Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Illini’

Illini to Run an Hour Later on Weekdays

April 19, 2017

Amtrak’s Carbondale, Illinois, to Chicago Illini will operate an hour later between April 24 and May 12 due to Canadian National track work.

The schedule change affects only trains operating on Monday through Friday. The Saturday and Sunday schedule of No. 392 remains unchanged.

Arrival times at all intermediate stations will be an hour later.

The Illini is funded largely by the Illinois Department of Transportation.


NB CONO Operating 4 Hours Later untill April 1

March 9, 2017

The northbound City of New Orleans is being rescheduled to operate four hours later between March 6 and April 1 due to Canadian National track work.

No. 58 will during that time frame depart from New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal at 5:45 p.m., and operate four hours later at all stations from New Orleans to Carbondale, Illinois.

North of Cardonable, No. 58 will operate on the schedule of No. 390, the northbound Saluki, and make all station stops served by No. 390.

That means that No. 58 will be stopping in Illinois at DuQuoin, Rantoul and Gillman, stations that it normally does not serve.

In order to provide three daily trains from Carbondale to Chicago, Amtrak will operate an extra train, No. 1158.

Passengers who hold tickets for travel on No. 58 between March 6 and April 1 will instead travel on No. 1158.

That train will operate on the schedule of No. 58 and serve all of its stations. It will use the equipment normally assigned to No. 390.

The northbound schedule for Train 392 (Illini) and the southbound schedules for Trains 59 (City of New Orleans), 391 (Saluki) and 393 (Illini) are unchanged for this period.

Passing Trains in Mattoon

March 3, 2017


A northbound Canadian National manifest freight passes the former Illinois Central station in Mattoon, Illinois, as a tardy Illini arrives from Chicago. The CN freight had been working in the Mattoon  yard and with No. 393 in the passing siding the freight has a highball to head out on the single track at North Mattoon.

Unusual Corridor Train Double Header

February 7, 2017


Virtually every Amtrak Midwest corridor train I’ve ever seen was being pulled by one locomotive. In some corridors Amtrak may have a locomotive on each end of the train to avoid the need to turn the train at a terminus point.

But only once have I seen a corridor train with two locomotives on the point.

Shown above is the northbound Illini at Pesotum, Illinois, in August 2012 with a pair of P42DCs leading. I can’t say if both units are online or why on this particular day two units were assigned.

I had seen this equipment set earlier in the day when it went south with the Saluki bound for Carbondale, Illinois.

So I planned to make an image of that equipment set when it returned to Chicago with the Illini.

Getting Settled Aboard the Southbound Illini

January 31, 2017


Boarding is well underway for Amtrak train No. 393, the Illini, at Chicago Union Station. En route to Carbondale, Illinois, the train will make intermediate stops in Homewood, Kankakee, Gilman, Rantoul, Champaign-Urbana, Mattoon, Effingham, Centralia and DuQuoin before it ties up for the night.

I’ll be getting off in Mattoon to visit my Dad. It will be my final trip to see him in my hometown for in a couple months he will move top Arizona and my method of conveyance to go see him will be an Airbus or Boeing 737.

Between April 1994 and March 2014, I would regularly ride Amtrak from my home in Cleveland to visit my Dad.

The Illini was a constant during that period of time, leaving in late afternoon at 4 p.m. and later 4:05 p.m.

Most of the time I would ride in a Horizon fleet coach similar to one although during a few trips I bought a business class seat in what was often an Amfleet food service car.

Some day the Horizon equipment might be gone from the Illinois corridor trains and this view will be dated. But as this is posted in early 2017, it remains state of the art.

Somewhat a Reminder of the Streamliner Era Equipment

January 11, 2017


Few people will confuse or equate an Amtrak Amfleet car with the equipment that was built during the streamliner era of American passenger trains.

Amfleet cars and what Amtrak described as its Heritage Fleet were built to different designs. But how does other Amtrak rolling stock compare?

