Posts Tagged ‘P32-8 locomotives’

Hiawatha in Northbrook

April 5, 2022

A Hiawatha Service train blasts through Northbrook, Illinois, without stopping on May 20, 1998. City officials have explored establishing an Amtrak stop here. Currently Metra trains stop in Northbook at a station build by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific. Amtrak might be reluctant to stop in Northbrook because it already stops a few miles away in Glenview.

Profile of an Amtrak P32-8

January 11, 2022

Amtrak’s fleet of 20 P32-8 locomotives are not quite obscure but not as widely known as, say the F40PH or the P42DC, both of which served as the backbone of the passenger carrier’s national network. The P42 is, of course, still playing that role and looks to continue doing so for some time.

All 30 P32-8 units were built in late 1991 by General Electric and wore for several years a unique iteration of the Phase III livery. The P32 was the only locomotive to have this livery although Amtrak last year painted a P42DC into the scheme to help celebrate its 50th anniversary.

No. 503 is shown at Glenview, Illinois, on May 25, 1999, on the point of a Hiawatha Service train to Milwaukee.

Although the P32-8 did help pull some long-distance trains, it most often was used in corridor service.

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.

‘Pepsi Can’ at Glenview Pushing a Hiawatha

September 27, 2016

amtrak-sb-hiawatha-may-27-1997-glenview

I’ve enjoyed spending time at the joint Amtrak/Metra station in Glenview, Illinois. If you like passenger trains, it is a nice place to visit.

Metra comes through every hour and more frequently during peak commuter travel times. Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service┬áis a frequent visitor and the Empire Builder also stops in Glenview.

During some of my trips to Glenview, I’ve sought to photograph the P32-8 locomotives that pushed and pulled the Hiawatha trains. I liked and still like the striking livery those locomotives came in from the GE factory.

A common nickname for these units was “Pepsi cans” because they somewhat resembled a look of the soft drink cans.

It was a tough image to make because the P32s always faced north and the tracks here run north and south. That means shooting into the sunlight.

I did what I could with varying results. Shown is a Chicago-bound train departing Glenview on May 27, 1997.