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A Tribute to Amtrak 1971 to the present!

Part 1 1971 to 1996.

by Chris Guenzler

Let's go back in time to look at Amtrak from the early days to the present. We will see what Amtrak looked like when it started and how it changed. From the days of my Kodak Instamatic Camera and my days of just watching trains, to riding them and then completing the Amtrak system and all the new service since. Join me for a wonderful look back in time at Amtrak.

The first Amtrak unit I ever saw was on the Broadway Limited in Harrisburg in 1971. Here is E8A 4316 in fresh paint.

The United Airlines Turbo Train toured the country in 1971. Here it rests at Los Angeles Union Station on August 24, 1971.

Amtrak 74 in 1972 in the Yellow Bonnet colors in which the Santa Fe painted a few of their leased units for Amtrak service.

Amtrak 75 waiting time at Santa Ana in 1973 with a Chicago, Burlington and Quincy combine and Southern Pacific articulated coaches.

Amtrak 74 again, this time at Orange, with Santa Fe F-units and Hi-level cars in 1973.

The Coast Starlight at Los Angeles with Great Western cars buried behind the SP SDP45's.

SP FP7A 6453 at Bakersfield waiting to depart on the northbound San Joaquin in 1974.

Coast Starlight with SDP40F 552 leading southbound through Chehalis, Washington in 1974.

The Amtrak Expo 74 Train coming into Ephrata, Washington in 1974.

Amtrak's F7A 106 on the Expo 74 at Ephrata in 1974.

Amtrak's F7B 151 at Ephrata in 1974.

BN E8A 9942 coming off the San Francisco Zephyr in Denver during the power swap that took place every day. 1975

Amtrak F7B 150 was assigned to San Diegan Service but was renumbered 398 in 1974.

SDP40F 526 leads the Southwest Limited through Devore in 1974.

SDP40F 527 waiting on time in Santa Ana in 1974.

Amtrak E9A 417, as well as 416, along with E9B's 451 and 452, were assigned to San Diegan service for over a year in 1976.

Amtrak 416 on the point of San Diegan 775 at Santa Ana in 1976.

A night shot of the 416 at Santa Ana in 1976.

The first run of the Amfleet cars and new F40PH's with SDP40F 525 leading 224 and 223 in May 1976. The 525 was on the point as the F40's had not had their Automatic Train Stop shoes added.

The next day found the first pure trainset that would be used here for years to come. My brother Bruce is working baggage.

The first Rohr Turbo crests Cajon Pass at Summit in June 1976.

The third Turbo heads east through Santa Ana in September 1976.

The Tumbleweed Connection arrived in Santa Ana in 1976.

The short-lived weekend Las Vegas Limited arrived in Pomona in 1976.

SDP40F's 627 and 626 led the San Francisco Zephyr east through Yuba Gap in 1976.

Another San Francisco Zephyr, with 625 on the point, heads east near Reno in 1976.

The Southwest Limited on a bad day at Blu Cut in Cajon Pass. A little mishap at Victorville caused the freight power to be added for the trip to Los Angeles. 1978

The El Camino Trainset, also known as Baxter Ward's Choo Choo, was assigned into regular San Diegan service in 1978.

The Sunset Limited at Summit on the Santa Fe due to a SP wreck at Niland in 1979.

The now usual Amfleet San Diegan rolled north through Santa Ana on 4/30/1980.

The Desert Wind heads up Cajon Pass at Devore in 1980.

The San Francisco Zephyr with a Union Pacific high speed SD40-2 on the point at Taggett, Utah in 1980.

The Pacific International enters Seattle near the end of its run from Vancouver, British Columbia in 1982.

Four railroads did not join Amtrak in 1971. They were the Rock Island, Southern, Georgia and the Rio Grande. The Rio Grande Zephyr was the last independent service in the lower 48 States. Here it is leaving Salt Lake City for Denver in June 1982.

Southern Pacific ran a short-lived Oxnard-to-Los Angeles Commuter Train for four months. Seen here at Los Angeles in June 1982.

The Coast Starlight leaving Los Angeles in June 1982.

