Posts Tagged ‘Illinois Central Gulf’

Looking Down on an F40 Cab

March 17, 2020

Amtrak’s northbound Shawnee has arrived in Mattoon, Illinois, for its early evening station stop. Most of the boarding passengers are traveling to Chicago.

I’m standing on the bridge that once carried the tracks of the New York Central’s St. Louis line over the Chicago-New Orleans mainline of the Illinois Central.

It is July 1983 and the previous spring workers had removed the former NYC tracks through Mattoon.

Also at the time the Shawnee used F40PH locomotives and the engineers were employees of the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad.

The hogger is awaiting a highball to proceed to the next station stop, which is Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. He’ll got off duty there and another crew will take Train No. 392 into Chicago.

Linking the Seventies With Today

January 29, 2019

There is much that has changed and much that has remained the same in this view of the southbound Shawnee leaving Mattoon, Illinois, during the summer of 1978.

Train No. 391 now operates under the name Saluki on approximately the same schedule that the Shawnee had. That means it is scheduled to depart Mattoon in late morning.

The tracks the Shawnee is using were at the time this image was made owned by Illinois Central Gulf, but today they are in the Canadian National system. Of course the heritage of this line is Illinois Central.

There are still two main tracks here but the tracks at the far left and far right are long gone. The mainline track to the left is now considered a siding.

Those tracks are relics of another era when the IC has branch line passenger service on its line between Peoria and Evansville, Indiana, that operated via Decatur and Mattoon.

Those trains were scheduled to operate between Mattoon and Evansville, and between Mattoon and Peoria. The Evansville passenger service ended in August 1939 while the Peoria passenger service was discontinued in March 1940. Somehow the tracks used by those trains at the Mattoon station survived for several more decades before being removed.

The bridge in the distance carries Charleston Avenue (U.S. Route 45 and Illinois routes 16 and 121) over the tracks. It has since been replaced.

Back in the late 1970s, the standard consist for the Shawnee was two Amfleet coaches and an Amcafe.

Amtrak still uses Amfleet equipment on Midwest corridor trains, but No. 391 today is a mixture of Amfleet and Horizon fleet cars.

Leading No. 391 is an F40PH. Amtrak years ago ceased using F40s to power its trains although a few remain on the roster as cab cars.

The equipment seen here will arrive in Carbondale, Illinois, in early to mid afternoon and be returned to return tonight to Chicago as train No. 392.

For those interested in such things, this photograph was made with Kodak Tri-x black and white negative film and scanned from the negative.

One Day at High Noon in Springfield, Illinois

December 15, 2016
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The technical quality of this image isn’t great but it is one of the few photographs that I have of an SDP40F taken trackside leading a train.

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Looking south from the fireman’s side of Amtrak SPD40F No. 613 in Springfield, Illinois.

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The control stand of an Amtrak SDP40F.

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Engineer Dean Elliot awaits a highball to depart Springfield, Illinois, with Amtrak train No. 21 in June 1977.

It is almost high noon in June 1977 in Springfield, Illinois. I’m standing near the Illinois Central Gulf tracks (former Gulf, Mobile & Ohio) tracks awaiting the arrival of Amtrak’s westbound Inter-American¬†from Chicago to Laredo, Texas.

I don’t recall if No. 21 was late or on time, but even if the former, it was not excessively tardy.

Leading No. 21 was SDP40F No. 613. I made a single photograph of it sitting in the station with its train.

The image isn’t that good, a product of harsh light, improper exposure and the fact that I scanned it from a color negative that is almost 40 years old.

I wanted to photograph the Inter-American because it still ran with SDP40F locomotives and those have always been a favorite of mine.

The engineer of the train spotted me and waved. On impulse I asked him if I could come up into the cab.

He said “yes” and up I went and got the other three images ¬†you see with this post.

I would later learn that the engineer was Dean Elliot and that he is now deceased. He was a railroader’s railroader and I can only imagine the stories he would have had to tell about life on the road.

But there was no time for that. I only had enough time to grab a few shots before the conductor gave No. 21 a highball to leave Springfield. I thanked the crew and climbed down.

And off they went to St. Louis where a Missouri Pacific crew would take over to pilot the Inter-American on its continuing journey to Laredo.

Today, Nos. 21 and 22 are named the Texas Eagle and operate between Chicago and San Antonio.

Surprise on the Point of the Panama Limited

September 10, 2016

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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.