Amtrak paint schemes
Amtrak paint schemes or "Phases" (referred to by Amtrak), are a series of liveries applied to the outside of their rolling stock in the United States. The livery phases appeared as different designs, with a majority using a red, white, and blue (the colors of the United States Flag) palette, except for promotional trains, experimental trains, state partnership routes, and the Capstone phase.
Amtrak began operations in May 1971 with a mixture of equipment from its predecessor railroads, much of which was painted in a variety of railroad-specific paint schemes. This era was later referred to as the Rainbow Era, due to the mix-matched colorful trains Amtrak used. Amtrak elected not to keep the same rolling stock on the same routes and it was not unexpected to find rolling stock from anywhere in the US on any train. To build the brand of Amtrak as a unified passenger railroad, the equipment was gradually repainted into system-wide Phases starting around 1972 with Phase I.
The phases are referred in numerical sequential order, usually in Roman numerals. Up until the introduction of the Acela, phases were painted on all equipment. However since 2000 Amtrak has started splitting phases up between equipment with locomotives getting Phase V & cars getting Phase IVb. While previously locomotives and rail cars could be painted in different styles they were still referred to as being in the same phase, with often the locomotive versions getting an unofficial nickname.
- 1 Phase paint schemes
- 2 Route Specific Paint Schemes
- 3 Special paint schemes
- 4 40th Anniversary
- 5 Advertising
- 6 Test Train Schemes
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Phase paint schemes
Unveiled in 1972 Phase I was the first paint scheme to be implemented system-wide on Amtrak's trains. Previously Amtrak equipment had retained their original paint jobs used by their previous owners, known as the Heritage Era, a few engines had been painted into experimental and promotional paint schemes. Colloquially Phase I is known as the "Bloody Nose" scheme due to the red paint on the fronts of engines.
On locomotives, Phase I contained a red nose and then the Amtrak Chevron logo on the side of the engine and a black roof. On passenger cars, Phase I had a red & blue stripe down the sides with white pin-striping bordering the stripes; on the ends of the car just inside from the door a white field covered the stripes and held the Chevron Logo. Amtrak would retain the Red, White & Blue stripes as a paint scheme for many more years. The last Phase I equipment was retired out of the scheme in 1981.
In 1977 Amtrak unveiled their second paint scheme, Phase II with the arrival of the first Amfleets. While extremely similar to Phase I, Phase II was the first paint scheme to have all equipment using the stripe style. Phase II stripes were identical to Phase I stripes, however the cars lost the Chevron on the ends. Locomotives also received the striping, losing the red nose & the Chevron logo on the side. The locomotives retained their black roof. The last Phase II equipment was phased out in 1987.
Amtrak's Superliner Is were originally delivered in this paint scheme, since the Superliners are double level, similar to the Hi-Levels, the striping was placed between the two floors, and only swooped up to pass through the windows on the second floor of the Sightseer Lounge Cars. The new Superliners also featured the Superliner Mark located in the striping above the doors, this mark would continue to be seen in Phase III.
Phase III is probably the most common and widely known paint scheme of Amtrak, introduced in 1980 and still lasting to this day on some equipment. This paint scheme used similar colors to those used on Phase II stripes, except that the outer white pinstripes were deleted and the red, white, and blue stripes were of approximately equal width. On locomotives the same black roof lining was kept. On some equipment, such as the LRC, the white stripe remained the same width while the red and blue were expanded to cover a larger area. Another distinguishing feature of this paint scheme is the labeling of every passenger car with its type and number in black lettering on the white stripe. This style of Phase III was used on Amtrak locomotives, passenger cars, and Material Handling Cars.
The Phase III paint on the GE Genesis was different and came in two versions. There was no black at the top on the locomotive, and outer white pinstripes were added. The center white stripe was a little smaller than the red and blue stripes. The red and blue colors were toned down some giving them a slight duller look. An grey band was added to the sides of the locomotives starting at the cab and wrapping back, it did not go onto the front. Some of the P40DC units were received the same paint job as the rest of the Genesis fleet, except the striping faded out to grey as it approached the rear. As seen in Genesis units painted in Phase IV, the stripes got smaller and were squeezed together at the nose.
