Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak P42DC’

Ferry Move

August 3, 2022

Once a week Amtrak’s Cardinal ferries equipment between Chicago and Indianapolis that is going to or from its Beech Grove Shops. The normal procedure is to place the ferried equipment, including locomotives, on the front of the train. Shown is the westbound Cardinal on the CSX Monon Subdivision about a mile south of Linden, Indiana. The regular equipment of No. 51 starts behind the two Superliner cars that are trailing a Viewliner baggage car and diner. The image was made on May 30.

Something Special on Amtrak No. 48

July 14, 2022

I saw online that Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited had P42DC No. 108, the Phase VI livery leading on Tuesday morning.

This scheme has been described by Amtrak as “transitional” as well as a celebration of the passenger carrier’s 50th anniversary.

I got up early and went down to the Painesville station. No. 48 was reported to have left Cleveland on time at 5:50 a.m.

My camera showed a time stamp of 6:12 a.m. on my images.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Been More Than a Decade Now

June 8, 2022

I recently ran across this image of the Amtrak 40th anniversary exhibit train in Jackson, Michigan. The exhibit train contained numerous artifacts regarding Amtrak history in those three baggage cars.

The Amfleet food service car contained a gift shop while the sleeping car on the rear provided quarters for the traveling exhibit train staff.

The image was made in October 2011. That was more than 10 years ago. Last year when Amtrak marked its 50th anniversary, it did not send an exhibit train out to tour the country.

Aside from a few historic photographs posted on its website and giving some locomotives a 50th anniversary herald Amtrak did little to celebrate its half century of service.

The lingering COVID-19 pandemic no doubt had something to do with that. So did Amtrak’s aversion to spending money on something management viewed as a “frill” during a time when the passenger carrier continued to struggle with less revenue due to pandemic-induced ridership losses.

On the point of the exhibit train is an F40 non-powered control unit painted in the Phase III livery. The same retro look has been applied to the trailing P42DC, which provided motive power and head-end power to the train.

This image also is noteworthy for having been scanned from a slide that came from one of the last rolls of slide film that I ever exposed. Three months earlier I had purchased a digital single lens reflex camera and I seldom made photographs with slide film after that.

On this day I had both cameras although most of the images I made were created with the digital camera. I finished off a roll of slide film with my other camera, which left just one roll of slide film left in my camera bag.

Later this summer will be the 10th anniversary of my having exposed my last frame of slide film. That image was of Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 in Bucyrus pulling a Norfolk Southern employee appreciation special.

Those NS employee specials, like the Amtrak exhibit train, are both now things of the past and nothing similar has come along to take their place.

Photograph and Article by Craig Sanders

Opening the 2022 Photo Season

March 27, 2022

Whether it is a sports team, a theater company, or a musical ensemble, there is something special about opening day or opening night. The players or performers have been putting in hours of practice and planning as they pointed toward the moment when the season, run or concert series would begin.

There is much anticipation and hope for an auspicious start that will herald great things to come.

And so it was as I made my way to east central Illinois back on Feb. 20 for my first railfan photography outing of the year.

That day proved to be far from a promising beginning. Shown above is the only train I wound up photographing.

Amtrak’s northbound Saluki passes the former Illinois Central station in Arcola, Illinois. There is still some snow lingering from a previous storm and Train 390 was more than a half hour late. On the point was a P42DC rather than the usual SC-44.

I would spend the rest of the day hanging out in Tuscola but train traffic was minimal and I ended up going home feeling disappointed. It was just one of those days.

Opening day is never the only game or performance of a season and this won’t be my only outing of this year. More and better days lie ahead. I’m looking forward to them because you never know what you will see, what you will find.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

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.