By Railfan & Railroad Staff
WASHINGTON — The first locomotive to wear Amtrak’s new Phase VII livery is heading east today on the California Zephyr, bound for Chicago and eventually Wilmington, Del., where it will go through an acceptance process before entering service.
Locomotive 309 is one of 75 Siemens Mobility ALC-42 locomotives that will be delivered through 2025 for use on Amtrak’s long-distance trains. Eight of the first nine ALC-42 locomotives are wearing the current Phase VI paint scheme, but the rest will wear this new modern livery, the seventh standard exterior scheme in the railroad’s 50-year history. (Locomotive 301, the second in the ALC-42 fleet, is wearing the “Day 1” heritage scheme).
The new scheme combines Amtrak red, blue and “midnight blue” colors separated by white arcs. “The Amtrak red color on the front provides a bright splash of color, while darker colors were placed in strategic areas to accentuate the sleek form. The white portions of the design, stripes, logos and unit numbers are reflective for added visibility and safety. The design’s use of non-metallic colors is a departure from predominantly silver locomotives, making repair work more efficient,” officials wrote.
In a statement to the press, Amtrak President Stephen Gardner said the delivery of new ALC-42 locomotives — which officials say will become “the new face” of passenger railroading in America — presented the railroad with the chance of creating a newer, bolder look.
“We’re presented with the perfect opportunity to evolve our image as we grow as an essential part of the American transportation network and expand service in more cities across the country,” Gardner said. “We created this new look for our trains that reflects the transformation underway at Amtrak as we welcome back our loyal customers while introducing new generations to rail travel.”
Locomotive 309 departed Emeryville, Calif., on Thursday on the California Zephyr destined for Chicago. On Sunday, it will be added to the Capitol Limited consist bound for Washington D.C. and eventually Wilmington.