In June, Amtrak began sharing with select public officials its plan to truncate
operation of the Southwest Chief.
Trains magazine reported that Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson gave a presentation to
lawmakers from Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico on June 19 during which he said
Amtrak would no longer use the Raton Pass route.
Instead, the carrier plans to operate trains between Chicago and Dodge City,
Kansas, or La Junta, Colorado; and between Los Angeles and Albuquerque, New
A bus bridge will operate between Albuquerque and La Junta or Dodge City.
Anderson said Amtrak is the sole user of the line between Trinidad, Colorado,
He also sought to explain why Amtrak has refused thus far to provide $3 million
to match a federal TIGER grant obtained by Colfax County, New Mexico, to
rehabilitate the route of the Chicago-Los Angeles Chief in northern New Mexico.
Amtrak plans to share its plans for the Chief this summer with Congress and
others. Trains reported that Amtrak plans to make the service changes because
that is its prerogative.
Anderson presented information that heavily focused on the financial losses of
the Chief using the fully allocated cost criteria.
He also said the five year capital costs to improve the route would range
between $30 million and $50 million.
“This is the first time that a management team has ever come out against
continuing services Amtrak currently provides; they are ready to take apart the
long distance system,” former Amtrak president David Gunn told Trains.
The plans to truncate the Chief also have drawn sharp criticism from former
Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman.
“It’s dishonorable and dishonest,” ex-Amtrak president Joe Boardman told Trains.
Colorado Rail Passenger Association president Jim Souby, who viewed Anderson’s
presentation, said that it avoided the issue of who is on the train and where
they are going.
This fight isn't over and everyone should contact their elected representatives.
This effort has already gotten an amendment to the budget proposal that has
passed the Senate, but it still needs to go to the House and be signed into law.
On Sunday, July 29, 2018 the New Mexico Rail Runner ran a test train up to
CP Herzog north of Albuquerque. This unusual train consisted of 4
locomotives, and 12 cars.
This train was probably testing track that had been repaired earlier in the
week that was damaged from flash flooding.
Amtrak paint schemes (or "Phases", as they are referred to by Amtrak) are a
series of liveries applied to the outside of their rolling stock. The livery
phases appeared as different designs, with a majority using a red, white, and
blue (the colors of the United States Flag) palette, except for promotional
trains, experimental trains, state partnership routes, and the Capstone phase.
Amtrak began operations in May 1971 with a mixture of equipment from its
predecessor railroads, much of which was painted in a variety of
railroad-specific paint schemes. This era was later referred to as the Rainbow
Era, due to the mix-matched colorful trains Amtrak used. Amtrak elected not to
keep the same rolling stock on the same routes and it was not unexpected to find
rolling stock from anywhere in the US on any train. To build the brand of Amtrak
as a unified passenger railroad, the equipment was gradually repainted into
system-wide Phases starting around 1972 with Phase I.
The phases are referred in numerical sequential order, usually in Roman
numerals. Up until the introduction of the Acela, phases were painted on all
equipment. However, since 2000 Amtrak has started splitting phases up between
equipment with locomotives getting Phase V & cars getting Phase IVb. While
previously locomotives and rail cars could be painted in different styles they
were still referred to as being in the same phase, with often the locomotive
versions getting an unofficial nickname.
In 2013 to coincide with the pending arrival of new equipment Amtrak unveiled
new Amtrak America branding and scheme variations.
Phase III is a widely known paint scheme of Amtrak, introduced in 1979 and
existing to this day on some equipment. This paint scheme used similar colors to
those used on Phase II stripes, except that the outer white pinstripes were
deleted and the red, white, and blue stripes were of approximately equal width.
On locomotives the same black roof lining was kept. On some equipment, such as
the LRC, the white stripe remained the same width while the red and blue were
expanded to cover a larger area. Another distinguishing feature of this paint
scheme is the labeling of every passenger car with its type and number in black
lettering on the white stripe. This style of Phase III was used on Amtrak
locomotives, passenger cars, and Material Handling Cars. Amtrak 822, a P40DC
seen in this video, celebrates the Phase III paint scheme.