Beginning in 1993 Phase IV was introduced as a striking departure from the traditional red, white, and blue style seen previously. Phase IV was brought into service with the delivery of the newer Superliner II cars. It consisted of two thin red stripes over a white background, over a fat dark-blue stripe. In 1997 Amtrak extended the scheme to locomotives, initially GE P42DC diesel locomotives on Northeast Corridor service.
Phase IV introduced a collection of subtle variations for different services. Northeast Corridor Amfleet trains received a special "Northeast Direct Service" logo located near the doors on coaches and in the windowless section of Cafe cars. The P42DC units assigned to those trains received the most changes, including a grey roof line, as well as the words "Northeast Direct" in small print under the cab. Along with the Amfleets & P40s a collection of Viewliner Sleepers obtained special window stickers containing a star field for the car's use on the Twilight Shoreliner.
Superliner cars got the Phase IV striping located in the same location as previously minus the swoop up on the Sightseer Lounge cars. These cars lost their Phase II-style wording above the doors and instead got the word "Superliner" in blue placed above the red & white strips, cutting into the strips some, with a white shadow when cutting in; the word 'Superliner' spanned most of the length of the car. The Viewliner cars received a similar treatment but bearing the word 'Viewliner.'
Phase V was introduced with the arrival of the Acela Express high speed train set. It is currently the most common paint scheme on Amtrak's locomotives. The new paint scheme was originally used on the "Genesis" locomotives, starting with units 123-207, and eventually spreading to all units in the class. The current Phase V consists of a red stripe that runs down the bottom of the locomotive/car, and then a blue nose which runs up the side of the locomotive in a "wave" form. Not all cars in this phase have the blue wave. This is the first paint scheme to use the current Phase V paint on Genesis units sporting the most recent Amtrak Travelscape logo, which is portrayed on the side of most Phase V engines. Originally on Genesis units Phase V had a wider red stripe with a blue stripe just below it and near the front of the locomotive, there was a small Amtrak logo. Phase V has sometimes been referred to the "Shamu" design after the SeaWorld killer whale.
The Phase V scheme is used on Amtrak Genesis locomotives, Acela Express power cars, HHP-8, AEM-7, and ACS-64 electrics, some Material Handling Cars (now out of service; known as 'MHCs'), and all Autoracks on the Auto Train. The Auto Train's Autoracks and the MHCs have no "waves". More recently, the scheme has started to appear on Amtrak's GE Dash 8 locomotives, new switcher locomotives, as well as EMD F40PH "Cabbage" NPCU (non-powered control unit) cab cars. There is no "wave" on the "cabbages". Phase V has not appeared on any passenger cars. Amtrak has decided to keep the Phase IV stripes with the introduction of the Phase IVb paint scheme. The ACS-64 version is slightly different. It has a thin red stripe around the blue under the cab windows.
Phase IVb was the name given to Amtrak's newest paint scheme applied on passenger cars. It is now the most common paint scheme seen on Superliner equipment. Many people confuse Phase IVb with Phase V because they are, on passenger cars, the next livery after Phase IV. Others have called it Phase VI because it is clearly the next chronologically after Phase V.
There are a number of differences between Phase IV and Phase IVb. The Phase IVb stripes are the same size and arrangement as Phase IV, but the blue is lighter, not a purple-like color, and resembles the color of Phase III blue. The current Amtrak Travelscape logo is displayed in white or blue depending on where it is located on the car. The car number and car type lettering are much smaller than on previous paint schemes with Frutiger replacing the previous Helvetica typeface. On the skirt of the car, there is usually a red reflective stripe, much like on Phase V. Although not used on any locomotives, Phase IVb has been applied to just about every type of Amtrak passenger car used today, including Superliner, Amfleet, Horizon, and the remaining Heritage equipment (though a small amount of cars remain in older paint schemes in rail yards and at railroad museums). Phase IVb has not been applied on any of Amtrak's locomotives.
