On March 16, 2018 and July 1, 2018, two Amtrak Surfliner F59PHI locomotives moved across the country on the Southwest Chief. These two locomotives are part of a purchase by Metra in Chicago from Amtrak in California. Amtrak maintains a dedicated fleet of 15 EMD F59PHI locomotives painted to match the livery of the "Surfliner" cars. This fleet is slated to be supplemented and eventually replaced by a new order of 20 Siemens SC-44 Charger locomotives from 2018-2020. The EMD F59PHI fleet will continue to be used under Chicago commuter rail agency Metra's operations following their retirement from Amtrak.
The F59PHIs, which were built by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors in 1998 and have been rehabbed within the last five years, have similar parts and operating characteristics to Metra’s existing fleet of EMD F40s, some of which are 35 years old and are in need of overhaul. That means they can be integrated into the Metra system quickly and without extensive and expensive training of maintenance and operating crews. The F59s would also increase reliability, reduce pollution and achieve fuel savings of about 10 percent to 25 percent over the older engines.