headlights modified to look more rounded). Amtrak's new Phase III Empire Service units have this feature removed, but Metro-North still has this feature.
- Rear communications, HEP, and MU receptacles are placed lower than on the DC units.
- A unique 3rd rail shoe.
- Emergency access hatches on the nose of the locomotive.
- Amtrak's P32s are numbered in the 7xx series.
Rebuilt and Upgraded P40DCs
By 2007, NJ Transit's P40DCs had been upgraded to P42DC standards (minus the speed difference). The conversion work from 4000hp to 4250hp was done by readjusting a lay shaft in the prime mover.
Amtrak later rebuilt 15 of its P40DCs like NJ Transit did (along with a re-gearing of the motors for 110 MPH service) at Beech Groove shops as part of a project funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. They are now essentially P42DC units. All 15 units that have been rebuilt have been returned to service. The only difference between these locomotives and actual P42DCs are that the upgraded P40DCs still feature mechanical air brakes, which make them suitable for trains requiring one locomotive. The P42DCs and P32AC-DMs have electronic brakes instead.
- Despite the fact that the GE Genesis locomotives were primarily built for long-distance operations, VIA Rail uses these locomotives exclusively on its Quebec City-Windsor Corridor routes, where their additional speed and power is required to keep schedules.
- Several Latin American railroads have experimented with Genesis Series locomotives for passenger service, but for simplicity's sake they still prefer their original ALCO RS Series and EMD GP Series locomotives.
- The P32-8BWH (or B32-8BWH) was once also known as being part of the Genesis series because of its obvious name, and the Genesis series once being part of the Dash 8 series (as stated above). Yet, the P42DCs replaced the P32-8BWH, and the locomotive itself became a unique passenger variant of the B40-8W.
- Amtrak P42DC 32 was the final P42DC, and final Genesis of all Genesis series locomotives, to wear the original variant of Amtrak's Phase III paint, designed specifically for the Genesis locomotives.
- Amtrak has 3 original non-heritage Genesis paints: Phase III, Phase IV, and Phase V.
- During Amtrak's 50th anniversary celebration, 5 P40DC/P42DC Genesis units were painted in commemorative schemes to replicate Amtrak's previous schemes which were once used. The units painted were 161 (Phase I), 130 (Phase II), 145 (Phase III), 822 (Phase III), and 184 (Phase IV).
- Amtrak P42DC 100 was painted in an exclusive US Postal Service scheme to commemorate the centennial and millennium events, which occurred during 1999-2000.
- Amtrak P40DCs 807, 819, and 829 were wrecked and scrapped. 819 was wrecked in the Big Bayou Canot accident on September 22nd, 1993, and 807 and 829 were wrecked in the Bourbonnais, IL accident on March 15th, 1999.
- Amtrak P42DCs 143 and 149 were wrecked in Wendover, UT in September 2001 and have been scrapped.
- Metro-North P32AC-DM 225 was involved in the December 2013 Spuyten Duyvil derailment, which occurred on December 1st.
- Amtrak P42DC 130 was repainted in Phase II to replace 66. 66 suffered severe damage from a collision with a truck in February 2016. 2 people were injured in the wreck, and 66 has been out of service ever since.
- Amtrak P42DC 181 was involved in the DuPont, WA derailment on December 18th, 2017.
- Amtrak P42DC 189 wore "The Heartland Flyer's Big Game Train" stickers on either side to promote the Oklahoma vs. Texas football game. The stickers were applied in 2013, but was repainted in 2016 without the stickers reapplied. A smaller version of the stickers are applied on P42DC 157, and formally P42DC 50. As of late 2019, 189 sports the smaller stickers, similar to those on 50 and 157.
- Amtrak P40DCs 833, 834, 836, 838, and 840-843 were leased to Metro-North in 2005, and sold to the Connecticut Department of Transportation in 2008 for use on Shore Line East trains. They've also been used on Hartford Line trains occasionally since the service started on June 16th, 2018. Engines 834 and 841 were sent to Amtrak's Beech Grove Shops in August 2018 to be rebuilt, and are still there as of October 2020.
- Amtrak P40DCs 808, 810, 812, and 820 were rebuilt with P42DC specifications in Beech Grove, IN, renumbered 4800 to 4803, and sold to New Jersey Transit in 2007. The engines were later resold to ConnDOT in 2016, and were sent to Amtrak's Beech Grove Shops in August 2018 to be rebuilt (again). The engines are still there as of October 2020.
- Amtrak P40DCs 809, 814-818, 821-824, 830-832, 835, and 837 were rebuilt with P42DC specifications in Beech Grove, IN, and returned to service between 2010 and 2011.
- Amtrak P40DC 801 was featured in "There Goes a Train."
- Amtrak P40DC 811 was involved in the Silver Spring, MD accident on February 16th, 1996.
- Amtrak P42DC 42 was 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) in 2013.
- Amtrak P42DC 49 suffered severe damage from a collision with a truck in near Osceola.
- Most of Amtrak's original P40DC (AMD-103) have since been converted and rebuilt into P42DC units, with the exception of the few sold to the Connecticut Department of Transportation and NJ Transit.
- Amtrak currently owns and operates 18 P32AC-DM units. They are numbered 700 to 717, and are exclusively used on services operating on the Empire Corridor between New York City and Niagara Falls.
- Metro-North operates several P32AC-DM units, numbered 201 to 227. Engines 228 to 231 are owned by ConnDOT, and are painted in a "heritage" scheme used to dedicate or commemorate the New Haven Railroad, which once operated over some of 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 BL20GHM and GP40-3H units.
- VIA Rail's P42DCs are classed EPA-42a (GE Passenger A-unit, 4250hp, first series [a]) by Canadian National.
- Most of VIA's P42DCs are equipped with the standard K5LA horn, as well as an additional "Canadian" K5LLA emergency horn. The oddball of the fleet is engine 917, which (along with its green paint) is equipped with a Nathan K3L horn instead of the usual K5LA.
- From May 22nd, 2009 to November 1st, 2009, 2 P42DC units, numbers 71 and 157, were dressed for Disney's "A Christmas Carol" train tour, a special train that showed Disney & HP's traveling multi-media exhibit about the upcoming 3D animated film "A Christmas Carol" starring Jim Carrey.
- Book: The Complete Book of Locomotives written by Colin Garratt, published by Hermes House. ISBN: 978-1-84477-022-9.
- Book: The Encylopedia of Trains And Locomotives, published by Barnes And Noble Publishing