On Superliner equipment, right above the red stripes, the lettering of "Superliner" has been moved to the car ends and placed within the blue stripe. Some Viewliner equipment used to be seen in a mixture of Phase IV and IVb. They would have the text "Viewliner Sleeper" by the door, and the large "Viewliner" spread down the sides within the red & white stripes. This mixed paint job carries the new travelscape logo as well as the older black & white striping on the skirting. By March 2013 however, all of the cars had been repainted into full Phase IVb with a thinner blue stripe and a red stripe along the bottom of the car with no "Viewliner" lettering inside the red and white stripes.
Route Specific Paint Schemes
Designed by OH&CO; Amtrak's Acela Express uses a variation of the Phase V paint scheme applied to the entire consist. The power cars receive the standard blue wave across the front and running along the top of the side. The windscreen receives a dark purple 'bubble' surrounding it. Running along the bottom of the entire consist is a dark grey field with the standard red reflective stripe just above it. Each power car has a large Acela Sea Turtle Fin logo near the rear, and a smaller one near the cab. The cars do not have the blue roof line, however each car has a series of Sea Turtle Fins, or Splotches, which vary in shape, color, and positioning depending on the class of car it is (Coach Class, Cafe Bistro, and First Class).
This short lived paint scheme was introduced alongside Phase V with the debut of the Acela Express service in 2000 for Northeast Regional services. The Capstone scheme was applied to Amfleet cars during a rebuild project, in an effort to create a new image for the trains. This variation of the paint scheme featured many different splotch patterns. On the coach cars, dark turquoise fins were covered on a light turquoise background. On business class cars, light turquoise fins were covered on a navy blue background. Cafe cars were painted the same as business coaches, except a large green fin was placed in the center of the car where there were no windows. The Capstone scheme is also been called the Acela "Splotch" or "Lava Lamps" and is sometimes incorrectly called Phase V or VI.
Amtrak California Services
Amtrak California's color scheme and logo differ from standard Amtrak colors. All state-owned locomotives and California Cars, with the exception of equipment used on the Pacific Surfliner, use the "California Colors": blue and yellow (gold). This scheme is also used on many connecting buses. All state-owned equipment is named for geographical features in California.
The Capitol Corridor and the San Joaquin are most identified with the Amtrak California image since they use "California Colored" equipment most of the time. The other state-supported rail route, Pacific Surfliner, uses a unique blue and silver paint scheme that differs from other Amtrak California-branded trains.
The Pacific Surfliner paint scheme was created especially for Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner trains in California and was also used the short lived Las Vegas Talgo. The paint scheme consists of a blue-and-white stripe, running along the skirt of the locomotive and cars, and a very large blue streak, which "swooshes" up the sides of the locomotive and then runs horizontally across the cars. On the locomotives, white Amtrak lettering is in the large blue streaks on the sides, and blue Amtrak lettering is on the locomotives' nose. There is also a black mask, outlined with white stripes, which runs across the cab windows on the front & sides of the engine. On the Pacific Surfliner cars, large "Surfliner" letters, the same style letters as on Phase IV Superliners, go across the lower part of the large blue stripe, below the upper-level windows, along with the car type and number on each end of the car in white lettering.
San Joaquin Single Level Equipment
In 2013 Amtrak California started receiving refurbished single level cars to supplement their current fleet on the San Joaquin route to help with over-crowding issues. The 14 single level Comet IB rail cars, purchased from NJ Transit, are painted in a heritage paint scheme. As well as a complete refurbishment of the interiors, the cars received a dark blue band over the windows with three colored "disco stripes" (in a nod to the car's history in New Jersey) by the doors. The stripes are in Amtrak California's colors of orange, blue and green. CalTrans also leased 3 Non-Powered Control Units (former F40PH locomotives turned into cab control and baggage cars) from Amtrak, these control cars are painted in a livery that matches the original livery of Caltrain's F40PH locomotives. The Non-Powered Control Units are painted silver with a blue and green stripe running from the nose and down the side, about two-thirds down the sides they turn up and swoop over the roof. The nose has red & white warning stripes.
