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Home > Archives > Sunset Limited in the New Mexico desert, 1970s.

Sunset Limited in the New Mexico desert, 1970s.

Black and white photograph showing the Sunset Limited (Los Angeles-New Orleans) traveling through the picturesque New Mexico landscape; image likely dates to the late 1970s.

<i>Sunset Limited</i> in the New Mexico desert, 1970s.

In this image, the Sunset Limited is led by SDP40F locomotive No. 571, which wears the Amtrak Phase I paint scheme introduced in 1972. The first locomotive built expressly for Amtrak, the SDP40F was a six axle diesel-electric unit that sported a 3,000 horsepower engine. It was manufactured in 1973 - 1974 by General Motors' Electro-Motive Division. Since many passenger rail cars were still heated via steam, the SDP40F included two steam generators and a water tank. Within a decade, most of these locomotives were replaced with F40PH and F40PHR models that could operate more easily with the new and refurbished fleet of all-electric passenger cars.

The locomotives pull Santa Fe Railway Hi-Level cars originally built in the 1950s. They served as the model for the bi-level Superliners. Although the first Superliners went into service in 1979, they would not be added to the consist of the Sunset Limited until 1981.

Photographer: Unknown for Amtrak. From the Amtrak Corporate Collection.