Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak Chicago terminal’

One Winter Day in Chicago

September 2, 2019

The winter of 1977-1978 was a brutal one in Chicago and the rest of the Midwest.

Frigid temperatures knocked some of Amtrak’s fleet out of service and some trains were canceled for days if not weeks.

I got a taste of that in February 1978 when I rode the Panama Limited to Chicago on a day trip.

Rather than the usual conventional steam-heated equipment normally assigned to the train, No. 58 had Amfleet equipment.

I made this photo as we were backing into Chicago Union Station.

On a nearby track a train is arriving from St. Louis with a P30CH on the point. That was standard equipment for the corridor trains operating between Chicago and St. Louis at the time.

P30s were a common sight pulling Amtrak trains in the 1970s on routes of host railroad Illinois Central Gulf.

Indeed the train I was riding was being powered by a P30.

Amtrak Chicago Maintenance Worker Killed

January 17, 2018

An Amtrak maintenance worker was killed early Tuesday morning near the service and inspection building in Chicago.

The victim was identified as Martin Rivera, 42, of Chicago. The incident occurred at about 7:15 a.m.

No other injuries of Amtrak workers were reported. The National Transportation Safety Board in investigating the death.

News reports indicated that Rivera was already dead and lying on railroad tracks in the 1400 block of South Lumber Street when paramedics arrived.

Rivera was found lying on the tracks by another Amtrak worker who notified authorities.

Phase II E Unit on Display

January 26, 2017


By the time that I began photographing Amtrak operations in 1977 the EMD E and F units that had been a mainstay in Amtrak’s roundhouse in the carrier’s earlier years were vanishing from the scene.

Some still pulled select trains, most notably the Broadway Limited, National Limited and Lake Shore Limited, but otherwise short-haul trains were pulled by F40PHs and P30CHs, while long-distance trains still had SDP40Fs.

But the motive power assignments were rapidly changing as Amtrak was phasing out the SDP40F and replacing them with other locomotives, sometimes E units.

Some E units were repainted into the Phase II livery, but there were not all that many in proportion to the number of E units that Amtrak once operated.

I have a few photographs of Amtrak trains being pulled by E units, but all of them feature units wearing the Phase I livery. This is one of my few and maybe only image of an E unit in the Phase II markings.

Originally built in September 1953 for the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac, this E8A wore Amtrak roster number 220 until November 1975 after being rebuilt. No. 440 was retired by Amtrak in July 1981.

I made this image from aboard the outbound Lone Star as it passed the diesel shop.

Where Amtrak Locos Lay Over Between Runs

December 24, 2016


South of Chicago Union Station is the engine house where Amtrak maintains locomotives assigned to trains originating in Chicago.

I’ve passed by the facility numerous times on an Amtrak train, but never been inside of it. It is not the type of place that often offers public tours.

I got this grab shot from aboard the Carbondale, Illinois, to Chicago Saluki as it passed by the engine house on the St. Charles Air Line.

Other than routine servicing between runs, the engine house has facilities to perform maintenance, although the heavy overhauls are done at Beech Grove shops near Indianapolis.

Now Arriving From Carbondale, The Saluki

December 23, 2016



The view is from the observation deck of Willis Tower in Chicago looking south on May 20, 2013. There is a clear view of the St. Charles Air Line which Amtrak trains use to get to and from the former Illinois Central mainline between Chicago and New Orleans.

The train that is visible in the top image crossing the Chicago River is the inbound Saluki from Carbondale, Illinois. It will cross over the Amtrak and Metra coach yards en route to reaching the BNSF Raceway at Union Avenue.

No. 390 will then back into Chicago Union Station. This move has been standard operating procedure for Amtrak trains arriving from New Orleans, Carbondale and Champaign since 1972.

On occasion, Amtrak has diverged from the St. Charles Air Line to the former IC Iowa Division at 16th Street Tower, crossed the route used by eastern Amtrak trains at 21st Street, and done a backup move on the former Gulf, Mobile & Ohio route into Union Station.

I’ve also been on an Amtrak train that pulled out straight out and backed around the wye onto the Raceway to access the St. Charles Air Line.

Whichever route that an Amtrak train bound for or coming off the former IC takes, it will need to do a backup move at some point. Click on the photographs to enlarge them.

Chicago Union Station Upgrades to be Announced

October 16, 2015
The great hall of Chicago Union Station.

The great hall of Chicago Union Station.

Amtrak and Chicago officials were to announce on Friday a $14 million plan to renovate Chicago Union Station.

The work would include repairing the station’s skylights, restoring an iconic staircase and building a new Amtrak passenger lounge.

Longer term work will include widening station platforms, connecting the station to the Blue Line of the Chicago Transit Authority and improving street access.

Officials have yet to find a source of funding for the long-term projects, which could cost more than $100 million.

Amtrak is expected to kick in $14 million for the initial station work.

Union Station is the third-busiest railroad terminal in the United States, handling an estimated 50,000 daily commuters.

A report that addresses station improvements concluded that the station is plagued by less-than-ideal access and narrow passageways that lead to overcrowding that exacerbates train delays.

A coalition that includes officials from Amtrak, Metra, the Regional Transportation Authority and the city of Chicago will search for a developer and architecture firm to design the station renovations.

In a statement, RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard said the coalition recognizes Union Station’s architectural value and will seek to restore “its former glory.”

Genset Locomotive Operating in Chicago

December 17, 2013

The Amtrak Chicago terminal now has a genset locomotive shuffling cars about the yard and making up trains, Trains magazine has reported.

Amtrak recently placed into service the first of two MP14B genset locomotives that were built by MotivePower in Boise, Idaho, and delivered in early September.

Before the first locomotive (No. 592) could be put into service, some software issues had to be worked out.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said Amtrak has accepted delivery of its first genset and expected to accept the second unit shortly.

In 2011, Amtrak received a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation for two locomotives to be used in Chicago.

The gensets are likely to replace 500-series GE B32-8WH locomotives currently assigned to yard service. This will enable those units to return to road service.