The Cascades paint scheme was created especially for Amtrak's Cascades trains, operated in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. On the locomotives, the Cascades scheme is very similar to the Pacific Surfliner paint scheme except the colors are changed. Instead of the large blue streaks on the side of the engine, it is colored green. The black mask across the cab windows is colored brown. On the Cascades Talgo equipment, the green streak slides down the baggage car & power car, and then runs down the bottom of the rest of the cars. This inverts the colors from the order on the locomotive making the middle part of the cars brown.
Oregon DOT recently bought two Series 8 train-sets from Talgo for use on the Cascades service. These are painted similarly to the existing Cascades design; however the newer train-sets lack the transition fins on the end cars that the old ones have. Lacking the transition fins the Cab end's strips come to a point rather the swooping up to meet the engine's swoops.
Las Vegas Talgo
The Las Vegas paint scheme is a derivative of the Cascades design originally applied to single set of Series VI Talgo units for use on a route between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The train was designed to be able to use Pacific Surfliner engines and so has Pacific Surfliner colors in the Cascades design; The green became blue, the brown became dark grey, and the white top became light grey. The Cascades logo and car names do not appear on this set. After the closure of the Desert Wind route this set was moved into regular Cascades service; and has been repainted into standard Cascades paint.
Wisconsin's new Series 8 Talgo trains are still under production and testing in Milwaukee for use on the Hiawatha. The new Talgo trains have been painted in Talgo's corporate paint scheme of a white car with a red stripe in line with the windows and a dark grey stripe along the bottom. The new Talgo trains do not have the transition fins that the older Series VI Talgo trains in Washington have.
Special paint schemes
ACS-64 Promotional Units
The first three ACS-64 units released from Siemens received a special variation to the regular Phase V paint scheme. Units 600 & 601 received a large American flag on the sides as well as smaller logos for Siemens & Amtrak. Both #600 & #601 then had these removed and are currently wearing the standard ACS-64 paint scheme. ACS-64 #602 had a special "Reliability - Efficiency - Mobility" info-graphic on the sides. It also has since been repainted into the standard scheme.
In June 2013, Amtrak released P42 #42 wearing a special red, white, black, and dark blue scheme with a large logo on the side saying "America's Railroad Salutes our Veterans". The paint job consists of a black nose followed by a red cab that curves down to make an Phase III-like striping along the base of the locomotive. The white and blue striping wrap around the locomotive with the dark blue covering the undercarriage. Within the Blue 'stripe' part there are 50 white stars. This locomotive occasionally is paired with Amtrak 406 on the "Exhibit Train".
The "Pepsi Can" paint scheme was used on Amtrak Dash 8-32BWH diesel locomotives. The Pepsi Can paint scheme is a spin-off from the standard Phase III. On the front of the engine, the red, white and blue stripes run across the side of the locomotive much like Phase III, except they are wider and spread much more apart. Close to the rear of the engine, the red and blue stripes make a "turn" and go up the side of the engine after crossing over each other. Because of the Dash 8-32BWH's shape and the paint scheme, the nickname "Pepsi-Can" was given to the engines. Even though the engines have been converted over to Phase IV and V paint, the nickname is still used by many in different variations, such as 'Diet Pepsi' for Phase IV and 'Crystal Pepsi' for Phase V.
10th Anniversary - Pacific Surfliner
Amtrak wrapped EMD F59PHI #457 in a special scheme for the 10th anniversary of the Pacific Surfliner. The locomotive's new scheme was released on May 8, 2010 for National Train Day. The paint scheme also commemorated the Surfliner's ridership surpassing 25 million. For several weeks the engine's scheme contained a typographical error - "Millon" instead of "Million". This has since been corrected.
Operation Lifesaver - Pacific Surfliner
In late 2009, Amtrak wrapped EMD F59PHI #455 in an Operation Lifesaver paint scheme. The wrap featured a surfer with a surfboard standing in the middle of railroad tracks during a sunset. The words "Stay off, stay away, stay alive" were printed on both sides. All non-surface parts of the locomotive remained in Surfliner livery and spaces were visible through the wrap. The front windshields 'mask' remained in black. In June 2010, the locomotive was restored to its original livery.
