It was a cloudy, foggy and all-around gloomy morning in Dubuque, Iowa, when I arrived at the former Illinois Central station to board the Chicago-bound Black Hawk.
I had driven through the night from my home in downstate Illinois to reach Dubuque to get the mileage on a route I’d never ridden before. I didn’t have much time to do that for Nos. 371 and 371 were to be discontinued at the end of September 1981. That was about two weeks away when I rode the Black Hawk.
It was a Saturday morning and my hazy recollection is that I arrived well before departure time. When it got light enough I made this photograph, which is the only image that I have of the Black Hawk.
The station still has Illinois Central prominently carved in stone on the side, which is a reminder of a time when trains with such names as Hawkeye and Land ‘O Corn used to call here.
The Black Hawk had a short, but colorful life. It started with Rail Diesel equipment that was trouble-prone. Then it received an array of equipment including a consist that had bullet nose observation cars on each end of the train.
It must have been fun to photograph the Black Hawk back in those days. Eventually, Amtrak received enough Amfleet equipment to assign to the route and the electric equipment assignments ended.
On this day No. 372 has the standard Midwest corridor consist of the time of an F40PH locomotive and a pair of Amfleet cars, one of them a food service car.
The return trip to Dubque that night, though, had a P30CH locomotive on the point. I had booked a motel room for Saturday night in Dubuque so I could return home on Sunday in daylight.
I don’t remember a whole lot about the trip or what I did in Chicago during my layover. I am grateful now, though, that I made at least one photo of the Black Hawk.