Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Illinois Zephyr’

Illinois Trains Making Detour in Galesburg

July 13, 2017

Amtrak’s Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg are making a 5.7 mile detour in Galesburg, Illinois, due to work on the new Main Street underpass.

As part of that project, a bridge is being built under the BNSF mainline for Main Street and tracks 2 and 3 are removed until at least noon on Friday.

The regular route for Nos. 380, 381, 382 and 383, uses Track No. 2 through the Galesburg Amtrak station, thus making a detour necessary through the Galesburg yard even it is never more than a half-mile away from the normal route.

Using an eastbound train as an example, the detour route begins at Saluda, the south end of the Galesburg yard complex, and takes the lead to the Graham Cut-off Line.

At the Graham Cut-off connection, Amtrak trains continue compass north, passing beneath the Waterman lead to the Graham Cut-off.
North of the underpass, Amtrak stays on the westernmost (compass direction) track, passing west of the hump and immediately east of the locomotive tracks at the Galesburg shops.

Amtrak trains then stay to the west, pass the Prospect Street switch under the West Third Street overpass, and turns northeast to enter the Ottumwa Subdivision mainline at the west end of A-Plant.

At that point, the trains cross over from Track 3 to Track 1 to serve the Amtrak station, which is unusual for these trains. Track 1 is currently the only open track through town on the former Chicago, Burlington & Quincy mainline.

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Macomb Leading Way in Amtrak Pilot Program

February 2, 2017

It is not every community that gets personal attention from a member of the Amtrak board of directors.

IllinoisBut then most communities served by Amtrak don’t have a former mayor on the board of directors.

At the urging of Thomas C. Carper, Macomb, Illinois, agreed to become the first city to see its Amtrak station rebuilt to comply with federal ADA standards.

Macomb is participating in a pilot program that may be extended to other stations.

A team from Amtrak inspected the depot last year and offered the city a deal. If the city would hire local companies to do the work, Amtrak would provide reimbursement.

“This pilot is the only one we’re doing,” Carper told Macomb aldermen. “What works in Macomb might be the template for other modifications. We like the idea of local construction rather than hiring one national contractor.”

Carper, who served as Macomb’s mayor between 1991 and 2003, said 511 of Amtrak’s 525 stations need work to become ADA compliant. Amtrak is responsible for the facilities of 380 of those stations.

In Macomb the work will include a new concrete walkway from the parking lot to the platform and to the depot entrances.

Also in the plans are building a sloped concrete walkway and steps to the platform and adding handrails, and then remodeling the train station interior so that entry doors and restrooms are handicapped accessible.

The Macomb city manager has recommend hiring McClure Engineering Associates to draw up construction specifications based on the Amtrak designs for a fee of $4,500.

The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy depot in Macomb was built in 1913 and has been granted historic status.

Therefore, some elements outlined in the plan cannot be altered or must be done so as to appear consistent with the historic look.

Macomb is served by the Chicago-Quincy, Illinois Carl Sandburg and Illinois Zephyr.

Amtrak to Fund Macomb Station Upgrade

November 21, 2016

Amtrak has said it will provide some funding for plans to upgrade the station in Macomb, Illinois, to make it ADA compliant.

IllinoisThe renovations will include adding a ramp on the south side of the building, rehabilitation of the indoor restrooms, and a reconfiguration of the indoor seating to make the space more easily navigable.

Macomb is served by the Chicago-Quincy, Illinois, Carl Sandburg and Illinois Zephyr.

Local officials said that Santa Claus will riding into town on Amtrak on Dec. 2 and 3.

Extra Trains Set for Thanksgiving Travel Period

October 19, 2016

Amtrak said it will offer extra trains between Chicago and points in Illinois and Michigan during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period.

Amtrak logoIn Illinois, the additional trains will operate between Chicago and Bloomington-Normal, and Chicago and Quincy. All of these trains will operate on Wednesday, Nov. Nov. 23, and Sunday, Nov. 27.

In Michigan, extra trains will operate between Chicago and Ann Arbor on Nov. 23, 26 and 27. Extra trains will also operate between Chicago and Holland on Nov. 23 and 27.

Train No. 309 will depart Chicago at 10:30 a.m. and arrive in Bloomington-Normal at 12:58 p.m., making all intermediate stops served by Lincoln Service trains.

No. 308 will depart Bloomington-Normal at 1:15 p.m. and is scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 3:39 p.m.

Train No. 385 will depart Chicago at 11:30 a.m. and arrive in Quincy at 3:53 p.m.

No. 384 will depart Quincy at 1 p.m. and arrive in Chicago at 5:23 p.m. The Chicago-Quincy trains will operate as Carl Sandburg Extra service.

Some regularly scheduled trains will have altered schedules during the holiday period. Lincoln Service train 301 will depart Chicago at 7:30 a.m., a half-hour later than normal, on Nov. 23 and 27.

Lincoln Service train 300 will depart St. Louis on Nov. 23 and 27 at 4 a.m., a half-hour earlier than normal.

Illinois Zephyr No. 383 will depart Chicago on Nov. 23 and 27 at 6:15 p.m., which is 20 minutes later than normal.

In Michigan, the Wolverine Service Extra trains will depart Chicago at 9:30 a.m. and arrive in Ann Arbor at 3:10 p.m., operating as No. 356. Intermediate stops will be made at New Buffalo, Niles, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Jackson.

No. 359 will depart Ann Arbor at 4:05 p.m. and arrive in Chicago at 7:47 p.m., making the same intermediate stops as No. 356.

There will no change in schedules for other Wolverine Service trains between Chicago and Detroit (Pontiac).

