Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak P42DC’

Catching Up with Amtrak’s New Livery

September 3, 2021

I bagged the Amtrak Phase VI unit on Thursday morning – one of them anyway).  I woke up hoping to get another shot at the Midnight Blue Amtrak 50th Anniversary engine – P42DC No. 100 – but realized he was on time and I would have to drive pretty far east to catch him. 

However another 50th Anniversary unit – P42DC No. 108 – was leading No. 49, the westbound Lake Shore Limited, and it was running almost three hours late. 

This one I decided to try for and I ended up catching him on the Sandusky Bay bridge and causeway at Danbury.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Accelerating in Waterloo

June 27, 2021

Amtrak’s westbound Capitol Limited is picking up speed as it accelerates away from its station stop in Waterloo, Indiana, one hour and 15 minutes late.

It is the first image I’ve made of the Capitol in well over a year and getting this photograph took good timing and fast acting.

Before leaving home I had checked the status of Amtrak trains through Waterloo. There wasn’t enough time to get there before the Lake Shore Limited arrived and chances were good I would miss No. 29 by 15 minutes or so.

It had been reported out of Cleveland an hour and 20 minutes but Amtrak’s website projected No. 29 would make up a good chunk of that and arrive in Waterloo 59 minutes late.

If that held, I had no chance. But I also knew Amtrak can get delayed between Waterloo and Toledo.

As I neared Waterloo I checked the Amtrak website again. No. 29 was now projected to arrive in Waterloo at 7:46 a.m. I figured to miss by that about five minutes.

The exit ramp for Waterloo onto U.S. Route 6 from Interstate 69 is just beyond the bridge over the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

As I passed the exit signs for Route 6 it was 7:47 a.m. on my car’s clock. I slowed for the bridge and exit ramp and looked toward the east. No headlight was in sight.

That was a good sign This just might work after all.

Nearly a month earlier as I had driven over that same bridge I had seen the headlight of a fast approaching Amtrak 49. I was going to fast to get to the side of the road in time to try to get a grab shot and a pickup truck also getting off at the exit was right on my tail.

So close and yet so far away.

This time I drove to a road that crosses the Chicago Line at grade shortly after I got onto Route 6. The gates were up. Another good sign.

I checked the Amtrak website and saw No. 29 was now projected to arrive in Waterloo at 7:53 a.m., three minutes from now. Did I have time to get to the station?

I began driving down a road that runs parallel to the tracks. Then there it was up ahead. I immediately pulled to the side of Lincoln Street, grabbed my camera and dashed into the weeds to make this image.

There was no time so think about what I wanted to do. I barely was able to get all of the train in the frame.

Photographing the Capitol Limited is a challenge because much of its journey occurs at night. On the western end of the route the train is always operating in the wrong light. Only on the eastern end can you get 29 or 30 in good light.

In Northeast Ohio, No. 30 is scheduled into Cleveland at 1:45 a.m. and No. 29 at 2:53 a.m.

Still, you can get an interesting image on the western end of the route if you work it right.

The glint off P42DC No. 190 was happenstance but I also knew that this time of year the early morning light would favor the north side of the train.

I’m hoping it won’t be another year before I can photograph the Capitol Limited again.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Coming to a Long Distance Train Near You

June 18, 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 on Tuesday.

On Wednesday night it deadheaded to Washington on the Capitol Limited. It will be 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 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.

An Amtrak Two for Tuesday

June 1, 2021

Amtrak’s Cardinal is used to ferry equipment to and from the Beech Grove shops in Indianapolis. Typically, equipment goes north on Monday and south on Saturday.

The usual practice is to add the equipment bound for Chicago to the front of the train at Indianapolis Union Station, which has the effect of creating two trains in one.

Monday’s westbound No. 51 has this double look as seen in the images above. The ferry section added in Indy is on the front of the train followed by the passenger section.

Note also that the ferry section has two P42DC locomotives and two Viewliner baggage cars, which is in keeping with the theme of this post of two for Tuesday. The ferry section also includes a lone Superliner coach.

The passenger section has its customary consist of three Amfleet II coaches, an Amfleet food service car, a Viewliner sleeping car and a Viewliner baggage-dorm.

The Cardinal is shown passing through Brownsburg, Indiana, on the CSX Crawfordsville Subdivision.

Tracking the Amtrak Phase II Heritage Units

April 11, 2021

With the demise of Amtrak No. 66, the Phase II livery heritage unit, its replacement, P42DC No. 130 debuted late in 2018.

The only time I photographed it was on Nov. 11, 2018, trailing at Painesville on the eastbound Lake Shore Limited.

Looking through older photos, though, I found I did photograph it leading on Train No. 48 at Lloyd Road in Wickliffe on June 28, 2010.

Here it is splitting two coal trains for the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company coal-fired power plant in Eastlake when it was still in operation.

This is one of the many photos that I can say I’m glad I got it when I got it.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

1st Amtrak 50th Anniversary Unit Out of Shop

March 20, 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 herald 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 P42DC 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 held 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 to 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: No. 300 and Nos.302 through 308.

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

The Phase VI livery has a 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.

Out of the Fog

March 1, 2021

Last Saturday’s weather forecast called for high temperatures in the 50s and mostly sunny skies so I ventured over to east central Illinois for my first railfan foray of 2021.

