The Secret Life of Trains

The Secret Life of Trains

Ever wondered where your train goes when you’re not on it? Ivy City! Our maintenance facility located just outside Washington, D.C.’s Union Station is home to hard working men and women dedicated to ensuring that your ride is in tip top shape, whether it’s mechanical engineering or clean carpets. Transporting millions of people a year means serious maintenance and preventative maintenance, and we’ve got the best industry experts working behind the scenes to keep you safe (and comfortable!).

Ivy City features special work stations where employees can walk under Acela, Northeast Regional and long-distance trains to fine tune everything from wheels to air pressure hoses. One of our favorite parts? The train shower! Our super sized train wash is specially designed to keep the trains shiny and bright as they chug along the tracks.

But here’s Ivy City’s best kept secret — our employees. A diverse group of men and women, many of them are military veterans who continue to serve our country through their hard work on the rails. Lead Equipment Planner Mike Talley is a thirty-nine year Amtrak veteran and third generation rail worker. His encyclopedic knowledge on Amtrak is unmatched. How does he sum up his work? “Rain, shine, sleet or snowAmtrak takes you where you need to go. That’s our motto.”

Some fun factoids learned at Ivy City: The front of the locomotive often features what’s known as a “cow catcher,” or guard that protects the front of the locomotive from debris on the track but also doubles as a serious snow plow (that’s part of how we stay running long after airlines have canceled flights!). Oh, and move over NYC — Ivy City is truly the city that never sleep since it’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

So the next time you’re on Amtrak and roll past Ivy City, make sure to give Mike and the crew a wave. For more information on our maintenance work and other locations such as Beech Grove, check out this behind-the-scenes video!