In the mid eighties, GO Transit was looking to replace its aging locomotive fleet with a specially designed locomotive that could meet the growing demands for service across the Greater Toronto Area. The locomotive needed to be able to quickly accelerate while pulling up to 10 of the new Hawker-Siddeley/UTDC BiLevel coaches, and to save on fuel, power them with a separate HEP generator.
In close consultation with GO Transit, GMD developed the F59PH. Equipped with a turbocharged 12-cylinder two-stroke diesel prime mover (12-710G3A), a full-width North American comfort cab, with HEP provided by a smaller 600hp GM 8-cylinder diesel.
In 1988, GMD delivered the first sixteen F59PH units to GO Transit. They were numbered 520 to 535 and given a class designation of GCE-430g. Over the next 6 years, GMD delivered an additional 33 units to GO Transit, with some improvements, including a larger fuel tank and different rear grille arrangement. In 1994, the final four units were delivered to GO, but were very quickly sold to Dallas’ Trinity Railway Express by the cash-strapped Ontario government. Other surplus locomotives were leased to West Coast Express in British Columbia and Metrolink in California.
Due to the success of the locomotives with GO Transit, Metrolink in California placed an order for 22 F59PHs, which were delivered between 1992 and 1993. Metrolink would later lease an additional 3 units in 2018 from LTEX, to allow for PTC upgrades to be made to their own units. These are ex. GO units.
In 2007, GO Transit began retiring its fleet of F59PHs and replacing them with the MPI MP40PH-3C. Many were sold to other railroads, including AMT, Metra, NCDOT, and RB Railway Group. However, GO still has several units in service to supplement the new fleet of MP40PHs and MP54ACs.