The Pere Marquette Extra will depart Chicago at 10 a.m., operating as No. 372, and arrive in Holland at 2:11 p.m. It will make all intermediate stops also served by the regular Pere Marquette. No. 373 will depart Holland at 3:10 p.m. and arrive in Chicago at 5:27 p.m.

There will be no change in the schedule of the daily Pere Marquette.

Amtrak said that during the holiday travel period it will operate every available passenger car in its fleet.

Amtrak No. 1 on No. 380 at Highlands

September 30, 2016

amtrak-eb-illinois-zephyr-june-20-1998-highlands

There is something special about number one. Numero Uno often is used to designate the winner of something, often a sports team that won a championship.

Not many railroads have locomotives with roster numbers in the single digits. Most Amtrak locomotive roster numbers are three digits but an exception was made for the P42DC fleet, which began with No. 1

There is nothing out of the ordinary about P42DC No. 1 other than its number. Nonetheless, I was excited to see it leading the Illinois Zephyr past Highlands on the BNSF raceway in Chicago a few years ago.

Just over a year later I would see No. 1 again, this time in Portland Oregon. It would lead the Portland section of the Empire Builder eastward and I would ride behind it all the way to Chicago.

That Early P42DC Livery Look

September 15, 2016

amtrak-blog-6

It only seems that Amtrak’s P42DC locomotives have worn blue and silver forever. Fact is, when the Genesis series of locomotives was introduced in the early 1990s it featured the Phase III livery.

In case you’ve forgotten what that looked like, take a look at this image of the inbound Illinois Zephyr.

It is a late spring day in Berwyn, Illinois, in 1997. I’ve just disembarked from a Metra train on the Chicago-Aurora, Illinois, raceway.

The IZ is rushing along on the center train, passing a westbound Burlington Northern & Santa Fe manifest freight. BNSF has been in operation less than a year and the BN heritage of this line is still much in evidence.

The Illinois Zephyr has its standard consist for the time with a lone P42DC on the point, three Horizon Fleet coaches and an Amfleet food service car. All of them are clad in the Phase III look. It was the way it was in the 1990s and still is today.

Chance Meeting of 2 Amtrak Trains

August 30, 2016

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Amtrak trains pass each other every day on every route, so the practice is common. It can be tricky, though, to know where two trains are going to pass on any given day.

Yes, you can determine the likely meeting places based on schedules and how the trains are operating that day. That’s easier to do on single track territory with a set number of passing sidings, but calculating a meeting point can be complicated on a double-track mainline.

Back in early August 2008 I was in Mendota, Illinois, to photograph the westbound Carl Sandburg and the eastbound Illinois Zephyr, which were scheduled into there seven minutes apart.

The Zephyr was running late and the Sandburg reached the station first. No. 381 had scarcely came to a halt when No. 380 came around the curve.

Perhaps this type of meet happens frequently in Mendota, but it was a lucky break for me.

 

Galesburg Celebrates Expanded Amtrak Station

November 24, 2015

An enlarged and spiffed up Galesburg (Illinois) Amtrak station attracted large crowds to celebrate the expansion during an open house last week.

The station was recently renovated and expanded by 1,400 feet. The project cost more than $600,000 with most of that being paid for by state and federal grants.

The station is now brighter and features additional space for passengers and a separate area for buses and luggage check-in.

“I’m really happy and pleased on how it turned out,” said Community Development Director Roy Parkin. “It’s exactly what we wanted. It provides additional space for the Amtrak customers as well as the bus company facility.”

The restrooms also were remodeled and some cosmetic changes were made to the depot.

The station is served by Burlington Trailways bus lines, which will maintain a ticket counter in the facility. City officials noted that there is an Enterprise rental car office nearby.

“In 1999 our passengers just wanted to go from point A to point B,” said Marty Bradley of Burlington Trailways. “Now today they want outlets at every seat, Wi-Fi on the bus and seamless transportation to and from one mode of ground transportation to another. Today it’s possible with the partnership between Burlington Trailways and Amtrak, with the thru-way agreement to get their passengers across the Interstate-74 corridor.”

Galesburg is served by the Chicago-San Francisco Bay California Zephyr, the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief, and the Chicago-Quincy Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg.

Amtrak’s Illinois Pet Program Made Permanent

April 22, 2015

A trial program allowing passengers to carry pets aboard Amtrak trains in Illinois is being made permanent.

The program allowed small pets aboard the Chicago-Quincy Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg, and the Chicago-Carbondale Illini and Saluki.

Some 200 animals have ridden with their masters without a single complaint or incident.

“I am proud that Illinois is the first state in the country to work with Amtrak to offer this convenient service for pet owners, while also taking into account the considerations of other passengers,” said acting IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “By allowing pets on trains, Amtrak and the Illinois Department of Transportation are making it that much easier for people to experience so many of our great communities throughout the state.”

Ticketing and travel with pets originates throughout the day in Chicago, Carbondale, Champaign, and Galesburg, while the service is only available during afternoon departures in Homewood and Naperville due to staffing.

Reservations are required and a surcharge of $25 is assessed for travel. Dogs or cats up to 20-pounds each are accepted in carriers that can be placed under the seat of each pet owner.

Trains Canceled in Illinois due to Snow Drifts

February 2, 2015

Drifting snow prompted BNSF to close a part of its Mendota Subdivision in Illinois on Monday, which resulted in the cancellation of some Amtrak services.

Canceled were the eastbound Illinois Zephyr to Chicago from Quincy, Ill., and the westbound Carl Sandburg from Chicago to Quincy.

No alternative transportation was provided to Quincy or the intermediate stop at Macomb, Ill.

Passengers for those trains at stops between Chicago and Galesburg, Ill., were accommodated by the Southwest Chief and the California Zephyr

The evening westbound Illinois Zephyr and eastbound Carl Sandburg were still expected to operate.