Posts Tagged ‘Gulf Mobile & Ohio Railroad’

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

Still in the Rainbow Era at Joliet

December 26, 2019

Gulf, Mobile & Ohio motive power is still in place on April 14, 1973, as the southbound Abraham Lincoln calls at Joliet, Illinois.

Pulling Amtrak Train No. 303 are GM&O E7A Nos. 101 and 103A, both of which were built by EMD in the middle 1940s.

The train originated in Milwaukee at 3:20 p.m. and is due into St. Louis Union Station at 10:35 p.m.

Note the mixture of equipment in Amtrak colors and the colors of their original owners.

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

One Day at Joliet in the Rainbow Era

August 13, 2019

It’s Oct. 13, 1972, at Joliet, Illinois. Amtrak is still in the “rainbow era” when locomotives and passenger cars still often had the liveries of their previous owners.

A St. Louis-bound train is making its station stop, having originated in Milwaukee in what proved to be a short-lived through service that operated through Chicago Union Station.

Shown are locomotives of the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio and Milwaukee Road along with a coach that has been repainted into Amtrak colors and markings.

The train is sitting on former GM&O rails, which at this point were now in the Illinois Central Gulf network.

Note the semaphore signals on the signal bridge ahead of the lead locomotive.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

 

Fleeting Moments of Glory

April 15, 2019

With the timetable change of Nov. 14, 1971, Amtrak sought to make a bold statement by operating two pairs of trains between Milwaukee and St. Louis via Chicago Union Station.

It was the first time an entire train was scheduled to operate through CUS.

Nos. 301 and 304, renamed from The Limited to the Prairie State and Nos. 302 and 303, which remained named the Abraham Lincoln, used tracks of the Milwaukee Road between Chicago and Milwaukee, and the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio between Chicago and St. Louis.

Amtrak also gave the trains dome cars to go along with their coaches, parlor cars and dining cars.

The operation was an anomaly in many ways. GM&O locomotives operated the entire route with Milwaukee Road motive power also assigned.

Dining car patrons received an Amtrak menu wrapped in a GM&O cover with orders written on Milwaukee Road checks.

Chefs and waiters from both railroads were assigned to dining car service.

In the view above, it is 8:41 a.m. on Oct. 15, 1972, in Joliet, Illinois, when the Prairie State makes its station stop at Union Station.

GM&O 100A is an E8m that had been built in June 1937 as E3A No. 52 for the Baltimore & Ohio and was just one of six such units built by the then-named Electro Motive Corporation, later the Electro Motive Division of General Motors.

At the time the B&O controlled The Alton Road, which operated between Chicago and St. Louis and in 1940 No. 52 was transferred to that railroad where it pulled Chicago-St. Louis passenger trains.

It became 100A in 1947 when the GM&O gained control of The Alton. It was rebuilt in March 1953 when it became an E8m.

In its early years Amtrak leased motive power from its host railroads although many of those units never made it onto the Amtrak roster, including GM&O No. 100A.

The GM&O merged with the Illinois Central to become the Illinois Central Gulf in August 1972 and No. 100A remained on the roster through August 1974. It was sold for scrap the following March.

Behind No. 100A on this day is Milwaukee Road No. 349, an E9B that did make it onto the Amtrak roster as No. 451. It was retired by Amtrak in October 1975.

The Prairie State did not remain a fixture in Amtrak timetables for very long.

On Oct. 1, 1973, Nos. 301 and 304 were assigned Turboliner equipment and the trains names were dropped.

There is still a No. 301 and 304 in the Amtrak timetable but those trains are known as Lincoln Service. Amtrak never used the name Prairie State again.

Alton Road Depot Being Razed in Alton

November 28, 2017

Demolition of the former Amtrak station in Alton, Illinois, began this week after efforts to find a nonprofit organization to buy and move the station failed.

The 89-year-old depot was once operated by the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad, but is now owned by Union Pacific, which owns the former GM&O tracks through Alton.

The station was built by the Chicago & Alton Railroad and opened in May 1928.

Kristen South, UP director of media relations, said the demolition is expected to take two weeks.

Amtrak had leased the 1,602-square-foot brick structure and parking lot until it began using the Alton Regional Multi-Modal Transportation Center on Sept. 13.

UP had said it didn’t want the depot to be used at its current location due to potential liability issues.

Preservationist Terry Sharp sought to save the station. He established a Facebook page devoted to the cause that had 418 members.

Sharp, the president of the Alton Area Landmarks Association, expressed disappointment that the station could not be saved. “I guess I will go out there and take some pictures,” he said.

The AALA included the depot in its house tour brochure in recent years in an effort to spark interest in saving it.

“I would talk to people, but no one, nothing, came up,” he said. “It was about money, and where to put it (station). There was always a circle of questions. It had to go to a not-for-profit, and it had to be moved. To move it would cost $150,000. We tried, but nothing came up. It’s too bad, it would have been nice to save it. It is going to be sad to see an old building torn down.”

In May 2013, the City of Alton signed a memorandum of agreement with the Federal Railroad Administration, Illinois State Historic Preservation Agency, Illinois Department of Transportation and Union Pacific to develop a marketing plan and attempt to help sell the building.

UP agreed to sell the station to a not-for-profit for $1 as a tax write-off provided that the buyer moved the depot at its own expense. UP also demanded that the platform and foundation be removed.

Had a group offered to take possession of the building it would have had up to 12 months to move the structure.

The city in the meantime is documenting the structure in accordance with the Illinois Historic American Building Survey Standards and Guidelines. That work will be placed in archives at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield.

