A true heritage unit with a special dedication. Pete Grosso began his Amtrak career in 1994 and worked his way up through several crafts, ranging from servicing toilets, to working in K Tower as an operator, and ultimately as yard Conductor. He was a very upbeat person, and the one who would be able to get a room full of cranky railroaders to crack a smile and see the positive side of things.
Pete openly had a passion for the railroad, yet was a professional and maintained the respect of his colleagues. He was also a local union representative, an active member of the local safety committee, and a good mentor to new hires be it giving them advice one-on-one or conducting training trains. Unfortunately, Pete got sick and battled cancer, passing away in 2015. Throughout his illness, he was optimistic and exuded a great attitude that was beyond admiration. He was an employee that exemplified the values of Amtrak, and was well liked by agreement and non-agreement employees alike.
A friend of Pete’s posted an online petition soon after his death to rally interest in naming a locomotive after Pete, which gained 581 signatures but not much traction. When I became aware of plans for a Washington Terminal heritage unit, I knew if any locomotive were going to be dedicated to Pete it was going to be this one. I was Pete's boss for several years and was lucky enough to know his character and dedication first hand, so I took the appropriate steps in requesting such a distinguished honor for Pete. I was humbled to learn of it's approval, which ultimately came from the CEO's office. I believe this is the first and only Amtrak locomotive to have been officially dedicated in honor of a rank and file craft employee.
The Washington Terminal Company was created in 1901, and became part of Amtrak in 1981, making it one of only two railroads to be fully taken over by Amtrak, unlike other fallen flags which have only had passenger operations assumed by Amtrak. The 794 is not only a great dedication to Mr. Grosso, but to all Washington Terminal employees and the important role they played throughout history in passenger railroading.