We have several interesting developments for 2019 and these
include a DJI Phantom 4 Pro that we just got. With a better camera than
the P3P we've been using, we're stepping up our game! Also, we've
purchased a DJI Osmo to use for our intros and perhaps some different shots as
the trains pass. We also have a GoPro Hero 4 Black that shoots 4K that we
will use from time to time. It's going to be another exciting year!
Amtrak has five locomotives that commemorate the 40th anniversary of Amtrak
service and these are painted to resemble past phases of Amtrak paint schemes.
Amtrak 156 Phase I P42DC
Amtrak 130 Phase II P42DC
Amtrak 145 Phase III P42DC
Amtrak 184 Phase IV P42DC
Amtrak 822 Phase III P40DC
Amtrak currently has 396 locomotives, so seeing one of these Heritage units is
interesting, especially if it’s leading the train. When one of these locomotives
gets assigned to a route like the Southwest Chief, it often comes and goes
several times before it gets assigned to another route. That gives train
photographs several chances to catch it in different locations.
In previous videos, we’ve caught Amtrak 156 and Amtrak 822 on the route through
New Mexico. Now it’s Amtrak 184’s turn pay us a visit.
Well over a year in advance of Amtrak’s 40th Anniversary, a core team of
employees was formed to develop plans for celebrating 40 years of being
America’s Railroad. One of the ideas was to paint current locomotives into each
of the previous paint schemes Amtrak has used over the years. Blair Slaughter of
Industrial Design and Matt Donnelly of the Marketing and Product Development
Department collaborated to adapt the paint schemes to the current P42 locomotive
There are four previous paint schemes, known as phases, and only one had ever
been applied to the P42 car body previously. The goal was to keep the schemes as
true to their original form, while fitting the physical design of the current
locomotives so that they looked right—a task that resulted in as many as seven
unique options per scheme! The favorite 2D concept for each scheme was chosen,
and Matt painted scale models of the Phase I and II schemes to test the plans.
More fine tuning was done after seeing the scale models before a finalized plan
was made for each scheme.
Blair drew paint diagrams of the finalized plans to scale using CAD, specifying
every last detail so that the employees at the Beech Grove Maintenance Facility
could make the plans a reality. The paint and decal team at Beech Grove did a
beautiful job of applying these schemes to locomotives already scheduled to
receive paint jobs.
December 6, 2018. When Amtrak 4, the eastbound Southwest Chief developed
running gear problems on the second unit P42DC, BNSF 1770, an SD40-2 was put
on in Albuquerque. After hearing that it would lead the train, we went
trackside to Bernalillo to catch the action.
This engine was built in 1978 as ATSF 5210 and has been a workhorse in the
Belen-Albuquerque for some time.
The American Railway Explorer, based in Los Angeles, owns a group of three
private rail cars, each named after a U.S. state: Kansas, Utah and California.
They were originally part of the Ski Train, a 14-car train that transported
Denver residents 56 miles to the Winter Park Resort. The Ski Train ran from the
1940s until 2009, when the Canadian National Railway bought most of its cars,
except these three. Now, each is available for charter at a rate of $5000 a day,
not including Amtrak charges, liquor and food.
For nearly 70 years, Colorado's Ski Train would make a regular four-hour
round-trip journey through 29 tunnels, including the country's highest -- the
6.2 mile-long Moffat Tunnel, beneath the Continental Divide. James Park, the
same man behind the Eastern Oriental Express Luxury Train, redesigned the cars,
which are now specially rigged to connect to the Amtrak trains.
The California, built in 1954 by the Budd Company for service on the Northern
Pacific’s North Coast Limited, became Amtrak 9211 in 1971. Acquired by Philip
Anschutz’s Ansco Investment Company in 1988, it was used on the Ski Train until
2009. It sleeps 16 and has a gorgeous upstairs area with a patented
skylight-type dome. Together, the Kansas, Utah and California sleep 22 people,
with a day-use capacity of 64. Of the three, the California is definitely the
On November 21, 2018, we were fortunate enough to see it arrive in Albuquerque
on the eastbound Southwest Chief and be set out. After discharging its
passengers, it was later attached to the westbound Southwest Chief for return to