Last Hurrah for the Prairie Marksman

p-marksman-october-3-1981

If you remember Amtrak’s Prairie Marksman you are either an old guy or really know your Amtrak history.

The Chicago-East Peoria, Illinois, train operated for just two years with funding from the State of Illinois.

Low ridership and a state budget crunch would lead to the train being discontinued in early October 1981. The state had considered Nos. 311 and 312 to be experimental.

I rode the last westbound trip to East Peoria on Oct. 3, 1981. For the final trips, Amtrak assigned a Heritage fleet coach which was given a Prairie Marksman drum head. This image was made at Chicago Union Station before the train departed.

The Prairie Marksman name was used for a Toledo, Peoria & Western business car and for a freight rain. The TP&W once used the slogan “The Route of the Prairie Marksman,” but I found no evidence in a search of the Official Guide of the Railways that the TP&W had a passenger train of that name.

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