“People talk about how great old train stations are that are still around, but we haven’t gotten a lot of public sentiment,” Sharp said last summer. “I was hoping this would be part of the (April 4) election, but none of the candidates brought it up. We’ve tried, I said I would try, but nothing has clicked.”

The station is located at 3400 College Avenue. Amtrak now uses a facility off Homer Adams Parkway.

Alton is served by Amtrak’s Chicago-St. Louis Lincoln Service trains and the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle.

Amtrak to Begin Using New Alton Station

September 12, 2017

Amtrak will begin using the new Alton Regional Multimodal Transportation Center on Wednesday.

The facility, which features wide platforms, ample parking, free Wi-Fi, enclosed bicycle lockers, and connections to local transit buses, was built with a combination of federal federal and local funds.

Local buses will also use the center, which is near stores, restaurants, a Hampton Inn, and a Super 8 motel.

The current Alton station is on College Avenue in a depot built by the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad.

Southbound trains will stop two minutes earlier and northbound trains two minutes later than the current published schedule. A formal dedication of the new facility has been set for Sept. 15.

Alton is served by Chicago-St. Louis Lincoln Service trains and the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle.

Bus Service Begins at New Alton Station

August 10, 2017

The new intermodal station has opened in Alton, Illinois, but no date has been set as to when Amtrak will begin using it.

The local transit system in Madison County, Illinois, began using the facility on Aug. 6 and Amtrak expects to begin stopping there within the next few weeks.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the passenger carrier is likely to begin using the new facility in September but first must inspect it and agree to a lease with the City of Alton.

The new station is located at the site of the old city golf course near Homer Adams Parkway and is about two miles northwest of the existing Amtrak station.

Amtrak currently uses the former Gulf, Mobile & Ohio depot at 3400 College Avenue. The 89-year-old station is in danger of being razed once Amtrak pulls out of it.

Union Pacific has offered to give the station away to a group that will move it from the site.

But that will cost at least $150,000 and thus far no one has offered a plan to save the station, said Terry Sharp, president of the Alton Area Landmarks Association.

“Maybe it’ll take bringing the wrecking ball right up against the building to get people interested,” Sharp said.

Alton is served by Amtrak’s Chicago-St. Louis Lincoln Service and the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle.

Among the features of the new Alton station  are lockers for bicyclists, a pay parking lot and surveillance cameras. Nearby is green space and biking and hiking trails.

City officials hope the 55-acre former golf course site will draw development of new stores, offices and housing.

The project, including associated road improvements, cost about $24 million, which includes the $3.4 million value of the land.

The American Association of Railroaders is planning an outing to mark the end of Amtrak service at the ex-GM&O station and the startup of service at the new Alton station.

“We like to do firsts and lasts related to transportation,” President Rich Eichhorst said, adding that his group’s members rode the last train from St. Louis Union Station in 1978.

Eichhorst believes the last Amtrak train from the Alton GM&O station will be a late-night run from Alton to St. Louis.

The AAR plans to ride from St. Louis to Alton or vice versa or from Alton to Carlinville or the reverse.

The AAR will will sell tickets covering a short train-trip leg and a ride back on its bus with Eichhorst providing commentary.

Tickets are expected to be $25 and limited to 40 people.

Anyone interested  should send a self-addressed stamped envelope to AAR, 9600 Tesson Ferry Road, St. Louis, Mo., 63123, and indicate preference for the last train from the old station or the first train using the new one or both.

Prospective riders should also include their telephone number in case only short notice is given regarding Amtrak’s station change.

Alton Amtrak Outings Set for April 22, 23

March 25, 2017

Two excursions are being planned by the American Association of Railroaders to celebrate the end of Amtrak service to the railroad station in Alton, Illinois, on April 22 and 23.

Passengers will board a Lincoln Service Amtrak train at the Alton depot on both days and spend two hours at a yet to be named site in Missouri for about two hours before turning to Alton late that afternoon.

Capacity is limited and passengers will receive a boxed lunch and beverage. During the trips Rich Eichhorst of the St. Louis-based non-profit educational and historical organization will provide commentary about the railroad and sights along the way.

Ticket are $29 for adults and $24 for children age 11 or younger and can be ordered from AAR, 9600 Tesson Ferry Road, St. Louis MO 63123.

All requests must include the legal name and age of each passenger; choice of travel date; home address and telephone number; and a self-addressed, stamped envelope. For more information, go to: http://www.aarstl.org.

The Alton station, located at 3400 College Ave., was built about 1928 by the Alton Road, later the Gulf Mobile & Ohio.

It is set to be replaced in late June or early July when the Alton Regional Multi-Modal Transportation Center opens.

Depot owner Union Pacific Railroad has indicated the station will be razed unless a non-profit agency takes possession of the station and move it to another location.

Alton Seeking Buyer For its Amtrak Station

January 23, 2017

Alton, Illinois, is making a push to save its existing Amtrak station, which once served the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad.

300px-Lincoln_Service_map.svgThe city has created a marketing brochure with the goal of finding a buyer for the station, which will close once the new Alton Regional Multi Modal Transportation Center opens later this year.

The current depot, located on College Avenue, will close and the city has a year to sell or demolish it.

Because the station is located next to tracks owned by Union Pacific, any buyer will need to follow guidelines established by the railroad as to what uses of the property can be made.

The new owner, though, would have the option of moving the station building to a new location.

The city is working with the Alton Area Landmarks Association in seeking a buyer for the property.

Alton is served by the Chicago-St. Louis Lincoln Service and the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle.