INTRODUCTION TO 4RR.COM
Welcome to our "E-Book" on General Electric's P42 Genesis series of passenger locomotives. We've chased and photographed the "Genesis" locomotives since they were new, and at the moment there are getting to be fewer of them, so, sadly, there will not be so many to chase. In the olden days, somebody might have published a coffee table book with glossy photos. Lacking that ability or market for such a thing, here is a digital version. You can click through the whole fleet if you have the time, and every tenth page or so will show you the most recent activities for that grouping.
We are not affiliated with NRPC (Amrak) or anyone else. The photos are property of 4rr.com. Location data comes from independent spotters. In addition to photos of all of Amrak's 207 P42 locomotives, we attempt to show which ones are still active in 2023, and, as long as the third party data holds out, approximately where you might find them currently.
A few website changes have been made recently, with sightings now by road number block. Most browsers will take you to the blocks if you type in 4rr.com/50, 4rr.com/10, etc. Eventually we will get a table of contents page put together. Individual archive pages are also being set up for each engine, although this will take a while.
Siemens Chargers will be soon taking over more of the jobs that the GE's have performed since 1993. But to maintain even the minimal service that Amtrak had in 1993, the company will still need to keep about 150 of the most servicable P42s in operation. The highest number we have seen in revenue service so far in September has been 339. Forty three of them have been delivered to Chicago so far, just shy of the 44 P40's from GE that Amtrak acquired in 1993, some thirty years ago. Chargers have been running on Empire Builders since February, 2022, and on the Capitol Limited since March 25, 2023. In April #316 supposedly made a trip south on the Autotrain. The first revenue run of a Charger on Florida service happened in September, 2023. Chicago-New Orleans runs have been using 300-series Siemens about half the time in 2023.
Siemens Mobility originally garnered an order for 75 modified ALC-42's for Amtrak in 2018. The first ALC-42 was built in April 2021, but Amtrak was not in any hurry to put it in service, partially due to the aftermath of the COVID pandemic. After about a year, the first ones were put into service on the Empire Builder. On February 16, 2023, #323 and #324 were delivered to Chicago,with #321 and #325 en-route March 9. Engines #326 and #327 were on Train 6 spotted on March 23, #328 and #329 in late April, #330 and #331 in mid May, 332 and #334 in late May (no sign of 333 then), and #335 and #336 in June. On August 10 train 6 left Oakland with #337 and the missing #333. Also in August #338 and #339 came east. September has seen #340, #342, 341, and #343 come out. While not our main interest, we have a charger sightings now moved to page 300. There have already been some Charger wrecks, particularly 307 on the City of New Orleans and now 300 on the Coast Starlight. #307 was shipped back to Chicago in late March behind a Genesis.
In August, 2023, #334 was shipped to Savannah for contractor familiarization, just before hurricane Idalia hit. Amtrak pre-emptively cancelled the Palmetto and all Florida trains to allow for the passage of the storm. In September, the Palmetto became the latest train to have a Charger in the consist, along with Silver Star and Silver Meteor. The first Charger known to operate solo south of WDCUS was evidently #334. There have been no ALC-42s to appear on the Crescent, Texas Eagle, Sunset Limited, or Lakeshore Limited that we know of. #321 ran on the Cardinal on September 27/28, the first there that we know of. But they are rapidly becoming a staple on Amtrak's remaining overnight trains. While it may be decades, or perhaps never, Amtrak and Siemens have started talking about a new dual-mode Charger variant that could run the northeast corridor with a pantograph-equipped power car. In that event, the daily dance that takes place in New Haven and Washington, DC, where electric units are swapped for diesels, would come to an end. As far as we know, ALC42's have not been tested or run on any of the northeastern and Vrginia/North Carolina regionals that currently must swap power at WDCUS.
Paint jobs are a big deal with railfans. And with the Genesis series, there have been three major variants: 1993, 1998, and 2000 millenium. All active P42's have been in common millenium livery since 2006. As far as we know, Amtrak Genesis locomotives that had their paint refreshed during calendar year 2022 were: 114 126 137 142 146 153 166 199 and 201.
Unfortunately, #166 was quickly taken back out of service following its horrible accident (that should have been avoided had the contractors been flagging the crossing as the law and standard safety protocols require). That crossing has now been closed by the State of Missouri, and they are paying a bit more attention to rail safety there.
In calendar year 2023, #68 ,#157, #168, #184, #104, 164, 192, 155, 103, 150, 182, 134, and 118 have come out in fresh paint thus far. #68 was in January, and #157 in February, losing its former "big game" logo. Engine #184 was sighted March 6, and the former 40th anniversary heritage paint unit has been returned to standard livery. In April, 104 went back east with a fresh paint job, to join its northeast corridor cousins, and on April 10 #168 was seen coming out of Beech Grove in refreshed livery. On May 8, #164 was seen in refreshed retro 1998 paint, and shortly thereafter 192 in standard refreshed livery. Engine 155 appeared in fresh paint on June 5, 103 on July 31, and 150 on August 8, with #134 and #182 hitting the rails later in the month. Interestingly, #68 is the oldest locomotive to be repainted so far, so perhaps she is still in pretty good shape for her age. It is the only 1997 built unit to be repainted recently, and none of the 1996 units have been done lately.
