Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak locomotives’

One Morning in Jackson, Michigan

November 25, 2021

It is a pleasant June 28, 1997, summer morning in Jackson, Michigan. I’ve drive here to spend a day catching Amtrak trains. From here I would drive to Battle Creek to catch the International in both directions on its Chicago-Toronto trek and end the day getting trains in Ann Arbor.

At the time, trains in the Chicago-Detroit (Pontiac) corridor were powered by P32-8 locomotives built by General Electric. The units were pointed east, which meant they pulled eastbounds and pushed westbounds.

Facing west was a cab car, either a former F40PH that had been rebuilt into a non-powered control unit, or a former Metroliner car serving as a cab car.

Amtrak owned 20 P32-8 units that it received in December 1991. They wore a stylized Phase III livery that was unique to these locomotives. It wasn’t long before railfans began calling them “Pepsi cans” because of the resemblance of the livery to a beverage can design of the time.

It also was a time when trains between Chicago and Detroit had individual names of Wolverine, Lake Cities and Twilight Limited.

In the top image No. 504 is pushing the Lake Cities out of Jackson toward Chicago. In the bottom image, No. 513 is pulling the Wolverine into the station.

Notice the mismatched style of the number boards above the front windshields.

Although P32s saw service on long-distance trains, they were most commonly used in corridor service. The “Pepsi can” look lasted a few years but eventually gave way to Phase IV.

The special Phase III livery used on the P32s was revived this year when a P42DC No. 160 was repainted in that livery.

Amtrak ‘Day One’ Charger Heading East

July 19, 2021

Amtrak’s Day One tribute locomotive is making its way east from the Siemens factory in California.

ALC-42 No. 301 was in the motive power consist of the California Zephyr that left Emeryville, California, on Saturday.

That train was to arrive in Chicago on Monday afternoon but mechanic issues en route had it running more than seven hours late.

No. 301 is expected to leave Chicago on the Capitol Limited on Tuesday evening en route to Washington and eventually an Amtrak shop in Delaware.

The unit wears the one-off livery applied to a Penn Central E8A 4316 for a May 1, 1971, ceremony to mark the inauguration of Amtrak.

Amtrak has ordered 75 ALC-42s from Siemens to replace the GE-built P42DCs and P40s now pulling long-distance and certain corridor trains.

The Day One design is one of several liveries Amtrak created to mark its 50th anniversary.

Thus far only the Midnight Blue scheme applied to P42DC No. 100 is in revenue service. That locomotive has made several trips on the Lake Shore Limited in the past couple weeks.

One other ALC-42 has been accepted by Amtrak and is being tested.

Coming to a Long Distance Train Near You

June 27, 2021

Amtrak recently took delivery of its first Siemens ACL-42 locomotive. Released from the factory in Sacramento, California, it deadheaded on the California Zephyr to Chicago where it was displayed at a press event at Union Station.

The next night it deadheaded to Washington on the Capitol Limited. It was then sent to Wilmington, Delaware, for testing before entering revenue service later this year.

Amtrak has ordered 75 ACL-42 locomotives, which are similar in design and appearance to the Siemens SC-44 locomotives now in service on Midwest and West Coast corridor trains.

The ACL-42 is slated to replace the General Electric-built P42DC and P40 locomotives that have been the backbone of the national network since the late 1990s.

The livery shown on No. 300 is expected to adorn some of the initial ACL-42s released in the coming months. However, Amtrak has said it is working to design another livery that will be applied to most ACL-42s.

Amtrak Displays New ALC-42 Locomotive

June 27, 2021

Amtrak recently displayed its first ALC-42 locomotives and said it is expected it to go into service in two to three months.

The was displayed in Chicago before being sent to Wilmington, Delaware, for testing before entering revenue service on eastern long distance trains serving Washington, most likely the Crescent, Capitol Limited, and Cardinal.

The initial eight ALC-42 engines will have what Amtrak has termed a “transitional” livery of blue on the carbody ending at a red chevron.

The design is meant to be reminiscent of the Phase I livery that has been reapplied to P42DC No. 161, which was also on display Tuesday at Union Station.

Amtrak’s Devon Parsons, senior manager of equipment engineering, said the ALC-42 units are similar to the Siemens SC-44 chargers that pull corridor service trains in the Midwest and the West.

But the ALC-42 locomotives feature a few feature changes including newer technology for a number of systems.

Other changes include redesigned front end framed windows and a removable nose “to reduce our shop out-of-service from strike damage.”

Whereas the SC-44 units have a 1,800 gallon fuel tank, the ALC-42s come with a 2,200-gallon fuel tank.

Parsons said the ALC-44’s computer program was revised to address wheel slip issues reported on the SC-44 locomotives.

Amtrak has ordered 75 ALC-42 locomotives that will be delivered through 2024 at a rate of about two per month.

