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Amtrak’s Montraler/Washingtonian, 1972-1975


Amtrak’s Montrealer/Washingtonian, 1972-1975

Fred Klein, 2013

The Montrealer was an overnight northbound train that connected Washington DC with Montreal in the province of Quebec, via New York City and the scenic Lake Champlain in upstate New York. The southbound train on the same route was the Washingtonian. Train numbers were 60 and 61. This early Amtrak version of the train was equipped with the heritage equipment that Amtrak bought from the contributing railroads. 1972 is the year after Amtrak’s formation in which Montrealer service started and most of the fleet was repainted in Amtrak phase I colors. 1975 is the year in which Amfleet coaches were acquired and trains had a more modern look. The Montrealer operated as a name train until 1995, when it was replaced with the Vermonter and the Northeast Direct (that did not go to Montreal), and after 1974 the currently operating Adirondack (that did go to Montreal from New York City). Before Amtrak, the Montrealer was a train of the Boston and Maine railroad. At some time after 1975, the train did not go straight through to Washington but terminated in New York, because there we numerous connecting trains that continued to DC.


The Monteraler changed power at the end of electrification in New Haven Connecticut. GG1 electric locomotives were used south of New Haven, and E8 diesels were used to the north. The trains carried a lounge car called “Le Pub” that catered to skiers who often held parties into the night.


I could not locate a photograph of an actual Montrealer train, but two photos of trains powered by GG1’s in the red and blue-stripe scheme give a flavor of trains from the mid 1970s.



An Amtrak GG1 in red and blue-stripe colors leads early Amfleet I coaches on November 29, 1975. These colorful GG1s seem to have been used more for long distance trains than for local trains like the clockers. A head-end power car is required because GG1’s do not have electric generators for passenger cars. This was a special train to the Army-Navy game that drew passengers from the military academies at West Point New York and Annapolis Maryland. Games have often been played in Philadelphia or Baltimore and the northeast corridor is the logical rail connection.


An unknown Amtrak train on the northeast corridor pulled by a colorful GG1. The amfleet coaches indicate a post-1975 train.


The prototype consist is from a train in New Haven on July 6, 1973, from page 53 of the Amtrak consists document. I list both the electric GG1 locomotive used to the south and the E8 diesel used to the north. Years later, electrification was extended north to Boston. The early years of Amtrak were ones where the heritage cars were a mixture acquired from the railroads, and often there were no fixed trainsets. Therefore the modeler can use a selection of phase I Amtrak cars that are available, and still be prototypical without having to match car for car to a published consist. A good reference of the early rolling stock that Amtrak had available is Amtrak by the numbers, by David Warner and Elbert Simon.


prototype car



model car

model #



AMTK 915


GG1 silver, red, blue stripe, phase I

AMTK 902


E8A (2)

AMTK 257, 263


E8A, E8B phase I

AMTK 310, 466B


Baggage dorm

AMTK 1591


72' Baggage (SS) ph I

AMTK 1610



10/6 Sleeper (ex PRR) ph I

AMTK 460


10/6 Sleeper

2776 Alachua County


10/6 Sleeper phase I

AMTK 10220


10/6 Sleeper (ex UP)

2619 Pacific Meadow


10/6 Sleeper (ex UP) ph II

AMTK Pacific Hills


Diner lounge observation

AMTK 8301


Diner lounge (ex CZ) ph I

AMTK 8052 'silver rest


Coach (ex RFP)

AMTK 7003


Coach (smooth side) ph II

AMTK 4549



3301 "LE Pub"


Eastern diner ph I

AMTK 8096


Coach (ex SCL)

AMTK 5000


Coach corrugated ph I

AMTK 5254



AMTK 2958 (?)


Coach (SS, ex UP) ph I




AMTK 5606


Coach corrugated ph I

AMTK 6400



The Montrealer, power north of New Haven


Amtrak bought E8 diesels from several of the contributing railroads. These are Kato models in the phase I paint scheme.


The Montraler, power south of New Haven


GG1s powered the Montrealer in the northeast corridor. The phase I red, blue and silver scheme on this Arnold model is one of the nicest GG1 decorations that echoes the one-stripe design of the former Pennsylvania railroad. The consist had a baggage-dormitory car for the crew because this is a long overnight run. I do not have a baggage-dorm car, but substitute a baggage car and a 10 roomette -6 bedroom sleeper as the railroad might have done. The baggage car is a Walthers model of a Pullman Standard car, and the 10/6 is a Rivarossi model of an old PRR rapids series sleeper, both in phase I paint.


Sleeper section


The second sleeper above is a Walthers model of a PS 10/6 sleeper car. The last 10/6 is a Concor model of an ex-UP Pacific series car. It seems that Amtrak bought mainly 10/6 sleeper cars from the railroads because they were fairly current and popular, and were an interchangable configuration between different trains.


Food and lounge section


The next car is a “diner lounge observation”, which I fill with a Kato model of an ex-California Zephyr diner. The coach is a generic Concor smoothside coach model, which is based on a Great Northern prototype. The “Le Pub” lounge is next. It is a difficult car to match exactly, but I use an Intermountain “eastern diner” model.


Coach section


The Montrealer ends with three coach cars in the phase I paint scheme. The first prototype car is an ex-Seaboard Coast Line coach, which I model with a divided coach of the type owned by the Seaboard (an Intermountain model). The next coach model is long-distance coach, an ex-UP Kato model. The last coach model is a Walthers model of a corrugated Pullman coach.



LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01




Amtrak by the numbers, by David Warner and Elbert Simon, White River productions, 2011. An excellent guide with thorough car histories and hundreds of photographs.