The Amtrak Arrow
Lippincott & Margulies' 1971 logo for Amtrak
In 1960s America, the locomotive industry was nearing a crisis point. Rail was competing with newer modes of transport in an era that saw significant developments throughout the automotive industry; from rising international vehicle imports to improved interstate road networks. A huge impact came from mail services which began to favour trucks and air transport. Rail saw a substantial loss in revenue, from both passengers and business, contributing to the discontinuation of many trains and routes.
Rescue came in the form of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (NRPC), a private entity that would receive taxpayer funding and operate the country’s intercity passenger rail system. This was newly formed after the Rail Passenger Service Act was passed in Congress, and signed into law by Nixon, in October 1970.
The informal working name for NRPC, Railpax, was derived from telegraphers’ code name for “railroad passenger,” and was required to change for legal reasons. Undergoing a complete brand makeover, the new company would move towards a unifying corporate image that could hold its own in what was a pivotal era for rail. The overarching marketing plan had two important objectives in mind: To provide an improved, dynamic, and contemporary service for the passenger public; and to create an identity that will aid the company in competing with airlines, businesses, and the automotive industry.