Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Railfanning: Always More Change

Brand new GO Transit MP40PH-3C #647 was sitting at the Canadian Pacific Lambton Yard Office in Toronto, Ontario on 17-August-2010, the first locomotive of a ten-unit add-on order

TORONTO, ONTARIO - Last weekend, I was actually excited that I had gotten a picture of the last of GO Transit's new order of locomotives that had been arriving in 2010. GO, which had relied on the F59PH locomotive type since the late 1980's, needed new, more powerful locomotives in order to run 12-car trains. The result was the Wabtec (Motive Power Industries) MP40PH-3C, a new model for GO. The model had a variety of teething problems, and while the new units were expected in 2007, the full first order of 27 units, numbered 600-626, did not all arrive until the end of 2008.

The units apparently performed well enough that GO decided to proceed with standardizing on the new type, and an additional 20 units were ordered (#627-#646). Those units started to arrive this spring, trickling in through this summer. I saw one of the new units, the 627, for the first time in March. While I haven't really sought to see the new units, preferring to try to photograph the F59PH locomotives they are replacing (as discussed on this blog previously), I did try to pay attention to any MP40PH-3C's that came into my sight, just in case they might be one of the new units.

When I stumbled upon #644 on a Lakeshore Line train last weekend, that was the last of the twenty that I had not previously seen. I felt like I could now ignore MP40PH-3C's and just pay attention to the few remaining F59PH's, which are becoming quite rare in revenue service, and even considered writing about completing the set of twenty on this blog.

Then, today, the railroad enthusiast network on the Internet was alive with news of a new MP40PH-3C in my local neighbourhood yard. It had been known that GO had exercised an option to purchase ten more units for late 2010 delivery. In light of past history, I thought late 2010 would mean late fall and winter. Instead, the two orders seemed to have been run together. The first unit of the additional order, #647, shipped out of the manufacturing plant in Boise, Idaho less than two weeks after the last units from the previous order. When I took a walk this evening, I found it sitting right where it was expected to be.

So, instead of being 20-for-20, I'm now 1-for-10. On the railroad, change rolls on.

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