The day began, though, in heavy fog caused by a temperature inversion. When I arrived in Rantoul, Illinois, the temperatures were in the low 30s.

Those conditions wouldn’t last long, but while they did I was able to get this image of Amtrak’s northbound City of New Orleans cutting through the fog at the Rantoul station.

Although this is an Amtrak stop, the City is not scheduled to stop here. The train was operating as No. 1158 on a schedule 90 minutes than usual.

That was due to track work by host railroad Canadian Pacific in the South that has the northbound CONO running later than normal two days a week.

Amtrak’s 50th Anniversary Engine Low Key Affair

January 27, 2021

When Amtrak celebrated its 40th anniversary it repainted several locomotives in previous liveries.

Perhaps reflective of it financial issues as a result of plunging ridership and revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is taking a lower key approach to marking its 50th anniversary.

It has applied marking to P42DC No. 46 commemorating the occasion, but they are nothing more than the slogan “connecting America for 50 years.”

The numeral 50 is oversized on the flanks of the locomotive to the left of the Amtrak herald. Otherwise the locomotive retains its blue and silver Phase VI livery.

No. 46 recently passed through Northeast Ohio leading the Capitol Limited. Reportedly, the unit would have led the train that president-elect Joseph Biden had planned to ride to Washington for his Jan. 20 inauguration.

However, those plans were canceled for security reason. Instead No. 46 left the nation’s capital leading Train 29.

Amtrak does plan to introduce a new locomotive livery that will be applied to its new Siemens ALC-42 locomotives that will be assigned to pull national network trains.

Those locomotives are being built in California and are expected to be delivered in phases through 2024.

Last Ride on the Three Rivers

January 24, 2021

Ed Ribinskas sent me this photograph yesterday. It was made in Pittsburgh on Feb. 19, 2005.

All four guys you see were Akron Railroad Club members and two of them are now deceased. They are (from left) Al Philmore, Richard Jacobs, Craig Sanders and Edward Ribinskas.

I remember this trip well. It had started in the wee hours of the morning in Cleveland the day before when Ed and I boarded the westbound Lake Shore Limited to ride to Chicago.

I had strained my back in the Cleveland Amtrak station and sitting in a coach seat or any other seat was somewhat painful. The strain had stemmed from shoveling snow a day or two before.

We spent all day in Chicago, at one point riding a Metra commuter train to Antioch, Illinois, and back, and having dinner at the Berghoff in downtown Chicago. The Three Rivers left Chicago around 9:30 p.m. so it was a long day.

I managed to doze off a few times riding across Indiana and in part of western Ohio. But from about Fostoria eastward I was awake. I wanted to see, even if in the dark, some areas that I had only seen from next to the tracks.

As the train sat in the Akron station, I heard this familiar booming voice coming from the rear of our Amfleet coach. It sound like Jake.

All of us were aboard this train for the same reason. It was running on borrowed time.

The Three Rivers had begin in September 1995 as a replacement between Pittsburgh and New York for the discontinued Broadway Limited.

It was extended west of Pittsburgh in November 1996. The primary reason for that was because of the heavy mail and express business that Amtrak was carrying at the time.

Transferring those cars in Pittsburgh between the Three Rivers and the Capitol Limited was hindering the performance of the latter train.

But a change in philosophy at Amtrak resulted in the carrier deciding to exit the head end business. The Three Rivers proved to be expendable.

Ed got up to check out that familiar voice and it was indeed Jake. He and Al had boarded in Akron for one last trip aboard the last intercity passenger train to serve the Rubber City.

After we disembarked in Pittsburgh we were able to talk someone into making this photograph of us standing in front of the P42DC puling Train No. 40.

I took a Greyhound bus to Akron where a friend picked me up. We had plans to watch a University of Akron basketball game that afternoon. Ed took Greyhound back to Cleveland.

An interesting footnote to this trip is that we had reached Pittsburgh before the Capitol Limited did even though No. 30 had left hours earlier.

A locomotive breakdown en route severely delayed the Capitol and I was able to photograph it coming into the Pittsburgh station.

The Three Rivers were be discontinued west of Pittsburgh just over two weeks later, making its last runs through Northeast Ohio on March 7.

Article by Craig Sanders

When the Pennsylvanian Saw Daylight in Northeast Ohio

November 15, 2020

I enjoyed the few years that Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian ran through Ohio in the late 1990s to early 2000s.

I rode from Cleveland at least twice with family members to Harrisburg and return.

I also rode to Altoona, twice to Pittsburgh and several times just to Alliance. When I wasn’t riding I would be trackside to photograph, make video or just watch.

Here are some of my favorite trackside images of the Pennsylvanian in Ohio.

In the top image, the westbound train is arriving in Alliance where a group of us will board to return to Cleveland during an Akron Railroad Club outing on May 16, 1999.

Next up is a westbound at Hines Hill Road in Hudson on July 25, 1999, followed by the eastbound passing the former Pennsylvania Railroad station in Sebring on Sept. 9, 2001.

In the final image of the sequence, Marty Surdyk introduced me to the Garfield sag after we caught the Pennsylvanian  in Sebring on Sept. 9.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas