That’s Not Amtrak on the Lead

Amtrak 30 on November 3 1981-x

When Amtrak’s Capitol Limited began on Oct. 1, 1981, it was a Pittsburgh-Washington train that followed the route of its Baltimore & Ohio ancestor. West of Pittsburgh Nos. 440/441 operated combined with the Chicago-New York Broadway Limited.

I traveled between Chicago and Washington in early November 1981, just over a month after the Capitol began. I had a slumbercoach room from Chicago to Pittsburgh and then rode in coach to Washington.

I don’t know why No. 440 had B&O GP40 No. 4219 in front of F40PHR No. 363 on this particular trip. As far as I knew, the geep had been with No. 440 since leaving Pittsburgh.

It is not unusual for a freight diesel to assist an Amtrak train whose locomotive fails en route. It is less common for the freight unit to be on the train from the beginning of the trip.

Maybe the GP40 was assigned to better help the Amtrak train up and down the grades through the Sand Patch region.

I’m not sure where this image was made, but presumably it was somewhere in Pennsylvania.

Amtrak still uses this route twice a day although the Chessie System has given way to CSX and the equipment on the Capitol Limited is now Superliner cars pulled by P42DC locomotives.

The Capitol Limited now operates as Nos. 29/30 between Chicago and Washington and the Broadway Limited is gone.

One interesting footnote about the nomenclature used on F40 No. 363 is the letter “R” in the name. It stands for “rebuilt” although there was nothing really rebuilt about No. 363.

It was built new using some parts from a retired SDP40F. Some F40s carried the former number of the SDP40F from which they had been “rebuilt” in small lettering under the cab windows. But that practice did not last long.

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