Posts Tagged ‘Illinois Amtrak trains’

Horizon Cars Almost to the Horizon

May 27, 2021

Amtrak’s northbound Illini has finished its station work in Centralia, Illinois, and is headed toward its next station stop in Effingham. Train 392 originated in Carbondale and will end its journey at Chicago Union Station later this evening.

The train has a typical consist for Midwest corridor service of Horizon Fleet coaches along with one lone Amfleet food service car tucked in behind the P42DC locomotive pulling the train.

The image was made on Aug. 4, 2012.

Macomb Approves Contract for Station Work

March 22, 2017

The City of Macomb, Illinois, has agreed to a sublease and reimbursement agreement with Amtrak for handicapped accessibility improvements at the Macomb depot. The city council has authorized solicitation of construction bids.

In response to a question from an alderman as to why a $4,500 design contract was necessary if Amtrak had provided construction specifications, a city official said that the federal plans were too detailed for local work.

“This is a pilot project to see if costs can be reduced,” said a representative of the consulting firm doing the work. “The front-end documents are very complicated and geared toward projects in large cities.”

Macomb Mayor Mike Inman said that former mayor and current Amtrak board member Tom Carper sold the passenger carrier on Macomb as the pilot project site with the idea to reduce costs.

“He knew we could probably simplify the process,” Inman said.

NB CONO Operating 4 Hours Later untill April 1

March 9, 2017

The northbound City of New Orleans is being rescheduled to operate four hours later between March 6 and April 1 due to Canadian National track work.

No. 58 will during that time frame depart from New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal at 5:45 p.m., and operate four hours later at all stations from New Orleans to Carbondale, Illinois.

North of Cardonable, No. 58 will operate on the schedule of No. 390, the northbound Saluki, and make all station stops served by No. 390.

That means that No. 58 will be stopping in Illinois at DuQuoin, Rantoul and Gillman, stations that it normally does not serve.

In order to provide three daily trains from Carbondale to Chicago, Amtrak will operate an extra train, No. 1158.

Passengers who hold tickets for travel on No. 58 between March 6 and April 1 will instead travel on No. 1158.

That train will operate on the schedule of No. 58 and serve all of its stations. It will use the equipment normally assigned to No. 390.

The northbound schedule for Train 392 (Illini) and the southbound schedules for Trains 59 (City of New Orleans), 391 (Saluki) and 393 (Illini) are unchanged for this period.

Unusual Corridor Train Double Header

February 7, 2017

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Virtually every Amtrak Midwest corridor train I’ve ever seen was being pulled by one locomotive. In some corridors Amtrak may have a locomotive on each end of the train to avoid the need to turn the train at a terminus point.

But only once have I seen a corridor train with two locomotives on the point.

Shown above is the northbound Illini at Pesotum, Illinois, in August 2012 with a pair of P42DCs leading. I can’t say if both units are online or why on this particular day two units were assigned.

I had seen this equipment set earlier in the day when it went south with the Saluki bound for Carbondale, Illinois.

So I planned to make an image of that equipment set when it returned to Chicago with the Illini.

Illinois Amtrak Ridership Fell in FY 2016

January 12, 2017

Amtrak ridership in Illinois fell by 3.5 percent in fiscal year 2016. Recent figures released by state transportation officials show that more than 4.6 million rode on Amtrak trains in the state.

IllinoisNot surprisingly, Chicago topped the list of the busiest Amtrak stations in Illinois.

Most of the cities on that list are college towns. Behind Chicago the busiest Amtrak stations were Normal-Bloomington, Springfield, Champaign-Urbana, Carbondale, Galesburg and Macomb.

All of those cities also have multiple Amtrak frequencies per day.

Systemwide, Amtrak carried more than 31 million people in FY 2016, an increase of 2 percent over the previous year.

The National Limited Takes a Detour

December 19, 2016

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The westbound National Limited arrives in the station at Mattoon, Ilinois, in May 1977 on a detour move. The train is using the former New York Central route to St. Louis due to track work on its regular route over the former Pennsylvania Railroad route via Effingham, Illinois.

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The National Limited handled mail from New York to Los Angeles that was interchanged to the Southwest Limited in Kansas City. Note that the former NYC passenger platform is still in place at right nine years after the last NYC passenger train here was discontinued.

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The Amtrak conductor and two other crew members wait in the vestibule of a coach as the eastbound National Limited arrives in Mattoon, Illinois, in May 1977 on a detour move.

