Amfleet equipment had been assigned to Midwest corridor trains for just over a year when I made this image of the southbound Shawnee arriving in Effingham, Illinois, on a cold Saturday morning in February.
The Chicago to Carbondale, Illinois, train was scheduled into Effingham in late morning and on this day was running close to on time.
Because of its daylight schedule I frequently saw Nos. 391 and 392, and photographed them a few times in the late 1970s.
A trainman is looking for passengers as No. 391 arrives on the Illinois Central Gulf tracks at a union station that once served the Illinois Central and the Pennsylvania Railroad.
In 1977, Effingham saw six Amtrak trains a day. Aside from the Shawnee, the city was served by the Chicago-New Orleans Panama Limited and the New York-Kansas City National Limited.
My recollection is the trainman is not wearing an Amtrak uniform. Some ICG employees assigned to Amtrak service did not wear passenger uniforms. It might have been because they did not regularly work Amtrak trains. There may have been another reason for that.
Amfleet equipment was an upgrade at the time that it was introduced in the Midwest because it provided consistent climate control. Trains were neither too hot or too cold, and the new equipment was more reliable than much of the steam-heated equipment that it replaced.
The Shawnee operated with one equipment set, making a daily roundtrip from Chicago to Carbondale. Crews changed at Champaign and Centralia just as the ICRR passenger train crews had. It would be several years before the crew district became Chicago-Carbondale.
It would also be several years before the Shawnee would become a state-funded train and renamed the Illini. In the 1970s, the Shawnee was part of Amtrak’s basic network.