Shawnee Pauses at Champaign on a Winter’s Day

One of the earliest photographs I made of Amtrak was the southbound Shawnee at Champaign, Ill., in January 1977.

One of the earliest photographs I made of Amtrak was the southbound Shawnee at Champaign, Ill., in January 1977.

Not long after venturing to Effingham, Ill., in January 1977 to photograph my first Amtrak trains, I made a trip to Champaign to get the southbound Shawnee again. In those days there was nothing to stop you from going  out on the platform before the train arrived.

At the time, the former Illinois Central Chicago-New Orleans mainline was operated by the Illinois Central Gulf. The infrastructure was pretty much what it had been for years. Champaign tower was still open and multiple tracks went past the station.

The Shawnee arrived and the familiar ritual played out. Champaign was at that time a crew change point so the inbound engineer got off and the outbound engineer took his place. Usually, far more passengers got off in Champaign than got on. The conductor gave the highball and the Shawnee was on its way.

 

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