Posts Tagged ‘early Amtrak locomotives’

Abe Calls in Joliet

July 9, 2021

Passengers are waiting on the platform at Joliet Union Station as Amtrak’s St. Louis-bound Abraham Lincoln arrives for its station stop.

The date is Aug. 12, 1972, and the Abe is operating between Milwaukee and St. Louis as part of a short-lived move to route some trains through Chicago Union Station.

On the point today is Gulf, Mobile & Ohio E7A No. 101. The track between Chicago and St. Louis was mostly a GM&O route and the Abraham Lincoln had been a GM&O passenger train.

As a point of interest, this image was made two days after the GM&O and Illinois Central merged to form the Illinois Central Gulf.

The tracks in the foreground belong to the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, which at the time of this photograph operated commuter trains to Joliet and a pair of intercity passenger trains running Chicago-Rock Island, Illinois, and Chicago-Peoria, Illinois.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Very Early Amtrak Motive Power

March 14, 2021

It took a couple of years before the locomotives that pulled early Amtrak trains could be repainted into the new passenger carrier’s livery and colors.

Therefore the motive power at Amtrak continued to wear whatever scheme it had when the passenger carrier commenced on May 1, 1971.

In the photograph above, the scene is in Milwaukee in April 1973. At the time, the trains between Chicago and St. Louis continued through to Milwaukee, alternating motive from host railroads Gulf, Mobile & Ohio, and The Milwaukee Road.

In a bit of an anomaly, the photographer caught two locomotives of the two railroads both carrying roster number 103A.

The two GM&O units are E7A units that were leased by Amtrak but never owned by it.

MKE No. 103A is an FP7A that also never was on the Amtrak roster. It was known for pulling the “Cannon Ball,” a Milwaukee Road commuter train between Milwaukee and Watertown, Wisconsin.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Warbonnets in Joliet

January 30, 2021

In the early years of Amtrak trains hosted by the Santa Fe ran, for the most part, with locomotives and passengers cars of Santa Fe heritage.

The Santa Fe has maintained its passenger fleet well and there was little need to mix in cars that Amtrak acquired from other railroads.

Shown is Santa Fe F7A No. 303 leading a train into Joliet on April 14, 1973.

Although the photographer did not indicate which train this was, we’ll take a look at a consist from December 1972 for Amtrak’s westbound Super Chief/El Capitan.

The train was assigned six Santa Fe F units and had a steam car.

All of the passenger equipment had been built for the Santa Fe. The El Capitan section had a baggage car, baggage-dormitory transition car, five Hi-Level coaches, a Hi-Level lounge car and a Hi-Level dining car.

The Super Chief section featured all single-level equipment that included two 11-bedroom sleepers, one 10-6 sleeper, a 4-4-2 sleeper, a pleasure dome lounge car, and a dining car.

The 11-bedroom sleepers were the Indian Squaw and Indian Maid. The four compartments, four bedrooms and two drawing room sleeper was Regal Vale, and the 10 roomettes and six bedrooms sleeper was Pine Lodge.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

State of the Amtrak Motive Power Art 1972

January 28, 2021

For a short period of time in the early 1970s Amtrak operated the Abraham Lincoln and Prairie State between St. Louis and Milwaukee, running through Chicago Union Station.

The trains were pulled by locomotives of The Milwaukee Road and the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio, as can be seen in this image made in Joliet, Illinois, on Oct. 13, 1972.

On the point is Milwaukee Road E9A No. 35C. A GM&O unit trails. The photographer believes this train might have been the Abraham Lincoln.

In this era the Milwaukee-St. Louis trains were shown in timetables with multiple numbers, so the northbound Abraham Lincoln would have been Nos. 326-303.

An equipment listing for that train recorded on Dec. 28, 1972, shows it to have had five cars, including coaches of Northern Pacific and Seaboard Coast Line heritage, a former Great Northern dome coach, a Union Pacific dining car and parlor-observation car Port of Seattle. The latter had been built for the Great Northern.

On that day the train had locomotives of GM&O vintage and Union Pacific heritage plus a UP B unit.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Silver Star Meet in Alexandria

December 30, 2020

It is July 7, 1973, in Alexandria, Virginia. Amtrak’s southbound Silver Star is dead on the main due to locomotive trouble.

In the foreground is its northbound counterpart, No. 82. This is still the rainbow era so some of the motive power wears Amtrak markings and some still has the liveries of a former owner.

No. 82 has E8A 238 (former Seaboard Coast Line, ex-Atlantic Coast Line), E8B 373 (former Union Pacific) and E8A 247 (former SCL, ex-Seaboard Air Line).

On No. 81 is E8A 234 (former SCL, ex-ACL), SCL E7A 557, E8A 218 (former Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac) and E9A 412 (former Union Pacific).

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Gotta Act Fast on the Prairie

October 30, 2020

It is the early years of Amtrak operation on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor.

The trains are still pulled much of the time by former Gulf, Mobile & Ohio locomotives but the array of liveries and names on the letter boards gives testimony to the mish mash of equipment that Amtrak is operating.

To the south is the headlight of the northbound Abraham Lincoln.

It is coming fast, really fast. These two images were all that the photographer could manage to get as the train blasted through Lexington, Illinois.

That is U.S. Route 66 in the background in front of the locomotive nose in the top image.

Seemingly as fast as it came, the train was gone. All that was left was the rustle of the wind, traffic noise and a memory of something that would soon be vanishing into the annals of history.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

It Made it to Amfleet

June 30, 2020

Amtrak’s E and F units are not commonly associated with having pulled Amfleet equipment but a handful of them did.

Five Amtrak E8A units were converted by Penn Central shops in Altoona, Pennsylvania, to be compatible with passenger cars operating with head end power.

No, 499, shown above in Springfield, Massachusetts, on May 3, 1977, was the first conversion to be undertaken and was completed in May 1974.

That was followed by three more conversions that year and one more conversion in August 1975.

Once the program was completed the five HEP compatible E unit were given roster numbers 495-499 but for some reason the sequence does not show the order in which the units were converted.

Like many of Amtrak’s early locomotives, No. 499 had a long history.

It was built in October 1952 for the Pennsylvania Railroad as No. 5711A. It subsequently became Penn Central No. 4311 and Amtrak renumbered it as 317.

It remained on the Amtrak roster until May 1983 when it and No. 498 were retired. The last three E8HEP locomotives, as Amtrak designated them, were retired in October 1985.

Photograph by Joe Snopek