Looking Back Through Historic Amtrak Press Photos

Amtrak No. 284 Pulls Three Amfleet Coaches
Amtrak No. 284 pulls a trio of Amfleet coaches in the 1970s. (Amtrak photo)

Amtrak launched operations in 1971. At first the locomotive used coaches and motive power it acquired from various railroads that were leaving the passenger railroad business to government-created Amtrak.

By 1975, Amtrak was rolling out its new Amfleet coaches, which the railroad said would modernize rail travel. Around that same time, the passenger railroad ordered GE E60 locomotives.

The three photographs published here were presumably distributed to media outlets as the railroad sought to highlight its push to modernize its fleet. The railroad still does that today, except now it focuses on its new Amtrak Cities Sprinter (ACS-64) electric locomotives and long-distance passenger cars.

The first photograph shows Amtrak locomotive No. 284, an E8, pulling a string of new Amfleet cars through the countryside. General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division built an estimated 450 E8 units between 1949 and 1954.

On a similar photograph of the same engine posted to its history page, Amtrak offers this caption:

When Amtrak took over the nation’s intercity passenger rail service in 1971, it inherited locomotives and rolling stock obtained from the predecessor railroads that had given up their passenger service obligations. The streamlined E8s were originally manufactured by General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division between 1949 and 1954. In this photo, the E8 wears Amtrak Phase II livery and pulls new Amfleet stainless steel single-level equipment that first went into service in 1975.

The middle photos shows what looks to be an E8 (perhaps the 284, as well) pulling a fleet of Amfleet coaches through the countryside.

The final photograph shows one of the railroad’s E60CP locomotives. Amtrak ordered 26 of the engines from 1974 to 1976 for use on the Northeast Corridor.

Several of the locomotives are equipped with steam generators so they could be used with heritage passenger equipment the railroad still had inservice. RR Picture Archives has some great photos of the engine.


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About Todd DeFeo 346 Articles
Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and The Travel Trolley.