This is the second paint variety for engine #55. It originally started out in the Reistrup-style red white and blue stripes. Bluenosing took place by early 2002 with the latest low-stripe variety. The new style red reflective stripe is the about width of a credit card. The road number 55 at Amtrak was previously assigned to a United Aircraft Turbo Power Unit.
The builder sticker is missing from the side of #55 in this photo, which still shows the original steel nose before it was replaced. As Amtrak's P42's went through environmental upgrades late in life, new builder data stickers were applied at Beech Grove.
The only 50's series locomotive to have the intermediate northeastern paint was #51. All of the 50-59 series have had wreck problems over the years, especially #50 and #56. As of June 2020, all were in service except for #54, which was moved to Beech Grove February 18, 2018, and has not been heard from again.
The low band bluenose paint scheme originated May 2001, when a shift was made for the new P42's coming out of production at road number 169. All of the older units were subsequently re-branded, including #55. It took until 2006 for the rebranding to be completed.
GE has been tweaking the 7FDL power plant since 1962, and had it up to 4500 horsepower in freight service. The Amtrak Genesis P4 series uses the 16 cylinder version in passenger service, with 4250 horsepower to generate electricity for the traction motors. GE discontinued production of the Genesis series after completion of the VIA-Rail Canada series at the end of 2001. The product was still caried in its catalog until 2006, but no further units were ever produced. A replacement unit was under development, but GE eventually exited the locomotive business before any could be built.
Engine #55 and its siblings in the 50's and 60's road number blocks were in dedicated Illinois commuter service for a good portion of their lives, after a 2008 initiative began that was supposed to increase timetable speeds between Chicago and St. Louis on Amtrak's "Lincoln Service" corridor. The speed increase never happened except for a few test runs. Eventually the Genesis series locomotives were replaced with new Siemen's Chargers, and 55 went back into pool service.
On January 3, 2020 #55 went east to start the year, running on the Capitol Limited to Washington. A period of Virginia and Carolina regional services began on January 4, which lasted through January 28. At that point #55 did an Atlanta turn on the Crescent in February (track work eliminated service south of Atlanta). Between March 2-16, #55 worked Silver Star and Silver Meteor trains to and from Florida. Between March 19-22 she was back on Virginia duty, before returning to Chicago via train 29 on March 24.
In April of 2020 #55 moved from Chicago to New Orleans, and then went on train 1 April 11-13, 2020. Since that time she has been on the Coast Starlight more or less full time, her assignment still Los Angeles-based as of June 1, 2020.
|UPDATED: JUNE 2020|