Posts Tagged ‘early Amtrak’

Cruising in Back in Time in Washington State

February 23, 2021

The Amtrak wayback machine has landed us in Steilacoom, Washington, on Aug. 12, 1974. We’re just in time to see E8A No. 346 leading a corridor train between Seattle and Portland, Oregon.

The photographer didn’t say which train it was but it appears to be either the Mount Rainier or the Puget Sound. Both of those trains in 1974 operated with dome coaches and offered snack and beverage service.

No. 346 was built for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy in September 1950. Amtrak would retire the unit a year later.

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

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

 

Santa Fe Story in Joliet in the Early Amtrak Years

June 19, 2020

It is Oct. 13, 1971, and Amtrak’s Texas Chief is departing Joliet, Illinois, which was the first stop on its trek from Chicago to Houston.

Notes taken by the photographer show that the all Santa Fe motive power consist on this day included ATSF 314, 316B, 314A, 316A, and 309.

The Texas Chief, like its counterpart that used these says rails, the Super Chief to Los Angeles, had a mostly all Santa Fe equipment.

They also still had Santa Fe operating and service employees.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Odd Running Mates

May 7, 2020

Penn Central E8A 4061 and former Gulf Mobile & Ohio E7A No. 101 team up to lead an Amtrak train headed for St. Louis out of Joliet Union Station on April 20, 1973. To the right is an ex-GM&O Alco RS1.

The image was made during Amtrak’s rainbow era when sights such as this were not unusual although they might have been a couple year earlier.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

When IC Motive Power Still Worked for Amtrak

May 6, 2020

Illinois Central passenger locomotives did not work for Amtrak for very long.

Although IC E units continued to pull Amtrak trains in the Chicago-Carbondale-New Orleans corridor for the three years, they were soon replaced with units that had been owned by other railroads.

That changeover is somewhat visible in this image that was made at Markham Yard on the Illinois Central Gulf on Oct. 15, 1972.

Shown are IC E8A No. 4027, IC E8A No. 4027, Union Pacific E9B No. 970 and IC E8B No. 4105.

The UP B unit would continue to be used by Amtrak as a heater car and carried roster numbers 468, 1919 and 669.

IC Nos. 4027 and 4105 were retired after their Amtrak service and scrapped. IC 4023 would later be sold to New Jersey Transit and was also used by MARC.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Santa Fe Power on an Amtrak Train

October 14, 2019

Santa Fe F45 No. 5922 leads an Amtrak train into the Joliet Union Station in 1973.

The photographer said the image was made sometime between April and June 1973.

The photo was made on high speed Ektachrome color slide film push-processed to ASA 400 (now ISO 400) which was about the top ASA for slide film in 1973. “This let me take an action photo in cloudy weather,” he said.

No. 5922 was built by EMD in June 1968 for freight service and was a freight version of the Santa Fe passenger FP45.

Santa Fe routinely assigned F45s to passenger service, usually positioning them behind the red and silver FP45s.

No. 5922 was built as No. 1922 and would later have roster number 5972.

It was common in the early Amtrak years for Santa Fe motive to pull Amtrak’s Super Chief and Texas Chief.

Initially, F units were assigned to Amtrak service, but the F45s began spelling the ancient and increasingly unreliable F units in early 1973. An an F7B provided steam for heating and cooling.

But that practice began to end shortly after this photograph was made. In late June 1973 the Santa Fe received the first of Amtrak’s SDP40F locomotives.

In another year Santa Fe management would demand Amtrak cease use of former Santa Fe passenger train names and the Super Chief became the Southwest Limited while the Texas Chief became the Lone Star.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Short Lived Sight on Amtrak

September 12, 2019

In the first couple of years of Amtrak the locomotives that pulled the trains were typically adorned in the liveries of the host railroad.

By 1973 this had become a less common sight as Amtrak purchased and repainted locomotives from its host railroads that it had acquired or leased.

The Chicago-St. Louis route used Gulf, Mobile & Ohio locomotives in Amtrak’s first two years.

The hour was getting late for GM&O E7 No. 103A to work on Amtrak when this image was made at Joliet, Illinois, on Oct. 13, 1972.

Soon the GM&O units would be gone from their Amtrak assignments.

Although it served Amtrak, No. 103A was never officially on the Amtrak motive power roster except as a leased unit.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Amtrak First Day Timetables

December 6, 2016

009

One of the many forgotten footnotes from Amtrak’s early years is how on May 1, 1971, many of Amtrak’s contract railroads published timetables just as they had done for decades.

But what was different is that these folders had notices on the cover that the trains shown were being operated under contract for the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, which is Amtrak’s formal name.

I have in my collection 10 timetables issued by the following contract railroads on May 1, 1971: Burlington Northern; Illinois Central; Penn Central; Chesapeake & Ohio; Seaboard Coast Line; Southern Pacific; Union Pacific; Louisville & Nashville; and Richmond, Frederickburg & Potomac.

I do not have a first day timetable published by the Santa Fe, although I do have schedules/travel guides published by the AT&SF for Amtrak trains that the Santa Fe operated. Likewise, I do not have a first day timetable published by Gulf, Mobile & Ohio, although I have one dated Sept. 27, 1971.

I’ve never seen an Amtrak timetable published by Missouri Pacific even though MoPac handled the St. Louis-Kansas City leg of a New York-Kansas City train.

Some railroads that joined Amtrak did not host any trains and had no need to publish a timetable. These included the Baltimore & Ohio, Chicago & North Western, Central of Georgia, Delaware & Hudson, Grand Trunk Western, Norfolk & Western, and Northwestern Pacific.

The railroad-published Amtrak timetables generally used the same design and style as those published by those roads in the immediate years before Amtrak. But some were bare bones products that did little more than show timetables and were printed on newsprint.

Some railroads published a timetable on May 1 and that was it. But other railroads, IC and PC being notable examples, continued to publish their own Amtrak timetables well into 1972.

Shown above is a portion of my collection of first day Amtrak timetables. These railroad published timetables might be found at railroad flea markets and shows oriented toward timetable collecting, but I’ve seen few of them at general railroad collectible shows.

The railroads probably did not publish that many of these timetables and most of those printed have long since been discarded.

Nonetheless, these folders are among the most prizes pieces in my collection of Amtrak memorabilia. You can click on the image to enlarge it.