Question about Amtrak 4316's livery

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Washougal, Washington
Saturday, train 27 was nearly six hours late departing Spokane. I drove up the Columbia and photographed the Portland section of the Empire Builder in nice afternoon light entering Lyle, Washington on BNSF's Fallbridge Subdivision. A very pleasant surprise was finding AMTK 301, the "Day 1" heritage unit, pulling the train.

After I posted this photo elsewhere, a source I trust claims that it is an urban legend that a Penn Central E8 was hastily modified as AMTK 4316 for May 1, 1971. He said the locomotive was not painted until a few months after Amtrak began service.

In trying to confirm his claim, I have performed a lot of internet searches for AMTK 4316 and news coverage of Amtrak's startup. I have been unable to find any photos of the AMTK 4316 E unit taken on May 1, 1971. The oldest photo of it I found was taken in August 1971. So, my question is this: was the Day 1 locomotive actually done for May 1, 1971? If so, could you point me to a news article or photograph of it on Amtrak day, May 1, 1971?

Thanks in advance -

Greg Brown
Washougal, Washington

NRPC 24 AMTK 301 Lyle 11-19-2022.jpg
 

jis

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As far as I can tell what is true about the livery on 4316 is that it was the first locomotive to be painted in any Amtrak scheme, and to that extent this was the first Amtrak livery.

All indications are that it was not painted for anything on day 1. The impression has been created apparently by some text that appears in the book "Journey to Amtrak" which probably took a little bit of journalistic liberty.

All verifiable photos suggest the the painting happened sometime in the Summer of 1971, since there are posts from eyewitnesses of said livery in the Summer of 1971 in long time rail enthusiast and advocates groups like railroad.net. This seems to jibe with the photos that you have found.

That is as far as my knowledge goes on this matter.
 
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All verifiable photos suggest the the painting happened sometime in the Summer of 1971, since there are posts from eywitnesses of said livery in the Summer of 1971 in long time rail enthusiast and advocates groups like railroad.net. This seems to jibe with the photos that you have found.
That makes sense to me because Amtrak would not have owned the equipment until May 1 and would not have the rights or facilities to do such a repaint unless it was able to get a cash strapped railroad like Penn Central to do it for them which is unlikely.
 
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All indications are that it was not painted for anything on day 1. The impression has been created apparently by some text that appears in the book "Journey to Amtrak" which probably took a little bit of journalistic liberty.

All verifiable photos suggest the the painting happened sometime in the Summer of 1971, since there are posts from eywitnesses of said livery in the Summer of 1971 in long time rail enthusiast and advocates groups like railroad.net. This seems to jibe with the photos that you have found.

Thank you for confirming my research. I find the urban legend of AMTK 4316 painted for Amtrak Day fascinating - this story is now perpetuated by Amtrak itself, in explaining the rationale for the scheme on Siemens Charger locomotive AMTK 301.
 

jis

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Thank you for confirming my research. I find the urban legend of AMTK 4316 painted for Amtrak Day fascinating - this story is now perpetuated by Amtrak itself, in explaining the rationale for the scheme on Siemens Charger locomotive AMTK 301.
The original justification was that it was the "first Amtrak livery applied on any locomotive". Amtrak does indeed claim it to be Day 1 livery, which is apparently provably incorrect,

@AmtrakBlue perhaps it is time to gently ask Matt Donnelly about this, since AFAIK he is the one that wrote that Amtrak screed.
 

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The original justification was that it was the "first Amtrak livery applied on any locomotive". Amtrak does indeed claim it to be Day 1 livery, which is apparently provably incorrect,

@AmtrakBlue perhaps it is time to gently ask Matt Donnelly about this, since AFAIK he is the one that wrote that Amtrak screed.
From Matt


There are no known photos from may 1971 but there’s reference to written word this was done for that


It was supposedly at NYP which might account for no photos. A black engine underground.
 
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jis

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I know there is written stuff but the provenance of that written stuff has been repeatedly questioned by a few that were there. So it is not established beyond doubt, but it sure makes a good story. 😏 And at the end of the day it is probably harmless urban legend.
 
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