Operation Lifesaver – Amtrak California
Operation Lifesaver wrapped Amtrak California EMD F59PHI #2007 in a promotional paint scheme, consisting of a yellow background and the text "Stay off the tracks. I PACK A PUNCH." and the "Stay off, stay away, stay alive" slogan on the front of the engine.
EMD E8 #4316 was painted shortly after Amtrak's creation for the press. The unit's special scheme was Amtrak's "pointless arrow" logo on a black field wrapping around the front, on the nose the stripes received angled warning stripes in alternating blue & white. The locomotive's number was located at the back of the locomotive.
Maintenance Of Way
Amtrak MoW equipment primarily receives the same scheme of an orange base and black lettering. Newer Amtrak MoW receives a new scheme consisting of a yellow base with the current blue logo. Older equipment is gradually being repainted in this scheme.
For Amtrak's 40th Anniversary a number of locomotives received a special version of historic paint schemes. The engines have been touring the country in regular service as well as serving on a special museum train Amtrak ran. From January through April 2011, Amtrak's Beech Grove Shops outside Indianapolis released the units and sent them north on the Hoosier State (Train 851). The Anniversary locomotives were selected from units scheduled for repainting or recent wreck rebuilds.
Phase I - Amtrak P42DC #156
Debuted 3/16/11 - P42 #156 has been painted in a version of Phase I. It was first seen in its new paint scheme and photographed by railfans from the Purdue Railroad Club on March 16, 2011 in Chicago. It features Amtrak's classic "Pointless Arrow" logo on the silver flanks surrounded by the dates 1971 and 2011. Another trade mark of the Phase I scheme is the red "bloody nose" as seen on E-units and EMD SDP40Fs, the first locomotives designed specifically for Amtrak.
Phase II - Amtrak P42DC #66
Debuted 4/1/11 - Amtrak P42 #66 has been painted in a version of Phase II. Similar to the earlier release of #145, the Phase III unit, #66 features a silver carbody with a black roof and nose. Also known as the 'Cigar Band' paint scheme, Phase II includes thicker stripes of red and blue, bordered by white pinstripes. Additionally, the side logo is off center, closer towards the cab.
Phase III - Amtrak P42DC #145
Debuted 1/30/11 - The 1st engine released in the special scheme is #145, which is in a special version of Phase III. This version is very similar to the original Phase III scheme used on the EMD F40PHs.
This livery is not quite the same as the original Phase III that appeared on the GE Genesis, which consisted of the three stripes angling up from the center in front and becoming a straight line back to the rear of the engines. The striping is much lower on the engine than on the previous Phase III striping on P42s. The top of the engine is black with the black field angling down to cover the windows on the cab the whole front surface of the locomotive, with the exception of the striping. Amtrak elected to use the older logo typeface seen on Phase III equipment, positioning the bold "Amtrak" wordmark above the stripes and flanked with the year Amtrak was founded (1971) and the year of their 40th anniversary (2011) in a smaller, serifed typeface.
Phase IV - Amtrak P42DC #184
Debuted 4/13/11 - Amtrak P42 #184 has been painted in a version of Phase IV. This locomotive shares the greatest resemblance to its original creation. Phase IV features a deeper blue in a broad band stripe with twin red pinstripes atop. The carbody, underframe, and even trucks are all painted silver while the upper third and upper nose area show a darker shade of gray. The "Amtrak" lettering is centered above the striping, printed in blue, and surrounded by the years of the anniversary.
Museum Train - Amtrak P40DC #822 and Amtrak F40PH #406
Debuted 3/9/11 - Amtrak P40DC #822 wears a Phase III scheme identical to that on #145.
Debuted 4/10/11 - Amtrak F40PH #406 also sports the Phase III style.
The rest of the 40th Anniversary Exhibit Train consists of a modified sleeper, three refurbished baggage cars, and a reconfigured Amfleet cafe car.
