Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak P30CH locomotives’

End of the Line in Carbondale

January 11, 2020

It is a Saturday in June 1979 and just for the fun of it I bought a round-trip ticket to ride Nos. 391 and 392 between Mattoon and Carbondale, Illinois.

Carbondale was the southern terminus for Amtrak’s Shawnee.

I’ve just disembarked from No. 391 in Carbondale. An Illinois Central Gulf locomotive will attach to the rear of the Amtrak train and pull it north to turn on a wye in preparation for its return to Chicago at 4 p.m.

In retrospect I wish I had made this photograph on the other side of the grade crossing.

But then again I can appreciate now the view of the wooden arms that railroads once used on crossing gates and how they were painted black and white. Note that this set of crossing arms is partly painted red and white.

Also note in the photograph a passing northbound ICG freight train and the approaching ICG locomotive that will attach to the rear of No. 391.

Also on this day the Shawnee had a baggage car, which it typically did not except during peak travel periods.

Looks Like Amtrak But it Isn’t

September 5, 2019

It is September 1984 and the Chessie System has borrowed an Amtrak P30CH locomotive and a sleeper to pair with its track inspection train.

This was taken at Ohio Route 91 in Munroe Falls, Ohio, and the train may have been stopped.

I believe Chessie leased the P30 and a 10 roomette, six double bedroom sleeper from Amtrak for their track inspection train for a season for some reason. Maybe they needed the HEP capability, but I’m not sure).

I’m not sure if this was the earlier version of today’s two car geometry train, or a more general inspection train.

Article and Photograph by Paul Woodring

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.

My, What a Big Nose You Had

August 17, 2019

Amtrak’s P30CH locomotives last operated on the Auto Train and Sunset Limited and have been gone for more than two decades.

There were just 25 of the units, all of them built in 1975 and 1976. Most of them were retired in 1992.

No. 707 was built in February 1976. It is shown in Cincinnati on April 14, 1978, leading the eastbound Cardinal.

As the blue flag indicates, this is a service stop and I meandered to the front of the train to get this snapshot.

The “Pooches” as some wags called them pulled a few long-distance trains and were for a time regulars on Midwest corridor trains using Illinois Central Gulf tracks.

They had what seemed to be unusually large noses. At the time they were the only General Electric diesels on the Amtrak roster.

That Late 1970s Look

July 12, 2019

Amtrak was in the midst of rebuilding its Chicago infrastructure when I made this image in September 1978.

My recollection is that I was part of a group making a tour of Amtrak facilities at the time, but I don’t remember much about. it.

Amtrak was well into its transition from steam heated equipment to head end power and its general of P30CH and F40PH locomotives were rapidly overtaking EMD E and F units inherited from the freight railroads and the ill-fated SDP40F locomotives that Amtrak itself ordered.

Not also that this motive power set of a P30 and two F40s is wearing the then new Phase III livery.

These units had helped to introduce Phase II, but it didn’t last long.

Keeping a Watch on the Platform in Joliet

January 25, 2017

rock-june-25-1977-2-x

Amtrak operating crew members have always had radios to communicate with each other. A conductor can tell the engineer by radio that boarding is complete and it is time to leave.

But engine crew members still like to do things the old fashioned way and look in the side mirror to see how the boarding process is going.

It is June 25, 1977, in Joliet, Illinois. The St. Louis-bound Statehouse has arrived and is boarding passengers.

At the time, it was the only train on the Chicago-St. Louis route funded by the State of Illinois.

The engineer is at the throttle of a P30PH locomotive. Known as “Pooches,” the P30s were a common sight on Midwest corridor trains in the 1970s, particularly on Illinois Central Gulf routes.

It was an era when the Statehouse and other corridor trains might be pull into the station behind a P30 or an F40PH. You just never knew.

Moment in Time on the Panama Limited

October 19, 2016

img082

Amtrak dropped the Panama Limited name from its timetables in early 1981. It was time. Amtrak trains 58 and 59 hardly came close to offering the level of service that the Illinois Central had offered aboard its flagship Chicago-New Orleans passenger train.

Amtrak’s Chicago-New Orleans trains have never come close to offering the elite level of service that the IC offered. Then again, Amtrak didn’t need to offer that type of service, which it is ill suited to provide.

Shown is the northbound Panama Limited arriving in Mattoon, Illinois, in September 1977.

It is a low point in the train’s Amtrak history. Sleeping cars were removed in January 1977 when the train received Amfleet equipment. Also removed was the full-service diner. Passengers on this day had to be content with an Amcafe offering.

But the train had checked baggage service and sleepers would return in a few months.

It was common in the late 1970s for Nos. 58 and 59 to be pulled by a lone P30CH. Class unit No. 700 is doing the honors today as the baggage man watches the platform.