Coast to Coast Workhorse

Written by: Gary Dolzall

From California to Florida and everywhere between, the Amtrak General Electric Dash 8-32BWH, now available for Train Simulator, will provide distinctive and authentic passenger power for a variety of routes. On Train Simulator’s Pacific Surfliner route, Amtrak 519, bound for San Diego, rolls south past famed San Clemente Pier.

Amtrak’s GE Dash 8-32BWH, now available for Train Simulator, will be perfect for passenger duty on a variety of routes, as Gary Dolzall reports

Train Simulator’s distinctive Amtrak General Electric Dash 8-32BWH diesel, which is now available, will be ideal for service on a variety of U. S. routes, whether the location is Florida or Pennsylvania, Chicago or Utah, the Pacific Northwest or Southern California!

In an earlier feature article – “Born of Urgent Need” available here – we explored the development and history of this unique and venerable diesel locomotive that entered service a quarter-century ago and continues to serve Amtrak today. When the General Electric Dash 8-32BWH debuted in August 1991 it was in appearance unlike anything on the Amtrak roster, featuring a North American-style wide cab set in front of a traditional road-switcher carbody, and dressed in a flashy Amtrak livery that enthusiasts’ informally dubbed the “Pepsi can” scheme.

The unique locomotive was, in truth, a modified version of General Electric’s existing Dash 8-32B freight diesel which had first been constructed in 1989, but the design of the Dash 8-32B freighter provided GE with an opportunity to produce an able passenger diesel and to fulfill Amtrak’s immediate need for additional motive power while the national passenger carrier’s landmark GE “Genesis” diesels were still in development.

By taking the basic hardware of the Dash 8-32B freight version, including its 3,200-horsepower 7FDL 12-cylinder power plant and FB-2 two axle trucks (in B-B configuration) and building the new passenger locomotive on top of the slightly longer frame of a GE’s Dash 8-40B in order to include head-end power (HEP) equipment, the Dash 8-32BWH could hit the rails quickly.

Amtrak ordered 20 Dash 8-32BWHs (also often called P32BHs), which were constructed by GE between August and December 1991, and given Amtrak road numbers 500-519. The stylish GE diesels were immediately assigned to both short-haul and long-distance runs by Amtrak, which included the California’s Bay-Area Capitol service trains, the Los Angeles-San Diego San Diegans, the Los Angeles-Ogden (Utah) Desert Wind, and, perhaps most notably, the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief, successor to the famed Santa Fe Super Chief. By the mid-1990s it was also common to see one or more flashy Dash 8-32BWHs, often lashed up with an EMD F40PH, powering another of Amtrak’s long-haul flagships, the California Zephyr.

With the arrival of Amtrak’s Genesis diesels (the Dash 8-40BP followed by the P42DC), the Dash 8-32BWHs were increasingly reassigned, primarily to short-haul services ranging from “Amtrak California” services to Chicago-based trains such as the Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg to the Amtrak Pennsylvanian. Nonetheless, it remained not entirely surprising to on occasion see a Dash 8-32BWHs heading up long-haul trains such as the Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, or Sunset Limited when Amtrak’s motive power distribution requirements dictated. Indeed, the Dash 8-32BWHs have even demonstrated their versatility (and perhaps a bit of their freight-locomotive design lineage) by being assigned late in life to maintenance-of-way and terminal switching duties at major Amtrak yard facilities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D. C., Miami, and Sanford, Florida (home to Auto-Train).

All of which means the Amtrak Dash 8-32BWH will be authentically suited to service on a variety of popular Train Simulator U. S. routes, including Miami-West Palm Beach; Horseshoe Curve; the Aurora-Chicago “Racetrack;” Soldier Summit; Marias, Stevens, Donner, and Cajon Passes; and the Pacific Surfliner route. The Dash 8-32BWH is provided in both its original flashy “Pepsi can” livery and its current-day blue-and-silver scheme, also making it perfect for use in multiple eras across the locomotive quarter-century-long service career.

Dovetail Games’ new Amtrak Dash 8-32BWH DLC includes a full set of Amtrak Superliner equipment in Phase IVb livery and three career scenario for the Miami-West Palm Beach route. And there is no doubt whatsoever that this distinctive Amtrak diesel will became a real favorite of Steam Workshop creators who will put the versatile locomotive to work on a variety of Train Simulator routes across the U. S., from coast to coast! – Gary Dolzall

 

An early assignment in the careers of Amtrak’s Dash 8-32BWH diesels was the Superliner-equipped California Zephyr. Teamed with an EMD F40PH, as the GEs often were on long-distance trains, Amtrak 513 is dropping down the east slope of Train Simulator’s Soldier Summit route (above), and shortly thereafter makes its station stop at Helper, Utah (below) with Train 6, the eastbound “CZ”. All screenshots by Gary Dolzall.

An early assignment in the careers of Amtrak’s Dash 8-32BWH diesels was the Superliner-equipped California Zephyr. Teamed with an EMD F40PH, as the GEs often were on long-distance trains, Amtrak 513 is dropping down the east slope of Train Simulator’s Soldier Summit route (above), and shortly thereafter makes its station stop at Helper, Utah (below) with Train 6, the eastbound “CZ”. All screenshots by Gary Dolzall.

AD#03
Further west along the 2,400-mile-long route of Amtrak’s California Zephyr, a pair of GE Dash 8-32BWHs are in full dynamics as they twist their way down the west slope of Train Simulator’s Donner Pass route near Colfax (above) and at West Applegate (below). Note: Screenshots include content still in development and passenger equipment from multiple TS routes.

Further west along the 2,400-mile-long route of Amtrak’s California Zephyr, a pair of GE Dash 8-32BWHs are in full dynamics as they twist their way down the west slope of Train Simulator’s Donner Pass route near Colfax (above) and at West Applegate (below). Note: Screenshots include content still in development and passenger equipment from multiple TS routes.

AD#05
Dash 8-32BWHs were regularly assigned to the famed Surf Line between Los Angeles and San Diego early in their careers and still make appearances there supplementing the route’s dedicated equipment. Amtrak 505 has a southbound Pacific Surfliner in tow at Santa Ana, California on Train Simulator’s Pacific Surfliner route.

Dash 8-32BWHs were regularly assigned to the famed Surf Line between Los Angeles and San Diego early in their careers and still make appearances there supplementing the route’s dedicated equipment. Amtrak 505 has a southbound Pacific Surfliner in tow at Santa Ana, California on Train Simulator’s Pacific Surfliner route.

Amtrak Dash 8-32BWH 503 is adding its 3,200 horsepower to assist a pair of GE Genesis diesels lift a heavy summertime consist of the eastbound Empire Builder up the west slope of Train Simulator’s Marias Pass near Java, Montana.

Amtrak Dash 8-32BWH 503 is adding its 3,200 horsepower to assist a pair of GE Genesis diesels lift a heavy summertime consist of the eastbound Empire Builder up the west slope of Train Simulator’s Marias Pass near Java, Montana.

The GE Dash 8-32BWH has long been a fixture in America’s “railroad capital” of Chicago. On Train Simulator’s Aurora – Chicago “Racetrack” route, Amtrak 505 is fulfilling the role of terminal switcher at Amtrak’s bustling 14th Street Yard (above), while Dash 8-32BWH 513 is making an early morning departure with Amtrak’s Chicago-Quincy, Illinois Train 381, the Carl Sandburg.

The GE Dash 8-32BWH has long been a fixture in America’s “railroad capital” of Chicago. On Train Simulator’s Aurora – Chicago “Racetrack” route, Amtrak 505 is fulfilling the role of terminal switcher at Amtrak’s bustling 14th Street Yard (above), while Dash 8-32BWH 513 is making an early morning departure with Amtrak’s Chicago-Quincy, Illinois Train 381, the Carl Sandburg.

AD#09
Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian operates between New York Penn Station and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dash 8-32BWHs frequently served as power on the dieselized segment of the train’s run from Philadelphia west, and such is the case as Amtrak 514 lifts the westbound Pennsylvanian up and around famed Horseshoe Curve.

Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian operates between New York Penn Station and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dash 8-32BWHs frequently served as power on the dieselized segment of the train’s run from Philadelphia west, and such is the case as Amtrak 514 lifts the westbound Pennsylvanian up and around famed Horseshoe Curve.

Substituting for a Genesis diesel, Amtrak Dash 8-32BWH 505 has Train 97, the southbound Silver Meteor, hustling through Hollywood, Florida on Train Simulator’s Miami-West Palm Beach route.

Substituting for a Genesis diesel, Amtrak Dash 8-32BWH 505 has Train 97, the southbound Silver Meteor, hustling through Hollywood, Florida on Train Simulator’s Miami-West Palm Beach route.

Available now at the Steam Store: The unique and long-lived General Electric Dash 8-32BWH diesel, in original (left) and current (right) Amtrak liveries, is ready for versatile service on a variety of Train Simulator routes.

Available now at the Steam Store: The unique and long-lived General Electric Dash 8-32BWH diesel, in original (left) and current (right) Amtrak liveries, is ready for versatile service on a variety of Train Simulator routes.

Gary Dolzall

5 Comments

  • I have an issue with the main Miami scenario it says it has an error about track.bin I believe if anyone know how to fix it please tell me.

  • I very much love this loco!!! Id really love to see it in an Amtrak California livery! 😀

  • Thanks for another great user-written article! I LOVE how active the new engine driver is! Gib uns viel mehr deutschen routes, bitte! I promise: I will comprar mucho mucho. Love the look of this Amtrak that I’ve never even seen over several decades of riding Amtrak. (I knew it existed… and always WISHED it would pull my train… but now I get my chance–and ’twill always be the “Pepsi Can” livery… ) I propose: Nowhere, OK, to No Name, CO, similar (in some ways) to starting and ending points of F. River route. And… “Epic!” Cheers!

    Hello, hello, hello: Is there anybody IN there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone home? Good to see my friend, Frisco, participating. A shout-out to you, good mate! Looking forward to A) the first Aussie route, B) the next N. American route and C) the completion of WCML at the hands of the unmatchable Keith Ross. 10-4.

  • Been saving $20 for when this comes out Ill be buying this when I get home from school

  • Man I remember when this article was first published back in the days of the old Engine Driver. Looks cool, gotta save some money for it when I get TS Up and running again!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.