History Channel Acela
Amtrak and The History Channel teamed up in November 2007 to produce the first all-train "wrap" of an Acela Express trainset. The purpose of this wrap was to promote The History Channel's "1968 With Tom Brokaw". The wrap remained on the train from November 12 through December 9. The revenue brought in from this advertisement has not been disclosed. Though wraps are often used on busses, this is the first time that all-train wraps have been used on the Acela Express. The scheme was criticized by passengers because the wrap acted as a sort of window tinting, thus deteriorating the view from inside, despite claims by Amtrak. This was particularly unwanted by Acela Express passengers, who are either business class or first class passengers.
Cake Boss Acela
Amtrak wrapped an Acela unit advertising the TLC show "Cake Boss". A number of complaints similar to the ones brought up by the History Channel wrap arose. The scheme got the nickname of the 'Rusty Acela' due to the roses looking like rust when viewed from a distance. 
Disney's A Christmas Carol
Starting May 22, 2009, Amtrak and Disney launched a train tour to promote Disney's new movie, A Christmas Carol. P42DC's #157 & #71 were wrapped in a special paint scheme along with several other private cars.
Monopoly National Tournament
This paint scheme was used on a special Monopoly National Tournament Amtrak train which operated in October 2003. The paint scheme, featuring huge Monopoly game pieces and money, was applied on Amtrak Genesis locomotive #203 as well as some Amfleet cars. On the locomotive, the Monopoly game pieces were pasted right over the engine's Phase V livery, but the Amfleet coaches in the paint scheme were completely wrapped, with the game pieces and cards being over a light blue background. After the tournament was over, the Monopoly paint scheme was removed and the locomotive & cars returned to regular Amtrak colors.
"Believe in America" Tour
This paint scheme was used on Amtrak P42 locomotive #138, the lead unit on the John Kerry/John Edwards campaign train of 2004. The nose of the engine was standard Phase V but the sides of the locomotive were completely wrapped in blue with campaign slogans and large "BELIEVE IN AMERICA TOUR" lettering. After the campaign, the unit was returned to Phase V.
"Celebrate the Century Express"
This paint scheme adorned the outside an Amtrak P42DC locomotive #100, a baggage car, and an Amfleet car with a modified interior. This scheme consisted of a very elaborate collection of enlarged stamps and postmarks from the 1900s (decade) to the 1990s. This was for the United States Postal Service's "Celebrate the Century Express Educational Train Tour" running from 1999 to fall 2000. It was the only Amtrak train to carry an RPO car. This paint scheme has since been removed.
Amtrak and Toyota began an advertising campaign in October 2004, with two P42 locomotives, #84 and #115, painted in a special paint scheme. The nose of the engine was standard Phase V but the sides of the locomotive had a giant photograph of a Toyota Tundra pickup truck on it, on a light blue background. On the corner of the side black letters spelled out, "THE POWERFUL TOYOTA TUNDRA". The tires went down to the wheels of the locomotives. Both of the units were repainted by March 2005, into standard Amtrak livery.
Test Train Schemes
Amtrak has tested a number of different trains. Some of these received their own special Schemes.
Phase III Testing
The Rohr Turboliners and LRC cars received a variation of the phase III scheme; where the striping runs along the bottom of the train with the blue strip striping wraps around the bottom. The Turbos have recently been painted into a variation of the Acela scheme. A similar paint scheme was worn by the AEM-7s which omitted the white paint above the stripes, instead the locomotives sides were left in an unpainted stainless steel. The roof and cabs of these AEM-7s were painted black.
The Talgo cars were painted in an experimental phase III scheme. A thin phase III striping ran below the windows; with a large blue field (closer to phase IV blue) covering the window area.
The Siemens ICE 1 train kept its Deutsche Bahn two-tone red scheme of a wide Oriental Red stripe on top of a smaller pastell violet stripe directly below with the DB logo replaced by "Amtrak". The train mainly stayed on the Northeast Corridor, however when it toured the US two F69PHAC received the ICE colors as well as a baggage car. The two F69PHACs retained their ICE colors until retirement.
The Bombardier IC3 "Flexliner" was painted in its own scheme. The cars received a black stripe across the windows with a blue stripe below it all on a white field. The end cars have a red triangle at the cab end and a yellow front.
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