Amtrak 40th Anniversary Stops in Jacksonville

February 17, 2012 11 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Amtrak's 11-month-long touring train exhibit, to celebrate 40 years as "America's Railroad", is coming to an end mid-March, with just four stops left. Metrojacksonville was there to commemorate Feb. 11-12 at Amtrak Jacksonville Station for a look into the company's historic past, and its promising future.

About The Exhibit

To mark the rail station and service company's first operating day in 1971, a specially-crafted exhibit train with displays of photographs, uniforms, china, and other memorabilia set out to hit 38 cities' local Amtrak stations nationwide. The mobile, real-to-life archive began rolling May 7, National Train Day, at headquarters' Union Station in Washington, D.C. Jacksonville played host to the free event the second weekend in February from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Attendees traversed a long stretch of a seven-car train, each car characteristically different. The exhibit was intended to condense and showcase the company's past four decades, allowing the public to see exactly how they would have experienced ridership 40 years ago.  

Amtrak turns 40 this year — and we’ve just completed a year of record ridership, and we’re on track for another. Amtrak serves more than 500 communities nationwide, more than 150 of them rural; more than half of our destinations are served exclusively by our long- distance trains.  Since 2000, our ridership has risen nearly 37 percent.

In a time of straightened oil supplies and rising gas prices, we’ve cut our diesel fuel use significantly — 9 percent since 2005, at a time when we were adding trains and increasing our ridership.  Today, we’re 20 percent more fuel efficient than the airlines, and 30 percent more efficient than automobiles.

External Display

P40 822, built for Amtrak in 1993 by General Electric in Erie, Pa., this 4,000 horse power locomotive will provide the pulling power for the Exhibit Train.  It was originally based in New Orleans and operated on various long distance routes.  The 822 was later reassigned to Albany, N.Y. and operated in the northeast until stored as surplus in 2003.  It was selected as one of the 15 P40 locomotives to be upgraded and returned to service as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Sleeper 10020, built in 1950 by the Budd Company for the Union Pacific as Sleeper #1404 and named, “Pacific Bend.” It contained 10 roomettes and 6 double-bedrooms, and joined the Amtrak fleet in 1971 as Sleeper #2603.  The car was upgraded from steam heat to Head End Power (HEP) in 1977 and renumbered 2903.  In 1997, the car was converted for service as a crew dormitory for use on eastern long distance trains, and renumbered 2504.  Stored in 2006, the car remained inactive until 2007, when it was modified for use by the Amtrak Police Department as a Special Communications Car.  It was renumbered 10020 and renamed “Pacific Command” at that time.  The original name, “Pacific Bend,” has since been reapplied and the car will serve as a Sleeper for Amtrak staff during the 40th Anniversary Exhibit Train’s tour.

NPCU 406, built for Amtrak in July 1988 by EMD as a 3,000 horse power F40PH locomotive number #406, was rebuilt as Non Powered Control Unit #406 in 2011 at the Beech Grove, Ind., maintenance facility.  As a locomotive, the 406 operated all over the country on various routes before being stored in 2001.  It was slated to become an NPCU to augment the push-pull fleet, and chosen to be part of the Exhibit Train because it can control a locomotive without the expense of additional fuel, allowing a train to operate in either direction without turning around.  It will also provide Head End Power (HEP) to power the lights and HVAC systems onboard the train.

Display Car 10094, built in 1957 by the Budd Company as Baggage car #3547 for the ATSF, this car became part of the Amtrak fleet in 1971 and was renumbered 1061.  In 1978 it was upgraded from steam heat to Head End Power (HEP), and renumbered 1228.  Needing heavy repair, the car was stored in 2009 at Beech Grove until selected as one of the three 40th Anniversary Exhibit Train Display Cars.

Train Equipment Info:

Internal Display

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Photos by Ennis Davis.