The demise of Genesis units is not going to happen as suddently as occurred the end of the EMD F40's in 2001 and 2002. Back then, the order came down one day, and all work on F40's stopped the next day. In June 2022, Siemens and Amtrak announced that the original order for 75 locomotive units for the national system would be expanded to 125. As with the GE Genesis series before, the contract with Siemens Mobility also includes after-arrival support and maintenance. Repairs are needed for almost daily road crossing accidents incurred on North American railroads. Most recently was #4631, struck by a Fed Ex truck in Missouri. While such incidents declined during Covid, they are back on the uptick again. On October 14, 2022, for instance, #307 encountered a gravel hauler and had its front end caved in while leading train 59(13) just south of Amite, Louisiana. It moved back to Chicago March 24, 2023 behind #54. In April 2023 #312 was damaged on a test train at Mobile, Alabama. It may have been a historic first for Amtrak to have a locomotive wrecked in a location where it does not have service. And perhaps the worst of all so far, #300 (the prototype ALC-42) was smashed by a truck on the Coast Starlight.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE AMTRAK GENESIS SERIES
In case you have forgotten, the "Genesis" P40 series on Amtrak began in 1993 with 44 units, road-numbered 800-843. This was the beginning of Amtrak replacing its entire diesel fleet. One (817) was destroyed at Bayou Canot when new. We never got a photo of it. Two more suffered catastrophic wreck damage caused by a semi-trailer load of steel at Bourbonnais, Illinois on the City of New Orleans. Some were eventually leased or sold to commuter agencies after 2002, with most of the survivors now with the Connecticut Department of Transportation.
By 2011, a group of fifteen remaining at Amtrak were refurbished up to P42 standards with 2008 stimulus money, and the rest mothballed at Bear, Delaware (later back to Beech Grove, Indiana) and eventually sold for scrap in a 2019 bid auction. Two of the rebuilt dozen (809 and 823) were wrecked in subsequent Louisiana incidents. 818 was a trailing unit in a 2020 road crossing incident. Two recently verified at Beech Grove in March 2023 are 809 along with the 818. The remainder active ones today are primarily on the Auto Train. (See Page 800)./p>for more information on where the remaining 800 road numbers are today. We have moved this now to page 800 and expansions to add individual unit pages are planned for the future.
In 1995, there was an order of Genesis-cabbed dual mode units, designed with a third-rail pickup for operation on Metro-North trackage in and around New York City. These were road-numbered 700-709, and utilized a smaller 8 cylinder 3200 horsepower diesel. Coming in 1998, the dual-mode order was supplemented with #710-717. They sometimes go to Rutland and Niagara Falls, but generally not much farther afield. The dualmodes replaced the venerable FL units that had been provided by EMD prior to the switch to General Electric.
The first P42 order was for 98 units, numbered 1-98, with a tack-on addition of 21 more, #99-120. The earliest deliveries had August 1996 build dates out of Erie, but they still wore 1993 paint styling. Platinum mist base coat was overlaid by red white and blue stripes and large road numbers stenciled on the rear sides. A marketing change took place in 1998 ('northeastern'), and again in 2000 (millennium bluenose). Two new units (121 and 122) replaced two P40's destroyed at Bourbonnais. They arrived in the 1998 livery, these were the only two such western-based locomotives to have it. All surviving P40's, road numbers 1-28, and a few random wrecked and/or overhauls units were repainted in the 1998 livery before eventually being converted to millenium paint.
In the late 1990's, another follow-up order was placed with GE, for units that became 123-207. Deliveries of those began in a shocking millennium livery in 2000. The red, white, and blue stripes were gone. A new logo was introduced, on the nose, and three places on the flanks. In 2001, a low-skirt modification took place which affected newly delivered #169-207, as well as overhauls and wreck repaints after that point. The smaller extra logos on the flanks were eventually also removed from all of them. Between 2000 and 2006, all were redone in the standard low skirt 2000 paint.
Nose cone replacement with bolt-on composite panels also took a long time to complete, with #29 being the last outside of the northeast corridor. The last two, on "Yankee" engines 108 and 109, did not occur until 2021. There were three variants of numberboards over the years, and three nose variants after 2000(See Pages 73-75)./p>. First the lens was removed from the rectangular headlight box. Then as nose panels were replaced, a scoop design replaced the rectangular box.
We tend to like to follow 1996 units, as they are most likely to disappear first. Three single digit road numbers remain in service today (with #3 recently inactive and #2 wrecked in May 2023). We note that #8 was the first destroyed in Chicago in 2007, and #1 in Massachusetts in March 2017. On May 29, 2020, #9 was hit by a John Deere agricultural spray rig near Bainville, Montana, and seriously damaged.
Of the #10-19 group, things look better, although #12 and #16 have not come back from road crossing incursions and now #17 has been whacked. Five of the #20-29 group are still in service, and half of the #30-39 batch (although #37 and #38 are very inactive in New Orleans).
Click through the photos if you'd like, but if you wish to use them for other than personal viewing, please attribute 4rr.com. We will attempt to update their locations from time to time, but no longer every day as in the past. The date is usually when the train left its original station, but could also be the date its mid-course sighting was reported to us.
October 22, 2023 Update from 4rr.com - feedback "at" 4rr.com Feel free to send updates, comments, corrections, etc. Let us know which pages you would like to see updated.