The Pioneer was a normal night time event in Pocatello in June 1982.

Once I was visiting there and caught a late-running westbound at East Inkom Hold in 6/1982.

The San Joaquin rolling down the valley of the same name in February 1982.

San Francisco Zephyr at Ogden, Utah on a cold morning in March 1983.

The very last northbound Spirit of California, which I rode, had completed the final run at Sacramento on 10/1/1983.

Amtrak operated the Mojave Limited for the Pacific Railroad Society {PRS} on 10/23/1983 at Mojave,CA.

The Sunset Limited arrives at Pomona on a foggy Southern California morning in 1984.

Amtrak operated the PRS Cushenbury Caravan on 5/4/1985 at Cushenbury,CA.

Amtrak's 26, the Pioneer, rolls through Auburn, Washington in 1986.

The Desert Wind, now a Superliner train, nears Frost, CA in November 1986.

Amtrak San Joaquin 708 runs down the street in Fresno in 1987.

The Empire Builder rolled passed the old Essex, MT depot on 7/12/1987.

The Portland section of the Empire Builder about to cross the Columbia River into Oregon from Vancouver, Washington in August 1988.

The Empire Builder descending the east face of Marias Pass in 1989.

An all-private car train near the location of the future Tustin, CA Metrolink station on 1/31/1989.

The combined California Zephyr/Desert Wind rolled through Ruby Canyon on 7/13/1990.

The Broadway Limited rounded the famous Horseshoe Curve on 7/15/1990.

The Night Owl had arrived at Boston South Station on 7/16/1990.

From the Sears Tower, a look at the Amtrak Chicago facility on 7/17/1990.

The westbound Capitol Limited Train 29 arrived into Harpers Ferry, West Virginia on 7/18/1990.

One of the Viewliner prototpye sleepers brought up the markers on the Capitol Limited on July 18th,1990.

E60 600 rested at Washington Union Station on 7/19/1990.

Slumbercoach Loch Ackaig at Winter Park on 7/20/1990.

The Silver Star had arrived in Miami on 7/20/1990.

An eastbound Super Bowl all-private car train heading to Indio to pick up the passengers for the trip to Glendale and a bus for the game on 1/31/1993.

B-328WH's were tried on our fast San Diegan Trains on the famous Surfline in California. They could not maintain the schedules and were transferred elsewhere on the Amtrak system. Here two passed at Santa Ana station on 2/28/1993.

The Texas Eagle arrived into Joliet, Illinois on 4/21/1993.

Amtrak tested the Swedish X-2000 in the Northeast Corridor before it toured the United States. Here it was in Los Angeles on 7/15/1993.

The German ICE Train was also tested in the Northeast Corridor but toured the USA before going into testing. Here it was passing through Santa Ana on 10/10/1993. The film was damaged but the image was too important not to include.

The Texas Eagle 22 waited in the snow at Fort Worth, Texas on 11/25/1993.

The Southwest Chief rolled through La Sierra on 11/27/1993.

The Illinois Zephyr passed through Aurora, IL on 12/20/1993.

Amtrak westbound Empire Builder being refuelled at Minot, ND on 12/21/1993.

The Coast Starlight received help from a St. Louis-Southwestern engine at Oakland on 12/23/1993.

The Talgo Train started in service between Seattle and Portland in 1994. Here is a Talgo at Vancouver, WA on 8/28/1994. After that trip, I became sober on 1/18/1995 and my train riding truly took off.

The Talgo in San Diegan Service at Irvine on 3/18/1996.

Northeast Direct Train 84 waits at Washington Union Station on 4/2/1996.

The Carolinian waits in Raleigh, NC on Train 80 on 4/5/1996.

The IC3 on San Diegan 578 at the Santa Margarita River Bridge on 7/31/1996.

F40PH 231 was repainted in an Operation Lifesaver scheme at Santa Ana on 8/7/1996.

The full Desert Wind climbed Cajon Pass on 8/8/1996.

The Capitol Corridor started in California and here is a train at Martinez on 12/21/1996.

For Part 2 Click Here!