Amtrak's Boardman locomotive now used for training of shop staff

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The Amtrak locomotive named for former CEO Joe Boardman is now at the railroad's Beech Grove (Ind.) shops.
Bob Johnston

BEECH GROVE, Ind. — You may be wondering about the status of Amtrak P42DC locomotive No. 42, the “Salute to Veterans” diesel named for Joe Boardman, the former Amtrak CEO who died earlier this week at age 70.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari reports that the locomotive is currently at Amtrak’s Beech Grove (Ind.) Heavy Maintenance Facility. It is not currently serviceable but is being used as a training vehicle for the passenger railroad’s electricians.

“You know how strongly he felt about the importance of Beech Grove and the people who work there,” said Magliari, “so it is appropriate that the locomotive is there.” Boardman was indeed known for his support of the Beech Grove facility, and in the wake of his passing, there are any number of stories on the internet about how he would go out of his way to interact with rank-and-file Amtrak employees, both there and elsewhere.

The future of the locomotive, part of a group delivered from GE Transportation between December 1996 and February 1997, is unknown. But with Siemens Charger locomotives already having replaced a number of P42s in regional service, and more Chargers on the way for long-distance service, there may not be a compelling reason to return it to service.

The locomotive received the special paint scheme in 2013. It was dedicated to Boardman in a September 2016 ceremony at Washington Union Station, following his retirement from Amtrak. Added below the cab windows was the message “Amtrak Honors: Joseph H. Boardman, President and CEO 2008-2016, U.S. Air Force Vietnam Veteran.”

More than 100 invited guests were on hand for the dedication ceremony, including Union Pacific CEO Lance Fritz, BNSF Railway Executive Chairman Matt Rose, and Ed Hamberger, the since-retired head of the Association of American Railroads.

— Correspondent Bob Johnston contributed to this report.

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