As of the end of 2023, Siemens Mobility has released 50 of its ALC-42 locomotives to Amtrak. The so called "long distance Chargers" are now evident on the Empire Builder (since February 2022), the City of New Orleans (off and on since March, 2023), often leading Coast Starlight, and as trailers on Silver Star, Silver Meteor, and (late in the year) Crescent. Chargers have moved east in mostly non-revenue service (delivery) on trains 6 and 30. From time to time they have been sighted running solo on the Cardinal, and in occasional revenue service on trains 29/30 between Washington DC (WDCUS) and Chicago (CUS).

As of the end of 2023, ALC's had not yet run on four other overnight trains (Sunset Limited, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, and Lakeshore). Also as of the end of 2023, none of the units with road numbers higher than 339 has been pressed into revenue service that we know of. Three of the new ALC-42's have already been sidelined by road crossing incidents. The arrival of Siemens Mobility long-distance Chargers is significant, in that Amtrak's diesel locomotive complement is now about back to where it was in 2001, when most of the 44 count 800-series P40 Genesis locomotives were retired (a few of those were rebuilt for Autotrain, and even more for Connecticut DOT/Metro North).


Of the 1966-built group of 47 General Electric Genesis P42's remaining at Amtrak, 24 of them were still in revenue service at the end of 2023. Three or four were on standby or shopped out of that group, but none other than #46 received any serious maintenance (overhauls and/or refresh) in 2023. (Engine #46 got a cosmetic uplift with a commemorative sticker). Out west, these elderly P42's were mostly trailing units, but our of WDCUS, they still run solo or as leaders. Here was the breakdown as of December 25, 2023:

California Zephyr: 4, 19, 25, 37, 41, 43.
Southwest Chief: 7, 11, 18, 29, 30, 44.
Coast Starlight: 15.
Sunset Limited: 10.
Crescent: 48.
Silver Meteor / Silver Star: 13, 14.
WDCUS Regionals NFK/NPN/RNK: 5, 22.
Lakeshore Limited/NEC:46.
Standby FTW: 23.
Standby NOL: 33, 38, 39.
Standby CHI: 27.
Shopped Ivy City:40.


In this group, there were 39 usable locomotives still rostered at the end of 2023, although two of them were believed to be in maintenance (#84 and #95), and four were on standby in Chicago (#55, #59, #61, and #62). Engine #95 came out of Beech Grove in November, but has not been in revenue service. It may be in the process of being converted to a cab unit. Typically the 50's and 60's former Illinois "high-speed" units tend to stay more on Texas Eagle rotations, although half of the usable 50's road numbers happened to be elsewhere at the end of December. The 70-99 group have in recent years been assigned mostly to east coast commuter duties, although in late December #72, #76, #78 and #81 happened to be on western overnight trainsets. On the Crescent and/or Silvers were #83, #87, #97, and #99.


Depending on the status of standby and maintenance units, it seems that out of P42 road numbers #1-100, there are 63 left on day to day available revenue duties at the end of 2023. One or two of them may be in the process of being converted to de-powered cab units. Three or four of the 2012 rebuilt P40's are still roaming (other than Autotrain), and there are approximately 35 active long distance Chargers now replacing one each of the GE's on five of Amtrak's overnight train routes (with another 10 delivered but evidently not yet commissioned). P42 road numbers 101-207 have not yet shown the attrition rate of the 1996-1997 built engines, largly because their are several years newer. We will get to that end of year summary when we have time. As of the end of 2023, there have not been any ALC (long distance) Siemens Chargers regularly assigned to commuter duties.

Overall, Amtrak had a pretty good year in 2023, with ridership rebounding from the covid pandemic. Positive Train Control was finally implemented after more than a decade of delays, and especially in Illinois and Michigan, some train speed increases were noted. However, capacity was arbitrarily restricted nationwide, and fares raised considerably by Amtrak management, making it impossible for many to book travel that would have desired to. The speed increases failed to translate into a quicker timetable, although 15 minutes were shaved in Illinois, and perhaps more trains began arriving "early" rather than significantly late. Capacity constraints were blamed mostly on alleged personnel shortages.

Operating revenue for FY23 bounced back to $4 billion or so, with most western intercity trains making money in their public/private partnership with freight railroads in 44 states. But as usual, northeast corridor trains were burdened by high costs of infrastructure replacement.

In the best news of 2023, some $16 billion of the bipartisan infrastructure law funds was committed, mostly to partially fund two tunnel rebuilds and commence one bridge replacement on the northeast corridor. In New York City, the much-anticipated new Moynahan facility opened to supplement Penn Station. Some promises were made to begin improving Chicago's Union Station beyond the point of the endless studies that have happened previously over many years. While not an Amtrak project, a highlight of the year was expansion of "Brightline" service in Florida. This project raised public awareness of the greater needs for environmentally-friendly rail transportation nationwide.

Another $50 billion may be in the works, depending upon political winds. If it happens, it will be more good news for passenger trains in the United States. Washington and Oregon were able to add two new state-subsidized Cascade train frequencies in December. Previous covid-related suspensions were mostly restored on the three Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal border-crossing routes. Discussions were begun on future resumption of the "International" route between Chicago and Toronto. And more endless studies were commissioned for other possible route expansions, station improvements, and maintenance facility upgrades.

On the down side in 2023, state political support for Congressionally-mandated state supported trains operating out of Chicago, Detroit, and St. Louis seemed to be lessening. And Amtrak management did little to raise its poor public profile. Concentrating on only end-points, and acting like an airline, managers continued to ignore needs rural and suburban markets. Adding new station stops in small towns and suburban areas continues to be nearly impossible. No real effort has been made to improve interface with other transportation forms, such as at more major airports, or with regional operators such as Brightline at Orlando, Trinity Rail at DFW, and Metra in Chicago. Busiest airports in the United States have no Amtrak connections. Top ten markets such as Phoenix, Houston, Las Vegas, Atlanta, and San Antonio barely exist on the Amtrak horizon, either with no service at all, or very limited at inaccessible park benches in the middle of the night.

Despite cutting in positive train control in Illinois on upgraded Union Pacific trackage, and raising train speeds to 110 MPH, no significant timetable improvements have been made there, and travel times are still signficantly longer than they were 100 years ago in the steam age. Missouri backed out of support for one of its River Runner frequencies, and daily reports from Texas and Oklahoma seem to threaten the future of the Texas Eagle and Heartland Flyer. Crossing improvements across the country still lagged, failing to stem the rising tide of vehicle intrusions and trespasser incidents. Shortages of passenger rail cars and crew persisted into the new year. Dispatching inconsistency, maintenance of way moratoriums, and freight train interference still caused inconsistent timekeeping and train cancellation on many routes. Freight train derailments, threatened labor walkouts, weather-related incidents such as mudslides, flooding, and fires played hob with the country's transportation, as always.

Here are links to the remaining Amtrak "Genesis" series locomotives still in operation in 2024. While we are interested in all of them, our major focus is the group built in 1996. These are endangered species, because they are being replaced by Siemens Mobility "Chargers," of which Amtrak had received 50 long distance versions by the end of 2023. For an update on each locomotive, click the photo, and/or the serial number block on each individual page.

January 4, 2024 Update from 4rr.com "feedback" at 4rr.com for comments, contributions, corrections, updates, broke links, etc.