Archive for the ‘Amtrak Photos’ Category

Amtrak No. 303 at Chenoa

September 17, 2020

Although I’ve written dozens of posts in the past years about the project to upgrade Amtrak’s Chicago-St. Louis route for higher speed service, it has been more than a decade since I visited that line.

On a recent Friday morning I drove to Chenoa, Illinois, to photograph Lincoln Service No. 303, which barrelled through on time.

Much has changed since I last saw operations on this route. The trains travel faster, the tracks have been rebuilt, new signals have been installed and the motive power is SC-44 Chargers.

Many of the grade crossings are no horn zones with barriers and fencing having been installed for safety.

But the consist of Horizon and Amfleet cars was the same as what I saw during my previous visit years ago. Some things have not changed.

Up Close With a Charger

September 2, 2020

Charger SC-44 locomotives have been mainstays on Illinois-funded corridor trains for a few years now.

They also pull other corridor trains serving Missouri, Wisconsin and Michigan.

IDTX No. 4624 is shown on Aug. 30 on the point of Train 390, the northbound Saluki, during its station stop in Effingham.

Look closely and you’ll see the unit has picked up some road dirt and insect remains during its travels.

It won’t be too long before Charger locomotives become as ubiquitous as P40 and P42 Genesis locomotives were and still are on Amtrak’s long-distance trains.

Rumbling Into Waterloo on Sunday Morning

August 21, 2020

Amtrak’s westbound Lake Shore Limited is about 20 minutes late as it arrives into the station at Waterloo, Indiana, under cloudy skies.

Somehow that seems appropriate given the future of this train. In another two months you won’t be able to board Amtrak on Sunday morning to travel to Chicago.

The westbound Lake Shore will only be arriving in Waterloo, or in Cleveland and Toledo for that matter, on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.

Today’s No. 49 has its summer pandemic consist of two P42DC locomotives, a Boston Viewliner sleeper, Amfleet food service car, four Amfleet II coaches, Viewliner dining car that serves as a sleeper class lounge, two New York VIewliner sleepers, a Viewliner baggage car and a deadheading Viewliner sleeper on the rear.

I didn’t count the number of passengers who boarded or disembarked but it was around 10 total.

The train made two stops, one for coach passengers and another to drop off a couple of sleeper class passengers.

And then it was highball and onto the next station in Elkhart, Indiana.

Look What We Found on the Pennsylvanian

August 19, 2020

Amtrak’s westbound Pennsylvanian passes Hunt Tower in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.

On the rear of the Pennsylvania was a passenger car once used on the PRR’s Broadway Limited.

On returning from the East Broad Top’s 60th Anniversary we stopped at Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, to catch the Amtrak’s westbound Pennsylvanian.

To my surprise former Pennsylvania Railroad sleeper lounge Catalpa Falls, which ran on the Broadway Limited in 1949 trailed the consist.

It was a nice way to finish the day.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Mission Accomplished

August 15, 2020

I had had my eye on photographing Amtrak’s westbound Cardinal from this bridge carrying U.S. Route 231 over the CSX Monon Subdivision for several weeks.

But a road construction project had reduced traffic over the bridge to one lane.

The work was completed in early August and that gave me an opportunity.

No. 51 had left Crawfordsville, Indiana, on time but lost about 12 minutes in a CSX work zone before it reached my position.

Like Two Trains in One

August 7, 2020

Amtrak’s westbound Cardinal is ferrying equipment from the Beech Grove shops to Chicago today and as a result No. 51 appears to be two trains in  one.

The front half of the train is P42DC No. 77 along with two Superliner cars and two Viewliner baggage cars.

Behind that is the normal consist of No. 51 of P42DC No. 205, two Amfleet II coaches, an Amfleet food service car, Viewliner sleeper and Viewlier baggage-dorm car.

The two trains were combined at Indianapolis Union Station.

The image was made on Aug. 6, 2020, at Cherry Grove, Indiana, on the CSX Monon Subdivision.

The stop sign is for a spur into a grain elevator out of view to the left.

State of the Cardinal in 1987

August 1, 2020

I’ve long thought that the halcyon days for Amtrak’s Cardinal were in the late 1980s to early 1990s.

Sure, the train only operated three days a week, just as it still does today, but the level of service provided was much higher then it would become starting in 1995 when it was assigned Superliner equipment and reduced to a Chicago-Washington operation.

In the late 1980s, Nos. 50 and 51 operated with two sleeping cars, one of which was a slumber coach. The fare was reasonable enough that I could afford to buy a slumbercoach room for travel between Chicago and Indianapolis.

The Cardinal also still had a full-service dining car during this era.

In the photograph above, the Cardinal is shown at Fort Spring, West Virginia, on July 26, 1987, exiting a tunnel on the former Chesapeake & Ohio mainline.

Photograph by Edward Ribinskas

Charging Through Arcola, Illinois

July 29, 2020

The massive grain elevator complex in Arcola, Illinois, has been a favorite backdrop that I’ve used over the years when photographing Amtrak trains on the Chicago-Carbondale-New Orleans corridor.

The way the schedule works out, the complex best works as a backdrop for the northbound Saluki.

The southbound City of New Orleans would have to be really, really late to catch in daylight and the window for getting its northbound counterpart is very small.

The Illini in both directions passes through Arcola in daylight but by then the sun is behind the grain complex.

So that leaves the Saluki, which I’ve photographed here a few times.

My motivation for getting No. 390 this year has been to recreate an image I did years ago but with different motive power.

The P42DC units that were mainstays on the Chicago-Carbondale trains have given was to Siemens SC-44 Chargers.

Last Sunday No. 390 was about 10 to 15 minutes off its published schedule as it blasted through Arcola.

There is a restored Illinois Central depot here, but Arcola has never been a scheduled Amtrak stop.

This is the second time I’ve photographed No. 390 in Arcola this summer. Back in mid June the Saluki carried a Heritage baggage car.

That has since been replaced by a Viewliner baggage car. In both cases, the baggage car was in the consist to enable the train to meet a minimum axle count required by host railroad Canadian National.

Blasting Through Rantoul

July 28, 2020

It’s an early Sunday morning at the Amtrak station in Rantoul, Illinois.

I’m the only person around even through Amtrak’s northbound City of New Orleans will be come through here in a few minutes.

But Trains 58 and 59 don’t stop in Rantoul. Only the state-funded Saluki and Illini between Chicago and Carbondale, Illinois, stop here.

No. 58 is about 15 minutes off schedule as it roars through the Rantoul station. Note the engineer has his hand out the window to wave at the photographer.

It also has two P42DC locomotives up front. Normally, the City of New Orleans operates with a single locomotive.

Early Generation Pennsylvanian

July 24, 2020

Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian has had a long and colorful history. It began on April 27, 1980, as a Pittsburgh-Philadelphia train funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

It was intended to replace, in part, the National Limited, which had been discontinued on Oct. 1, 1979, a move that ended intercity rail passenger service to Columbus and Dayton.

Extended to New York in October 1983, Nos. 46 and 47 got off to a slow start from a ridership perspective. But patronage soon took off and by 1994 the Pennsylvanian had become part of Amtrak’s basic network.

That would later change and for a time in the late 1990s the Pennsylvanian operated west of Pittsburgh via Cleveland.

But all of that was down the road when this image was made near Lewistown, Pennsylvania, on June 27, 1988.

The Pennsylvanian looked then like any other eastern corridor service train pulled by an F40PH with a string of Amfleet coaches and a cafe car trailing.

Photograph by Robert Farkas