A Pooch in Joliet

Amtrak purchased 25 P30CH locomotives from General Electric in the 1970s. Although the thinking at the time was that the units could be used for long-distance service once new equipment with head-end power capability arrived, that plan didn’t quite work out that way.

The P30s, known by some as “pooches,” did haul some long-distance trains on a regular basis, including the Cardinal, Panama Limited, Sunset Limited and Auto Train.

They saw spot duty on other long-distance trains and based on photographs I’ve seen from the late 1970s were assigned to the San Francisco Zephyr between Chicago and Denver for a time.

If you lived in the Midwest, though, you probably saw P30s on the point of corridor trains using Illinois Central Gulf tracks.

Shown above is No. 724 leading the Ann Rutledge southbound at Joliet, Illinois, on Aug. 13, 1976. At the time it was a Chicago-St. Louis train.

In the background is Joliet Union Station.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

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