Amtrak has survived, and thrived, throughout its history, and while the pandemic has put it squarely in survival mode right now, 2021 marks the 50th year of continuous rail service in the U.S.
Amtrak locomotives — the engine cars that pull the train — are being painted with 50th anniversary logos to mark 50 years of service. Six have already entered service on the national network with different versions of the logos.
“We chose locomotives already budgeted for new paint as part of our life cycle preventative maintenance program and used the opportunity to celebrate this significant milestone on the most iconic component of our business,” said Amtrak President Stephen Gardner.
“The locomotive designs uniquely honor our heritage and our vision of connecting communities, economies and families nationwide.”
Each P42 locomotive is being painted at the Amtrak Beech Grove yard in Beech Grove, Indiana.
Amtrak is selling commemorative items, such as T-shirts, glasses, coins and pins at the Amtrak store.
Amtrak began service with 184 trains a day on May 1, 1971. The first train departed New York City for Philadelphia shortly after midnight that day.
Amtrak has rolled out many discounts and promotions during the last year for its Northeast Corridor and Acela service and its national network to lure more travelers back.
The coronavirus pandemic caused ridership to plunge. Amtrak ridership is still down about 75% from pre-pandemic levels.
Amtrak continues to prepare for the future. It is completing renovations and expansion at D.C.’s Union Station that will double the station’s concourse capacity. It will take delivery of new, faster Acela trains in 2022.
Amtrak’s long-term goal is tripling passenger capacity and doubling train capacity over the next 20 years.