General Electric manufactured the P40/P42 series
of diesel locomotives at Erie, Pennsylvania, during the period 1993-2001. Amtrak purchased 44 P40's, 207 P42's, and 18 dualmodes (the latter with New York State support for Empire Services). Even the newest ones are now 20+ years old.

"What the American public doesn't know is what makes them the American public."
Ray Zalinsky - March 31, 1995

"Some cause happiness Wherever they go. Others Whenever they go"
Oscar Wilde - March 31, 1883


Nobody really knows how this summer is going to play out yet, but we are planning to have a camper at Essex. If you might be interested in renting it for a week or longer, please hit us up with a message from the green page. Cell phone coverage and internet is limited, but all the amenities you need after hard days of watching trains on the High Line. Sleeps 4-6 depending on how big one is. Handy to Glacier National Park.


Locomotive 46 reportedly repainted, with a new "Connecting America for 50 Years" sticker. Could this anniversary logo appear elsewhere during 2021?

In case anyone wondered, forgot, or is too young to know, the 50 years has to do with the creation of Amtrak. The Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970 was signed without fanfare by President Nixon on October 30, 1970 at his western white house home in San Clemente, California.

The operational passenger transition happened overnight on April 30, 1971, with stockholder owned lines ceasing operations at midnight, and a skeleton of trains operating after midnight May 1, with NRPC (National Railroad Passenger Corporation) subsidy. Technically, Amtrak's 50 year birthday was October 30, 2020, although it has been traditional to date the company's age from when it first took over the last remaining trains in 1971.


Apologies for being repetitive for those who already know this, but over the years Amtrak has had many named cars. Before Amtrak, there were two substantial remaining manufacturers of passenger cars in the US: Edward G. Budd (stainless steel), and Pullman Standard (carbon steel). Budd is no more, having been cannibalized by various foreign takeovers, but their patented stainless steel technoligy was acquired by others.

A last gasp of Pullman-Standard was their build pf "superliners" for Amtrak at Hammond, Indiana between 1978 and 1981. After Pullman-Standard collapsed, the same former Budd technology was used by Bombardier to build "superliner II's" in Quebec and Vermont, 1991-1996.

The newer CAF viewliner "River cars" are in this tradition. Amtrak itself also had placed state names on its last batch of new Bombardier-built Superliner sleepers in 1992-1996. Why the names were taken off is not clear, but the older heritage cars were eventually retired. The surviving now-20+ year old supers still soldier on, with the names chiseled off.

One story, told by a grizzled old conductor, was that passengers refused to board because the state name on their car was not the state name of their destination. Kinda makes sense, one guesses, as when waiting for a bus you want the name on the front of the bus to be where you are going to, right? Anyway, they scraped off the names that used to be by the doors in 4 places on each car, at least on most of them. On some of them you can still see the shadow of where the names used to be. There may be a few where the vestibule door names still exist. We don't know for sure. Interesting story though. Truth or myth, we'll likely never know!


These are "wonder units" which have not been reported moving in over a month (in addition to the New Orleans stored units). With western trains cut by 60%, spare locomotives often sit for longer periods of time than in the past. Somewhat oddly, a batch of them suddenly went into service again after we identified them as siding queens. Here's what's left right now:

60 - Last known at Ivy City, has not moved in January.

61 - Another New Orleans siding queen, with no moves in Jaunary.

68 - Last reported Oakland in November.

71 - Lumber Street since December.

77 - Lumber street in December.

85 - At New Haven for several weeks. No reported recent revenue service.

95 - No report of a revenue move since December 20 into New Haven.

116 - 120 - 121 - No reports this year. Either Boston or Downeaster.

160 - Chicago with no reports this year.

163 - Last report Redondo in mid December. Confirmed still there January 17, 2021.

171 - Maintenance of way at Harrisburg 1-19-21. No revenue moves in 2 months.


For our new viewers, perhaps who just found this page, here is our mission: To track as well as possible the movements of Amtrak's ancient P42 Genesis locomotive fleet, along with those few even older P40's that are still active at Amtrak. From time to time we may also have some general comments about the future of transportation in North America.

Happy New Year