The next ALC-44 to be delivered wll be No. 301, which will have the predominantly black, one-off “Day One” livery that adorned a single E8A unit to mark the inauguration of Amtrak in 1971.

The ALC-44 fleet will replace P42DC locomotives that are now standard on national network trains.

Amtrak Displays New ALC-42 Locomotive

June 16, 2021

Amtrak displayed its first ALC-42 locomotives on Tuesday, saying it is expected it to go into service in two to three months.

The unit on display in Chicago on Tuesday will be sent to Wilmington, Delaware, for testing before entering revenue service on eastern long distance trains serving Washington, most likely the Crescent, Capitol Limited, and Cardinal.

The initial eight ALC-42 engines will have what Amtrak has termed a “transitional” livery of blue on the carbody ending at a red chevron.

The design is meant to be reminiscent of the Phase I livery that has been reapplied to P42DC No. 161, which was also on display Tuesday at Union Station.

Amtrak’s Devon Parsons, senior manager of equipment engineering, said the ALC-42 units are similar to the Siemens SC-44 chargers that pull corridor service trains in the Midwest and the West.

But the ALC-42 locomotives feature a few feature changes including newer technology for a number of systems.

Other changes include redesigned front end framed windows and a removable nose “to reduce our shop out-of-service from strike damage.”

Whereas the SC-44 units have a 1,800 gallon fuel tank, the ALC-42s come with a 2,200-gallon fuel tank.

Parsons said the ALC-44’s computer program was revised to address wheel slip issues reported on the SC-44 locomotives.

Amtrak has ordered 75 ALC-44 locomotives that will be delivered through 2024 at a rate of about two per month.

The next ALC-44 to be delivered wll be No. 301, which will have the predominantly black, one-off “Day One” livery that adorned a single E8A unit to mark the inauguration of Amtrak in 1971.

The ALC-44 fleet will replace P42DC locomotives that are now standard on national network trains.

Tags: Amtrak, Amtrak ALC-42, Amtrak locomotives, Amtrak motive power, Siemens SC-44

Amtrak to Receive First ACL-42

June 12, 2021

The first Siemens ALC-42 locomotive built for Amtrak is expected to be released today and will head east on the California Zephyr.

Trains magazine quoted unnamed sources as saying Charger No. 300 will be handled by Train 6 departing Emeryville, California, today (June 12) and arriving in Chicago on Monday.

No. 300 is expected to be featured on Tuesday at a media event at the Amtrak Chicago maintenance facility and depart on June 16 for Washington in the motive power consist of the Capitol Limited.

The Trains report said Amtrak expects to receive a handful of Chargers over the next few weeks that will be tested.

Regular deliveries of the locomotive are expected to begin in the second half of this year. Amtrak has ordered 75 ACLC-42 locomotives for use in its national network.

They will replace aging P42DC units that have been the standard motive power on most national network trains since the middle 1990s.

Charger locomotives are already in revenue service for various operators around the country, including on Amtrak corridor routes in the Midwest.

The intercity carrier is expected to complete receiving its ALC-42 locomotives in 2024.

On the Point in Miami

April 6, 2021

Amtrak SDP45 No. 645 is in position to lead the northbound Silver Star out of Miami on Dec. 13, 1979. At Auburndale, Florida, the Miami section will combine with the St. Petersburg, Florida, section of the Star before continuing its journey to New York.

The New York-Miami trains were among the last in the Amtrak long-distance network to be pulled by SDP40F locomotives.

When this image was made many long-distance runners had been turned over to F40PH and P30CH locomotives.

1st 50th Anniversary Unit Out of Shop

March 19, 2021

The first of the special livery locomotives that Amtrak is rolling out to celebrate its 50th anniversary is out of the shop and ready for revenue service.

P42DC No. 46 will feature the blue and silver Phase V livery that has been standard for the past 20 years but with the company’s 50th anniversary livery on its flanks.

The herald contains a large golden “50” and the slogan “Connecting America for 50 Years.”

Amtrak this week released artist renditions of the designs that will grace P42 and new Siemens ALC-42 locomotives being built that will be released this year.

No dates have been announced for when the special tribute locomotives will begin revenue service other than Amtrak saying in a news release that it will be “over the coming months.”

Amtrak also said its is working to design a Phase VII look that will be standard on most of the new Chargers that eventually will replace General Electric-built P42 and P40 locomotives assigned to the national network.

The first new ALC-42 is expected to arrive at Amtrak next month and undergo testing before being assigned to revenue service.

That unit, No. 301 will wear Amtrak’s Day 1 livery, which was a one-time design created by New York advertising agency Lippincott and Margulies.

The livery was applied to Penn Central E8A No. 4316 for a press event on Amtrak’s inauguration day.

It featured a broad blue stripe with white accent slashes on the locomotive nose that was an extension of Amtrak’s “pointless arrow” herald that was applied on the flanks of No. 4316.