When I ran across this photograph of the rear of a Horizon Fleet car on Amtrak’s Illini departing from the station at Mattoon, Illinois, I began comparing it with a streamliner era car.

I’ve seen many images over the year of a streamliner era passenger car as the last car on a departing train. Like the Horizon fleet, the streamliner era equipment had a boxy design with a rounded roof.

The diaphragm around the doorway that enabled passengers and crew members to move from one car to another are similar. Many trains in the streamliner era had a tail hose just as this Amtrak train does.

I’ve also seen rear markers lights on streamliner equipment similar to those on this Horizon car.

Streamliner equipment often had a folding gate that could be put into place if a car was the last one on the train. I don’t see that on this Horizon car.

In short there are differences, but enough similarities to remind me of passenger equipment from another era.

Anyone Want to Board No. 393?

January 2, 2017


The conductor of Amtrak train No. 393 looks over the platform in Mattoon, Illinois, to see if he has any more boarding passengers.

The Chicago to Carbondale Illini has discharged all of its passengers at Mattoon and will be underway southbound very shortly.

Most of those who got off here — myself included — got on in Chicago.

The station was built by the Illinois Central and is now owned by the City of Mattoon. The rails are now owned by Canadian National.

Bringing up the Rear

January 1, 2017

For a while in 2011 Amtrak’s Chicago-Carbondale, Illinois, trains operated with a locomotive on each end in order to avoid having to turn the train. That practice proved to be short-lived.

The southbound Illini is shown leaving Mattoon, Illinois, on June 1, 2011, with P42DC No. 127 carrying the markers.

Tomorrow, No. 127 will lead the northbound Saluki out of Carbondale to Chicago. The tracks here are owned by Canadian National.

No One Boarding the Illini in Homewood

November 25, 2016


An Amtrak crew member is picking up the step box and will soon board the northbound Illini at Homewood, Illinois, as it departs for its final stop at Chicago Union Station. The date is Aug. 31, 1996.

Amtrak does not carry passengers from Homewood to Chicago except when they are connecting there with other Amtrak trains.

Homewood is shown as a discharge only station for the northbound Illini.

Some passengers who disembarked here are still lingering on the platform before walking down a stairway to a tunnel that leads to the station.

Amtrak’s Illini is Now Boarding

November 7, 2016


There is nothing extraordinary about this photograph that you will be able to readily see.

It was made at Chicago Union Station in March 2014 at the boarding gate of the Illini, a Chicago to Carbondale, Illinois, train that is funded by the State of Illinois.

Departing at 4:05 p.m., it is one of the most popular trains for passengers traveling to the downstate Illinois points of Kankakee, Gilman, Rantoul, Champaign-Urbana, Mattoon, Effingham, Centralia, Du Quoin and Carbondale.

What you don’t see or can’t tell is why I made this photograph. It wasn’t to show a boarding gate at CUS.

It was to make a record of the last time that I would ride a train that figured in my life for 20 years.

I moved to Cleveland in August 1993. The following April, I began what would be a twice-a-year ritual of taking Amtrak to visit my Dad in Mattoon, Illinois.

I would ride either the Capitol Limited or Lake Shore Limited to Chicago and then take the Illini to Mattoon. I would return to Chicago from Mattoon on the City of New Orleans and, later, the Saluki. Then I had my choice of either No. 30 or No. 48 to return to Cleveland.

But I always rode the Illini to Mattoon. In 20 years some changes were bound to occur even if they were relatively minor.

When I first began riding the Illini it was No. 391 and departed at 4 p.m. Once the Saluki began service in 2006 the number of the southbound Illini changed to 393. The schedule changed slightly to depart at 4:05 p.m.

My Dad moved to Arizona in May 2014 and I knew when I visited him in March that it would be the last time that I make that Cleveland-Chicago-Mattoon trek by rail.

So I made this image to record what for me was the end of an era.