EDITOR'S COMMENTS JUNE 2, 2020
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.

Our profile engine is #55, currently operating out of Los Angeles on the Coast Starlight.
The remnants of Pacific tropical storm Amanda have crossed Central America, and the storm has now re-formed in the Gulf of Mexico where it has been renamed Cristobal. Cristobal will likely cause disruptions in Louisiana or Texas later in the week. Most current guidance has it meandering off the coast of Louisiana on the weekend.

On this date in 1935 Babe Ruth retired. This month we remember and honor the veterans of World War II, whose surviving members are mostly in their 90's (and a few in their 100's), and hard hit by the current virus situation.

June 2, 1940, British troops were being bombed mercilessly on the beaches of Dunkirk. Things looked dark indeed. Seventy-three to seventy-five years ago, many of the Allies had been fighting their way across North Africa and up the Italian peninsula, an effort that forced the Axis powers to divide their resources in what had become a four-front European war. Ultimately, the sacrifices these heroes made in 1942, 1943, and 1944 made the D-Day invasion possible, along with the ultimate collapse of Germany. On June 2, 1943, the 99th pursuit squadron conducted its first combat operation over Italy. In June, among other dates, are the anniversaries of both the D-Day invasion (June 6, 1944), as well as the Anzio operation in Italy (Rome fell on June 5, 1944), and the critical Battle of Midway in the Pacific (June 4-7, 1942).


On this date in 1924, USA Native Americans received citizenship (ironic, isn't it). Queen Elizabeth was crowned on this date in 1953, and in a not so happy recollection of history, Australian aircraft carrier Melbourne collided with US Navy Destroyer Evans ship off the coast of Vietnam, killing 74 seamen.

On Friday May 29, the westbound Empire Builder encountered farm equipment on the Hi Line, West of Williston, at a crossing in eastern Montana's Roosevelt County. The location was near Lanark, about 14 miles west of the North Dakota/Montana state line. Leading was P42 #9, followed by converted P40 #818. While reports vary, it seems there was a minor fire, but the nose of #9 appears to be significantly damaged from blunt force. This may be the last we have seen of #9, given the circumstances of its age and degree of damage. The eastbound train 8 was terminated at Malta. BNSF moved some of the re-railed equipment west to Culberson, although there also have been reports of some being moved east to Bainville siding. According to reports there were 64 on board, many of whom reported minor injuries from the compression shock.

Recently there has been much accellerated chatter and noise about a rural/urban divide, and about an inequality between states. In particular, citizens of a few western and southern states seem to be resentful of wealthier and more populated states such as California, New York, and Illlinois. They tend to be whiners it seems. If the truth be known, those unfortunate citizens who claim they have been victimized would actually be living on dirt roads without running water or electricity, but for the largess of weathy states. There would certainly be no educational or health infrastrure, even though by all measures,many such areas do have inferior coverages today. By far, the largest percentage of the federal budget comes from the larger "donor" states, and from bigger cities in the less populated states. Those who live in relatively poor "recipient" locations should be careful what they wish for. If not for government agencies providing universal services, such as the post office, there would be no delivery of packages or parcels to those "victim" locations, certainly not at the rates currently enjoyed. We know, our internet sucks, and sometimes it seems like we are ignored. Yes, that is because we do not generate the corporate revenues found in the more populated areas. Government can be wasteful, that is true, but without government subsidies and programs, the so-called "divide" would only be much worse. Unfortunately, we are simply not profitable for corporate America to pay much attention to. A moral to the story is that those of us who choose to survive in the backwoods and boondocks probably should not complain about having access to all of the benefits of wealthy big city living. We should appreciate and support those equalizing services, such as Amtrak and the post office, that are provided to us.

Acela II made a move from Philly to Washington yesterday for an anticipated media event. Given the militarized nature of the nation's capitol at the moment, very interesting timing. But still, that plus the recently released video of the Colorado set running at speed on the test track, makes for good news. The Colorado test set has not yet been outfitted with interiors.

Unexpected good news, at least for a short time, in that the FRA has indicated an award of short term funding for the resumption of New Orleans - Mobile train service. Alabama is not participating, but the city of Mobile is. The new funding should allow for two round trips per day, allowing reverse commuting. There have been previous efforts at providing passenger service between Mobile and New Orleans in the Amtrak era. For the most part, such efforts have been thwarted by the host railroad, CSX. CSX typically delays trains for hours at Gentilly Yard, despite the fact that public money was used to create a passing track there. Needing two extra hours transit time requires 4 AM departures, and makes the trip non-competitive with paralell Interstate Highway 10. Sadly, without a change of heart by CSX, the well-intentioned new effort will fail.

The Pennsylvanian is back operating again as of Monday (although #86 needed help from NS9535 to make the trip). The westbound Capitol of May 31 also needed freight help, with both a CSX and NS unit added en-route. It is expected that a few more trains may return to service this month. But all forms of transportation and most of the hospitality industry is reeling from the economic damage of recent events. Some returns may be premature, and future cancellations or re-suspensions of service are possible. This is entirely uncharted territory.

Michigan's legislature has mandated that private bidders be sought for some, if not all of its state-supported passenger trains. First will be the Pere Marquette service, which is currently suspended. The state pays $4 million per year for the daily Grand Rapids roundtrip. In the past, Amtrak management has not well tolerated the possibility of private-public partnerships. Under the Joseph Boardman regime, particularly. But with different management in place now, anything is possible.

Genesis 108 and 109 still have their steel noses. We have a report from May 15 of 109 getting a Earl Scheib nose repaint at RSR. Evidently the normally red belt line reflective stripe has been replaced with a white one that wraps the locomotive. Apparently this is a Rensselaer thing. Only one other has been reported to have it, #103. This is a unique combination up till now, but may spread to other units to make them more visible at grade crossings at night. So what V will the purists call this?

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 P42 Genesis locomotive fleet, along with those older P40's that are still active. This information is only available to the public through in person visual sightings, or recorded by occasional trackside camera. Amtrak considers this information classified, highly proprietary, and will not release it to the public. While our reports are often delayed, sometimes by up to 24 hurs or more, having a past history of a location can be important in predicting where a specific unit might be in the future. On the other hand, except for generalities, we are not necessarily able to guarantee that you will see a certain locomotive on a certain train. We wish we could.



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