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Amtrak operates more than 300 trains each day on 21,300 miles (34,000 km) of track with select segments having civil operating speeds of 150 mph (240 km/h) and connecting more than 500 destinations in 46 states in addition to three Canadian provinces. In fiscal year 2014, Amtrak served 30.9 million passengers and had $2.189 billion in revenue while employing more than 20,000 people. Nearly two-thirds of passengers come from the ten largest metropolitan areas and 83% of passengers travel on routes of 400 miles or less. Its headquarters is at Union Station in Washington, D.C.
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 and 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.
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 and P40s a collection of Viewliner Sleepers obtained special window stickers containing a star field for the cars 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 and 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.
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