The unit ran in revenue service for a year before being repainted into Amtrak’s Phase I livery and being given roster number 322.

Dubbed the Day 1 livery, it will be applied to ALC-42 No. 301 currently being built by Siemens in Sacramento, California.

No. 301 will duplicate No. 4316 complete with a black carbody. It also will carry the 50th anniversary herald.

Amtrak last year had announced that the ALC-42 Chargers would wear a Phase VI livery.

As it turns out, just eight Chargers will have that livery: Nos. 300 and 302 through 308.

The remaining Chargers will have the yet to be revealed Phase VII look.

The Phase VI livery has a largely dark blue carbody with white stripes along the top and bottom of the unit and a largely red nose.

One P42DC is slated to receive a one of a kind scheme known as midnight blue.

The livery is intended to be a tribute to Amtrak employees running trains overnight.

It has a dark blue carbody with white accent stripes and the 50th anniversary herald prominently displayed on the flanks.

Two more P42DC units will receive heritage liveries when they are repainted.

One unit will feature the modified “Dash 8 Phase III” livery that was applied to Amtrak’s P32-8BWH fleet when built by GE.

The Dash 8 scheme was designed by Amtrak’s Blair Slaughter and Cesar Vergara in 1991. All of the P32 fleet has since been repainted.

Another P42 will receive the Phase I livery. Amtrak has a P42, No. 156, in this livery, but it has been sidelined with collision damage.

Amtrak’s Matt Donnelly, the carrier’s lead brand communications specialist, said the Phase III and Phase I liveries will be applied to locomotives as part of their scheduled overhaul at the Beech Grove shops in Indianapolis.

Donnelly said Amtrak decided to celebrate its 50th anniversary with special tribute locomotives rather than events because the COVID-19 pandemic made the latter impractical.

“If you’re planning for a 50th anniversary, you’ve got to look at where you came from to see how far you’ve gone,” he told Trains magazine.

Donnelly said special tribute locomotives would be a good way to get the anniversary message out to all parts of the network.

Amtrak did something similar in 2011 for its 40th anniversary and some of the heritage units created then are still in revenue service today.

Even though the P42s will be replaced by Chargers, Donnelly said the special tribute P42 units should remain in service for several more years.

“A key part of the reason we’ve been able to do this is to take advantage of pre-budgeted life cycle maintenance for locomotives that were already slated to come out of revenue service to go through a programmed overhaul,” Donnelly said. “The P42’s that were going to get repainted anyway will be around at least for the next four or five years.”

One challenge facing Amtrak in designing a new look for its Charger locomotives is that although stripes have been a part of most of its earlier passenger car and locomotive schemes, the vents, grills, and doors of the Chargers preclude the use of stripes on those units.

Another facet of the 50th anniversary celebration is the offering of 17 merchandise items that are being sold at the Amtrak store at its website. The merchandise includes such things as tee shirts wine glasses, mixing glasses, luggage tags, an anniversary coin, 24-inch wall calendar, an 11-inch wall calendar and a set of 50th anniversary pins.

Amtrak Rolling Out Special Liveries for its 50th Anniversary

March 16, 2021

Amtrak plans to paint at least six locomotive in new and heritage liveries this year as part of its 50th anniversary celebration.

The liveries were shown in a YouTube video that went live today.

No dates were given for rollout of the liveries other than in the coming months.

One of the liveries is recreation of a one of a kind livery Amtrak used to mark its inauguration on May 1, 1971.

That livery, which featured a blue strip with white accenting, was applied to Penn Central E8A No. 4316.

Also represented in the liveries will be a reprise of the Phase I paint scheme, which Amtrak had given to P42DC No. 156 in 2011 to help marks its 40th anniversary.

Other liveries include the current Phase V livery with the 50th anniversary logo applied to its flanks, the new phase VI livery that will be applied to new Charger locomotives being built by Siemens for long-distance service, a revival of a modified Phase III livery applied to P32 locomotives years ago, and a never before seen livery known as midnight blue.

An artist rendition that accompanied the YouTube video showed the liveries applied to P42 locomotives except the Day 1 livery, which is shown applied to a Charger.

The YouTube video features an Amtrak representative talking about the history of the carrier’s liveries and explaining the newest paint schemes.

Cruising in Back in Time in Washington State

February 23, 2021

The Amtrak wayback machine has landed us in Steilacoom, Washington, on Aug. 12, 1974. We’re just in time to see E8A No. 346 leading a corridor train between Seattle and Portland, Oregon.

The photographer didn’t say which train it was but it appears to be either the Mount Rainier or the Puget Sound. Both of those trains in 1974 operated with dome coaches and offered snack and beverage service.

No. 346 was built for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy in September 1950. Amtrak would retire the unit a year later.

Photograph by Robert Farkas