Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak in Springfield Illinois’

Track Work to Disrupt Lincoln Service

June 2, 2017

Track work will affect Lincoln Service train between Springfield, Illinois, and St. Louis during the period of June 3-7.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said that the following schedule changes have been made.

Saturday, June 3, 2017: Trains 305 and 307

Trains 305 and 307 will operate between Chicago and Springfield only. Alternate transportation will be provided to and from Carlinville, Alton and St. Louis.

Sunday, June 4 – Tuesday, June 6, 2017: Trains 300 – 307

From June 4 through June 6, 2017, all Lincoln Service trains (Trains 300  through 307) will operate between Chicago and Springfield only. Bus service will replace all trains except No. 300 between Springfield, Carlinville, Alton and St. Louis.

Wednesday, June 7: Trains 300 and 302

Trains 300 and 302 will operate between Springfield and Chicago only. Bus service will be provided for Train 302 from St. Louis, Alton and Carlinville, to Springfield. Bus service will not be provided for Train 300.

Throughout the period, northbound charter buses will leave earlier than their respective trains.

Springfield Wants to Close Grade Crossings

May 8, 2017

Four grade crossings in Springfield, Illinois, on Amtrak’s Chicago-St. Louis corridor may be closed and others improved, which will lead to faster speeds through the capital city of Illinois.

Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder said the city plans to ask the Illinois Commerce Commission for authority to close crossings at Allen, Canedy, Cedar, Jackson and Union streets.

The remaining crossing of the Union Pacific crossings used by Amtrak trains will receive safety upgrades.

When the crossings work is completed, Amtrak trains will be allowed to travel at 40 mph in Springfield compared with the current 25 mph speed limit.

Longer term, rail traffic through downtown Springfield will be placed along the 10th Street rail corridor.

The city is served by Lincoln Service trains and the Texas Eagle. Those trains operate on former Gulf, Mobile & Ohio tracks along Third Street.

Work is expected to begin soon on improvements at the South Grand Avenue crossing, and $575,000 in land acquisition and demolition costs for improvements at the Fourth Street and North Grand Avenue crossings.

“The state will be installing new traffic controllers and traffic-signal interconnects along South Grand Avenue from Second to Fourth streets,” said city engineer Nate Bottom.

Bottom said similar work is planned at the remaining Third Street crossings.

Step Taken Toward Springfield Transit Hub

February 4, 2017

The Sangamon Mass Transit District has hired a company to begin razing buildings at the site of a planned intermodal transportation hub in Springfield, Illinois.

300px-Lincoln_Service_map.svgThe hub will be located on the east side of the 10th Street corridor and serve Amtrak, local buses and intercity buses.

SMTD Managing Director Frank Squires said the buildings to be demolished should be down no later than April.

However, he could not give a timeline for when the transportation hub will be completed.

That is because the district will not have much money left after paying to raze the structures at the hub site. Funding of that “will all be done in a series of grants from the federal government from the FTA [Federal Transit Administration],” Squires said.

Springfield is served by Amtrak’s Chicago-St. Louis Lincoln Service trains and the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle.

Illinois Amtrak Ridership Fell in FY 2016

January 12, 2017

Amtrak ridership in Illinois fell by 3.5 percent in fiscal year 2016. Recent figures released by state transportation officials show that more than 4.6 million rode on Amtrak trains in the state.

IllinoisNot surprisingly, Chicago topped the list of the busiest Amtrak stations in Illinois.

Most of the cities on that list are college towns. Behind Chicago the busiest Amtrak stations were Normal-Bloomington, Springfield, Champaign-Urbana, Carbondale, Galesburg and Macomb.

All of those cities also have multiple Amtrak frequencies per day.

Systemwide, Amtrak carried more than 31 million people in FY 2016, an increase of 2 percent over the previous year.

One Day at High Noon in Springfield, Illinois

December 15, 2016
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The technical quality of this image isn’t great but it is one of the few photographs that I have of an SDP40F taken trackside leading a train.

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Looking south from the fireman’s side of Amtrak SPD40F No. 613 in Springfield, Illinois.

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The control stand of an Amtrak SDP40F.

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Engineer Dean Elliot awaits a highball to depart Springfield, Illinois, with Amtrak train No. 21 in June 1977.

