Amtrak was created on Christmas Day 1969 when Richard Nixon signed the authorizing legislation at his home in San Clemente, California. Operations started on May 1, 1971 with hand-me-down equipment. Beginning in 1975, Amtrak began replacing its diesel fleet and re-designing its passenger cars to operate with head-end electrical power provided by an on-board generator (the early days also saw some dedicated "generator cars" for a brief time). The lions share of the locomotive work went to EMD, who provided the famous "F40." They are characterized by red white and blue horizontal "bicentennial"stripes.

By 1990 once again it became clear that the second-generation EMD's would need to be replaced, and an always-budgetary-constrained Amtrak finally mustered some Congressional appropriations by giving up a number of its western routes.

Enter General Electric. First, hurried-up modified "dash-8" locomotives were purchased, arriving in 1991 in "pepsi-can" scheme. General Electric won the bid for newly designed locomotives, with its Genesis 4200 horsepower design. One new GE could in theory replace two old EMD's. GE's P40's and P42's comprise Amtraks third generation of diesel locomotives. They were the first computer-controlled passenger locomotives in North America. In 1993, the bicentennial livery was modified somewhat for the first P40's to roll out of Erie, with road numbers 800-843. This design was carried over in 1996, with slight modifications, for the first large P42 order (road numbers 1-98).

The road number 3 at Amtrak was previously assigned to an EMD switcher at New Orleans, before being called up again in 1996 for GE serial number 49321. It showed an August 1996 build date and served faithfully until 2023.

Over the years, we have seen visual changes to the fleet of Genesis locomotives working at Amtrak. Our photos show the original 1975-inspired bicentennial stripe livery, the 1998 "northeastern" variant, and Most obvious, headlight lenes were removed, and later noses modified from steel to bolt-on composite panels.

Eventually the old rectangular headlight box gave way to a scoop design for the headlight. As engines were damaged or overhauled, builder stickers were lost, and when eventually Amtrak got around to replacing them, only the engineer side received one. An outward looking camera was added to the fireman side windshield after 2010, and much more electronic gear has been added. After 2020, positive train control equipment became manditory.

Engine #3 wore its circa 1993 livery and original number board until the summer of 2000. Typically P42's receive an overhaul and/or paint refresh at around three year intervals, although it can be sooner or later depending upon the number of hours of use. Wreck damage may cause it to happen prematurely as well.

After 1998, Amtrak started repainting its diesels in a "northeast direct" livery, and that seems to have been more of a marketing inspired change for engines #1-28, as some were taken sooner than one might have expected. So #3 was probably taken in earlier than would have happened in subsequent years. This design was what #3 ran with until 2003.

A new "millenium" bluenose paint scheme was introduced for Amtrak diesels after 2000, and was applied to #3 by summer of 2003. This was the "low skirt" variant, which had by then become the system standard for P42s. This was the way #3 looked more or less for 20 more years, receiving several refreshes along the way. A bolt-on nose cone was added in 2009.

There were some periods of time late in its career that #3 disappeared for periods of time, said to have been experiencing some electrical problems. However, it was never completely off-rostered, and always seemed to show back up again.

The last revenue duties for #3 that we know of were south of Washington DC Union Station, operating on the Palmetto to and from Savannah in February 2023. It returned to Chicago and sat in the yard there until May. On May 20, 2023 it was moved to the Amtrak shop complex in Beech Grove, Indiana, and as far as we know it remains stored there.

#3 - Serial 49322 (August 1996). Chicago yard February, 2023 until moved CHI-BEE May20, 2023(w/29). Evidently remains at Beech Grove.

January 1, 2024 Update from