Posts Tagged ‘ICG No. 8010’

Surprise on the Point of the Panama Limited

September 10, 2016

img083-x

Amtrak train No. 58 was late. I don’t remember how late, but it was at least a couple hours.

I had plans to ride the then-named Panama Limited to Chicago for a day trip. Truth be told, my primary desire was to ride the train.

That the train was running late was not unusual back in the late 1970s, particularly in early 1977 when a brutal winter knocked a lot of Amtrak equipment out of service.

It is arriving in Mattoon, Illinois, with Illinois Central Gulf GP 10 No. 8010 leading. Trailing are Amtrak E8A No. 445 (former Atlantic Coast Line No. 546) and Amtrak P30CH No. 719.

It is quite an eclectic consist and not just because of the ICG freight geep on the lead. The passengers cars are all Amfleet, the result of the conventional equipment being removed the previous month due to the effects of severe cold that rendered a third of the Amtrak Midwest fleet inoperable.

The new Amfleet cars were more reliable in cold weather than the steam-heated cars assigned to long-distance trains at the time. The P30 provided head-end power for the Amfleet cars.

I don’t know why the ICG geep was assigned today, but it was removed at Champaign. That suggests that the automatic train stop device on Amtrak 445 was malfunctioning. North of Champaign the ICG had automatic block signals for much of the route with centralized traffic control near and in Gilman

The assignment of Amfleet equipment to Amtrak Nos. 58 and 59 turned out to be permanent and for several months the train operated without sleeping cars until some heritage equipment could be rebuilt for HEP operation.