Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak P30CH No. 724’

A Pooch in Joliet

January 13, 2021

Amtrak purchased 25 P30CH locomotives from General Electric in the 1970s. Although the thinking at the time was that the units could be used for long-distance service once new equipment with head-end power capability arrived, that plan didn’t quite work out that way.

The P30s, known by some as “pooches,” did haul some long-distance trains on a regular basis, including the Cardinal, Panama Limited, Sunset Limited and Auto Train.

They saw spot duty on other long-distance trains and based on photographs I’ve seen from the late 1970s were assigned to the San Francisco Zephyr between Chicago and Denver for a time.

If you lived in the Midwest, though, you probably saw P30s on the point of corridor trains using Illinois Central Gulf tracks.

Shown above is No. 724 leading the Ann Rutledge southbound at Joliet, Illinois, on Aug. 13, 1976. At the time it was a Chicago-St. Louis train.

In the background is Joliet Union Station.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

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.