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The eastbound National Limited departs from Mattoon, Illinois, on former New York Central rails. It will regain its regular route in Terre Haute, Indiana. A portion of the former NYC passenger station is visible at right.

It was not unusual for Amtrak’s National Limited to detour between Terre Haute, Indiana, and St. Louis.

The scheduled route was via the former Pennsylvania Railroad via Effingham, Illlinois, but the Penn Central dispatcher had the option of running the train over the ex-New York Central route through Mattoon, Illinois.

After Conrail took over Penn Central in 1976, it began rebuilding the ex-Pennsy route used by Amtrak Nos. 30 and 31.

In late April 1977, the National Limited was rescheduled to operate during the afternoon hours between St. Louis and Effingham. That also coincided with the track gang hours.

So, for a good part of May 1977, Nos. 30 and 31 detoured via the ex-NYC route, making the Effingham stop at the former NYC passenger platform in Mattoon

The last NYC passenger train through Mattoon had been discontinued in March 1968, but the platform was still in place on the south side of the tracks.

I was a young reporter for the Mattoon Journal Gazette and I gave myself an assignment one afternoon to cover the detour of the National Limited.

I went down to the tracks, interviewed waiting passengers, and made photographs of both trains using Kodak Tri-X film.

Much has changed since that May 1977 day. The National Limited was discontinued on Oct. 1, 1979, and in March 1982, Conrail abandoned the former NYC tracks through Mattoon. The rails were picked up a year later.

The former NYC station has since been razed. The platforms remained in place for several years after the tracks were pulled up, but were eventually taken out in the early 2000s to make way for a parking lot for the YMCA.

Last Hurrah for the Prairie Marksman

December 11, 2016

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If you remember Amtrak’s Prairie Marksman you are either an old guy or really know your Amtrak history.

The Chicago-East Peoria, Illinois, train operated for just two years with funding from the State of Illinois.

Low ridership and a state budget crunch would lead to the train being discontinued in early October 1981. The state had considered Nos. 311 and 312 to be experimental.

I rode the last westbound trip to East Peoria on Oct. 3, 1981. For the final trips, Amtrak assigned a Heritage fleet coach which was given a Prairie Marksman drum head. This image was made at Chicago Union Station before the train departed.

The Prairie Marksman name was used for a Toledo, Peoria & Western business car and for a freight rain. The TP&W once used the slogan “The Route of the Prairie Marksman,” but I found no evidence in a search of the Official Guide of the Railways that the TP&W had a passenger train of that name.

An F40PH Triple Play in Naperville

December 1, 2016

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During the F40PH era I often would see two of those units working together to get an Amtrak train over the road.

But I only saw an Amtrak F40 triple header once. That occurred on September 1, 1996, in Naperville, Illinois, on the famed Burlington raceway.

This brace of F40s is leading train No. 5, the westbound California Zephyr.

I’ve seen photographs of Nos. 5 and 6 with three F40s, which I presume was the practice to help the train get through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

Naperville is a station stop for the California Zephyr, the first after leaving Chicago Union Station.

No One Boarding the Illini in Homewood

November 25, 2016

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An Amtrak crew member is picking up the step box and will soon board the northbound Illini at Homewood, Illinois, as it departs for its final stop at Chicago Union Station. The date is Aug. 31, 1996.

Amtrak does not carry passengers from Homewood to Chicago except when they are connecting there with other Amtrak trains.

Homewood is shown as a discharge only station for the northbound Illini.

Some passengers who disembarked here are still lingering on the platform before walking down a stairway to a tunnel that leads to the station.

Northbook Raises Concerns on Hiawatha Expansion

November 17, 2016

Northbook has joined Glenview, Lake Forest, Bannockburn and Deerfield in opposing an environmental assessment that is the first step toward expansion of Chicago-Milwaukee Amtrak service.

Hiawatha 2The Northbook Village Board passed a resolution 5-0 protesting the study’s findings. The sticking point for the Illinois communities in suburban Chicago is the proposal to add a passing siding to the line so that Canadian Pacific freight trains could allow Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service trains or Metra commuter trains to pass.

Amtrak and the departments of transportation of Illinois and Wisconsin are eyeing an increase in service from seven to 10 roundtrips a day.

Northbrook Village President Sandy Frum isn’t adamantly opposed to the project, but expressed concern about idling trains and blocked fire truck routes.

Northbrook officials said they want more information about the proposed siding. Frum said she wanted to know how much traffic disruption erecting a new bridge would require.