Chugging into middle age, Amtrak is painting itself a facelift and writing its memoirs.
On May 1, “America’s Railroad” will mark 40 years of intercity and high-speed passenger rail service, and the celebration includes repainting of four locomotives in Amtrak’s historic paint schemes.
The first of four repainted P-42 diesel-electric locomotives rolled out of Chicago on Jan. 30, bearing the red, white and blue-striped color scheme that the rail service used from 1979 to 1993. All four locomotives will be in service by the end of April and operate on trains across the Amtrak national network.
Each locomotive had been previously scheduled to receive a new paint job and is being painted at the Amtrak maintenance facility in Beech Grove, IN.
As each becomes available for service, Amtrak will issue a Twitter message at twitter.com/Amtrak and post a photo in the Photos tab on its Facebook page at facebook.com/Amtrak.
Amtrak also plans to roll out a special 40th anniversary “exhibit train” at the National Train Day event in Washington, D.C. on May 7; the train will travel across the country for one year. Historic paint schemes will adorn two locomotives and renovated baggage cars will display exhibits focusing on each decade of the railroad with vintage advertising, past menus and dinnerware, period uniforms, photographs and other memorabilia. There will be no charge for the public to tour the exhibit train; dates and locations will be announced soon.
Other commemorative activities include a book, Amtrak: An American Story, that will include an employee-generated photo essay of 24 hours in the life of the railroad.
A documentary DVD and anniversary web site are also in the works.