It is almost high noon in June 1977 in Springfield, Illinois. I’m standing near the Illinois Central Gulf tracks (former Gulf, Mobile & Ohio) tracks awaiting the arrival of Amtrak’s westbound Inter-American from Chicago to Laredo, Texas.

I don’t recall if No. 21 was late or on time, but even if the former, it was not excessively tardy.

Leading No. 21 was SDP40F No. 613. I made a single photograph of it sitting in the station with its train.

The image isn’t that good, a product of harsh light, improper exposure and the fact that I scanned it from a color negative that is almost 40 years old.

I wanted to photograph the Inter-American because it still ran with SDP40F locomotives and those have always been a favorite of mine.

The engineer of the train spotted me and waved. On impulse I asked him if I could come up into the cab.

He said “yes” and up I went and got the other three images  you see with this post.

I would later learn that the engineer was Dean Elliot and that he is now deceased. He was a railroader’s railroader and I can only imagine the stories he would have had to tell about life on the road.

But there was no time for that. I only had enough time to grab a few shots before the conductor gave No. 21 a highball to leave Springfield. I thanked the crew and climbed down.

And off they went to St. Louis where a Missouri Pacific crew would take over to pilot the Inter-American on its continuing journey to Laredo.

Today, Nos. 21 and 22 are named the Texas Eagle and operate between Chicago and San Antonio.

Springfield Rail Relocation Work Begins

November 1, 2016

Work has begun to get Amtrak out of the street in Springfield, Illinois.

300px-Lincoln_Service_map.svgAmtrak’s Chicago-St. Louis trains have partial street running on Third Street in Springfield, but the plans are to add an additional track to a Norfolk Southern line (former Wabash) and move rail traffic off the Union Pacific (former Gulf, Mobile & Ohio) line now used by the Texas Eagle and Lincoln Service trains.

Demotion of a building has begun to clear space for parking for Horace Mann Educators, which will lose parking spaces due to some of its land being used for an expanded railroad right of way along 10th Street.

The building being razed at 100 N. Ninth St. had housed offices of the Salvation Army, which is moving to another location.

Another demolition that is expected to begin in the coming weeks will remove a building at 901 E. Adams St. at  the site of future transit transfer center for the Springfield Mass Transit District that will open in 2017.

SMTD currently operates an on-street transfer operation at Fifth and Capitol.

Eventually the site will become a multi-modal center used by Amtrak, intercity buses and other public transportation services. City officials expect the area on both sides of the 10th Street rail corridor to develop into a retail-commercial area.

For now, Amtrak and UP freight trains will continue to use the ex-GM&O tracks along Third Street.

The Inter-American in Springfield

September 23, 2016

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It is a cloudy day in March 1977. The long, bitter winter has finally receded and operations at Amtrak have returned to normal after several trains were annulled for a few weeks due to a shortage of workable equipment.

I’m in Springfield, Illinois, where I lived for two years in the middle 1970s. I’ve returned to visit friends and made a mental note to take my new camera to the Amtrak station to photograph the Inter-American, which arrived in late morning southbound.

At the time, the I-A operated between Chicago and Lardeo, Texas, three days a week although it was a daily operation between Chicago and Fort Worth, Texas.

The I-A, which today is known as the Texas Eagle, has an interesting history that included fights with Missouri Pacific over dispatching and train speeds, and a struggle with a Texas congressman over his desire to see the I-A interchange cars with the Mexican Railways.

Eventually Amtrak worked out its differences with MoPac, but the interchange with the Aztec Eagle never came to be. In time, the route was shortened to Chicago-San Antonio.

At the time that I made this photograph of No. 21 in Springfield, the Inter-American was in the midst of the aforementioned disputes and it had only been about a month since it had resumed operating the length of its route after being canceled south of St. Louis during the harsh winter of 1977 that sidelined a third of Amtrak’s long-distance fleet assigned to Chicago-based trains.

And it had been less than five months since the northern terminus of the I-A had been extended to Chicago from St. Louis.

Nos. 21 and 22 were operating with a pair of SDP40F locomotives, although by the time I saw the I-A in June 1977, the motive power assignment has been reduced to one locomotive.

