Now into their third decade of service as Generation III diesels at Amtrak, four in the road number 1-50 group, including #1, have been destroyed by wrecks. One (49) was destroyed by an engine room fire. Most of the #1-49 group were built with 1996 date stickers, so their age is now 23 years. It now seems likely that they will be retired starting in 2021.|
This top photo was #1 in the George Warrington-era paint job order. That paint scheme started in 1993 as Tom Downs became Amtrak president, and Warrington was hired to operate the northeast business unit. The pinstripe paint scheme first appeared on new Superliner cars for western trains, and was applied also to Amfleet cars used on eastern trains. It did not reach diesel locomotives until about 1998, and did not last long. In that order, road numbers 1-28 and the active P40's received this so-called "northeastern" treatment. This occurred to #1 in the summer of 2000, just as the company decided to totally re-brand itself.
As-delivered, #1 wore the (Paul) Reistrup 1975 modified bicentennial stripes when it came to New Orleans in late 1996. In the first decade of service, the Crescent City was the maintenance base and General Electric also did some warranty work there. Bluenosing, the third major styling change, took place to #1 in spring 2003 with Cesar Vergara generally credited with the change. Vergara was Amtrak's styling director. Also associated with Vergara, the original design of the Genesis series, and subsequent paint schemes, was the Teague organization (originally founded by famed industrial designer Walter Teague). You have Teague to thank for the nose of the Genesis "cab unit," as well as the designs of some of your household appliances, and most the interiors of all Boeing aircraft ever built.
The road number 1 at Amtrak was previously assigned to a EMD switcher in New Orleans, and subsequently re-issued to this GE in August 1996. The locomotive was assembled at Erie, Pennsylvania, during a period that proved to be more or less the last hurrah for USA companies in the passenger train business. GE planned to produce an "Evolution" series passenger locomotive to follow up this "Geneis" design, but never did so.
Original builder data stickers are long gone, in some cases replaced with reproductions to indicate rebuild into later environmental tier compliance. During the first decade of service, the Genesis series kept their original welded steel noses, but starting in 2005, bolt-on composite shells were configured to make nose repairs easier. There were two versions of headlight surround on the bolty nose.
All totaled, 207 Genesis P42 units were produced for Amtrak, along with 44 earlier P40's in 1993. If these were automobiles, they would be eligible for antique license plates in most states. A second order of P42's was delivered during the time that Amtrak was totally rebranding itself, 2000-2001. The "Acela" paint scheme featured a blue "wave" along with a revised logo. This "travelmark" (some say "three sheets to the wind") replaced the previous pointless arrow that Amtrak had used since its inception of operations in 1971. Locomotives #121 and #122 were the only ones to be delivered new in the "Warrington" stripes. From #123-168 the new bluenose paint featured a "high skirt" with a darker blue stripe above the "antracite grey" undercarriage.
Low band bluenose paint scheme first originated May 2001 at production number #169. Over six years, older paint jobs were re-branded. The last "bicentennial" unit, #32, was finally repainted in July 2005. The last non-conforming high-skirts were changed over by early 2007.
New York also received 18 "dual-mode" Genesis-bodied units in two batches, which replaced EMD's former "FL" units between Rensselaer and New York's Penn Station. There were two orders, the first being in 1995, and the balance in 1998. These "Empire Service" motors are in the process of being restyled now during the 2016-19 period. One locomotive at a time is bening taken to Beech Grove, Indiana, where Amtrak's diesel paint booth is located. For the first time, "New York Empire Service" now has its own paint scheme and logo. Ten of the seventeen had been run through the shop by the end of 2018, with one in the booth pending at the end of 2018. Some of them received emergency nose escape hatches in 2018 in order to allow their use at Grand Central Station.
Engine #1 had no major damage history that we know of prior to 2017. In the past, it had conducted some ceremonial runs, such as for the American Orient Express, and AAPRCO special trains. In 2004-2005 it was almost exclusively on the Autotrain. Eventually, some retired P40's were rebuilt 2008-2011, and many of those returned to the Autotrain, freeing up the P42's for duty elsewhere.
On March 14, 2017, while assigned to maintenance of way duty clearing snow out of Rensselaer, New York, #1 collided with a city owned snowplow at Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Engine 89 was pushing the non-revenue train, with two passenger cars in between. The speed limit for trains in this area was 80 mph, and the train was moving at 57 mph at the time of the crash. Eventually #1 was moved in freight service to Beech Grove, Indiana, arriving there sometime in September. As of March 2018 it remains at Beech Grove.
According to accident reports, the Birnie Road crossing had a murky reputation, with questions since the mid-1980's exsisting as to whether it was private or public. It was protected by crossbucks and a stop sign, and previous attempts to upgrade protection was stalled by the uncertainty. The snowplow driver was backing across the tracks at a time of limited visibility due to heavy snow from "winter storm stella." Amtrak revenue services had been cancelled that day due to the storm.
As of late 2018, #1 and #8 were the only two of Amtrak's first ten 1996-built P42's to be de-rostered. Of the first fifty locomotives built for Amtrak, road numbers #26-36 were kept at Chicago for Michigan corridor services. The rest were maintained in New Orleans until 2006. At the end of 2018, #8, #21, and #47 had been destroyed by wrecks and #49 by fire. The others were still in service, but for how long has not yet been announced. In the summer of 2018, Amtrak requested proposals for either rebuilding or replacing these aging locomotives.
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|MORE PHOTOS OF #1|
|UPDATED DECEMBER 2018|