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Amtrak's Operation Lifesaver Unit 455 11/2/2008

by Chris Guenzler

Operation Lifesaver has been operating in California for years and we have had trains and units painted or wrapped for that purpose.

The first California Operation Lifesaver Train crossed State College Blvd on April 24, 1987.

The same train at the old Santa Fe Station Site at Santa Ana on April 24, 1987.

A few years later, the original Amtrak Operation Lifesaver Unit was F-40PH 231 seen here at Santa Ana on August 7th, 1996.


I saw on that Amtrak had shrink wrapped Amtrak 455 in a new Operation Lifesaver Unit paint scheme. Knowing that I would run into it at some point, I decided to carry my camera with me until I got some pictures of it. Little did I know it but my wait to see it would be extremely short.

Surfliner 564 pulled into Santa Ana with the Amtrak Operation Lifesaver Unit 455 on the point. I boarded this train for the short trip to Irvine. Here I detrained to photograph this unique unit.

I got off of Surfliner 564 and walked towards the Amtrak 455.

This unit is sponsored by Caltrains, California Operation Lifesaver and Amtrak California.

It features a Surfer crossing the tracks just like the one Surfliner 768 hit just short of the San Clemente Pier. That surfer was lucky as he only had to go to the hospital not the morgue.

"Stay off! Stay Away! Stay Alive!" is the one slogan on this unit.

The unit now has a number in black on the cab something it did not have on its first trip to San Diego.

"Stay off! Stay Away! Stay Alive!" on the nose of this unit.

Surfliner 564 looks good at Irvine.

Roster shot of Amtrak 455.

A view over the hedge of Amtrak 455.

Two more views of the Amtrak 455.

The Surfer crossing the tracks.

I walked towards the station in the light rain as Surfliner 564 left Irvine on time. I crossed the bridge and waited for Surfliner 565 to arrive into Irvine and I boarded the train for Los Angeles. I listened to the new Queen + Paul Rodgers "Cosmos Rocks" as the train made its way to Los Angeles. I called Chris Parker who was at Philippe's and he ordered me my early lunch. I walked over there from LAUPT really quick and Chris was at the head of the line. We got our order and went to what is called the train room and found a table. We got caught up on a few things before we drove to Los Angeles Union Station and parked. I had told Chris about the Amtrak 455 and he decided to ride down to Santa Ana with me so he could ride back to Los Angeles and get his pictures there. It was another quick trip and soon we were up on the bridge waiting for Surfliner 571 to arrive. About eight minutes before it arrived I sent Chris down to the platform to wait for his train while I kept my elevated vantage point to get a few more pictures of the unique Amtrak 455.

Chris Parker waits for Surfliner 571.

Surfliner 571 pulled into the Santa Ana Train Station which has the Amtrak 455 pushing on the rear end..

Two views of the Amtrak 455.

Amtrak 455 pushes Surfliner 571 out of Santa Ana.

Surfliner 571 leaves Santa Ana with the Amtrak 455 pushing hard.