The SDP40F locomotives and steam-heated equipment would not last much longer. On August 8, 1977, the consist was reduced to two Amfleet coaches and a cafe car. Equipment assignments such as this would become a thing of the past.

 

View From the Cab in Springfield

August 31, 2016

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It was already warm as I waited in late morning on a Sunday in June 1977 for the arrival of the westbound Inter-American in Springfield, Illinois. No. 21 was still being pulled by SDP40F locomotives photographing that was my primary objective.

I don’t recall if the train was late or on time. It arrived behind a single locomotive and stopped. After getting an external photo that didn’t turn out all that well, I asked the engineer if I could come up to photograph inside the cab.

He was an older gentlemen who probably ranked high on the seniority list. At the time, he was an Illinois Central Gulf employee but would have begun his career with the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio or maybe even the Chicago & Alton.

This is one of three images that I made inside the cab. The view is looking southward toward St. Louis from the fireman’s side.

That is the East Adams Street crossing directly ahead. Beyond that is East Monroe Street and then the tracks cross over East Capitol Avenue on a bridge.

Much has changed since this image was made 39 years ago. The ex-GM&O tracks are now owned by Union Pacific and there is just one track now through downtown Springfield.

The Inter-American is now the Texas Eagle and no longer operates south of San Antonio to Neuvo Laredo, Texas, as it did in 1977.

The SDP40F motive power was replaced with F40PH locomotives and Amfleet equipment about two months after my visit.

Officials want to remove these tracks and reroute Amtrak to another path that has far fewer grade crossings.

Like so many other photographs made many years ago, this one is full of reminders of how things have changed as well as how they haven’t.

Some Lincoln Service Passengers to be Bused

March 2, 2016

Track work will result in some Lincoln Service passengers being transported by bus in mid-March.

Amtrak said the affected trains are Nos. 302, 303, 306 and 307 between St. Louis and Springfield.

Amtrak logoOn March 12, Train No. 307 will operate normally from Chicago to Springfield, but passengers will be bused to St. Louis and all intermediate stations.

On March 13, Trains 302 and 306 will be replaced with bus service at all stations from St. Louis to Springfield. At Springfield, passengers will board their respective train to their destination.

The buses are expected to leave earlier than the published times for the trains in order to allow for adequate connection time in Springfield.

Trains 303 and 307 will operate normally from Chicago to Springfield where passengers will board buses for St. Louis and all intermediate stations.

On March 14, Trains 302 and 306 will be replaced with bus service at all stations from St. Louis to Springfield. At Springfield, passengers will board the respective train to their destination.

The buses will depart earlier than the published times for the trains.

Train No. 303 will operate normally from Chicago to Springfield with passengers bused to St. Louis and all intermediate stations.

Amtrak said in a service advisory that the track work is being undertaken by Union Pacific to perform track and signal upgrades in preparation for 110 mph speeds to the Lincoln Service route.

Pact Reached for Springfield Rail Improvements

October 16, 2015

Amtrak and the City of Springfield (Illinois) have reached an agreement for funding a pending relocation of the Chicago-St. Louis route through the capital city of Illinois.

The pact will allow the development of high-speed rail improvements to continue on the Third Street corridor while also seeking to respond to the desire of the city and Sangamon County to move Union Pacific and Amtrak trains to a proposed 10th Street rail corridor over the next decade.

The estimated cost of developing the 10th Street corridor has been placed at $315 million. Work on this corridor is already underway with an underpass at Carpenter Street between Ninth and 11st streets expected to open next year.

Land acquisition has begun for underpasses at Ash and Laurel Streets.

In the meantime, an estimated $30 will be spent to upgrade the Third Street corridor now being used by UP and Amtrak.

That work, which has already gotten underway, will include upgrades to the track, fencing and bridges. The work is expected to be completed by early 2017.

A statement from the office of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner said that the details of the funding agreement are expected to be made public within the next few days.

Local and state officials have been talking with Amtrak and railroad officials for years about changing the flow of rail traffic through Springfield.

Amtrak operates eight daily Lincoln Service trains as well as the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle through Springfield. These trains use a route once owned by the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio.

Some city and county officials have argued that money being allocated to improve the current route used by Amtrak and UP trains would be better spent on developing the 10th Street rail corridor.