Posts Tagged ‘Illinois Zephyr’

Illinois Trains Making Detour in Galesburg

July 13, 2017

Amtrak’s Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg are making a 5.7 mile detour in Galesburg, Illinois, due to work on the new Main Street underpass.

As part of that project, a bridge is being built under the BNSF mainline for Main Street and tracks 2 and 3 are removed until at least noon on Friday.

The regular route for Nos. 380, 381, 382 and 383, uses Track No. 2 through the Galesburg Amtrak station, thus making a detour necessary through the Galesburg yard even it is never more than a half-mile away from the normal route.

Using an eastbound train as an example, the detour route begins at Saluda, the south end of the Galesburg yard complex, and takes the lead to the Graham Cut-off Line.

At the Graham Cut-off connection, Amtrak trains continue compass north, passing beneath the Waterman lead to the Graham Cut-off.
North of the underpass, Amtrak stays on the westernmost (compass direction) track, passing west of the hump and immediately east of the locomotive tracks at the Galesburg shops.

Amtrak trains then stay to the west, pass the Prospect Street switch under the West Third Street overpass, and turns northeast to enter the Ottumwa Subdivision mainline at the west end of A-Plant.

At that point, the trains cross over from Track 3 to Track 1 to serve the Amtrak station, which is unusual for these trains. Track 1 is currently the only open track through town on the former Chicago, Burlington & Quincy mainline.

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Macomb Leading Way in Amtrak Pilot Program

February 2, 2017

It is not every community that gets personal attention from a member of the Amtrak board of directors.

IllinoisBut then most communities served by Amtrak don’t have a former mayor on the board of directors.

At the urging of Thomas C. Carper, Macomb, Illinois, agreed to become the first city to see its Amtrak station rebuilt to comply with federal ADA standards.

Macomb is participating in a pilot program that may be extended to other stations.

A team from Amtrak inspected the depot last year and offered the city a deal. If the city would hire local companies to do the work, Amtrak would provide reimbursement.

“This pilot is the only one we’re doing,” Carper told Macomb aldermen. “What works in Macomb might be the template for other modifications. We like the idea of local construction rather than hiring one national contractor.”

Carper, who served as Macomb’s mayor between 1991 and 2003, said 511 of Amtrak’s 525 stations need work to become ADA compliant. Amtrak is responsible for the facilities of 380 of those stations.

In Macomb the work will include a new concrete walkway from the parking lot to the platform and to the depot entrances.

Also in the plans are building a sloped concrete walkway and steps to the platform and adding handrails, and then remodeling the train station interior so that entry doors and restrooms are handicapped accessible.

The Macomb city manager has recommend hiring McClure Engineering Associates to draw up construction specifications based on the Amtrak designs for a fee of $4,500.

The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy depot in Macomb was built in 1913 and has been granted historic status.

Therefore, some elements outlined in the plan cannot be altered or must be done so as to appear consistent with the historic look.

Macomb is served by the Chicago-Quincy, Illinois Carl Sandburg and Illinois Zephyr.

Extra Trains Set for Thanksgiving Travel Period

October 19, 2016

Amtrak said it will offer extra trains between Chicago and points in Illinois and Michigan during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period.

Amtrak logoIn Illinois, the additional trains will operate between Chicago and Bloomington-Normal, and Chicago and Quincy. All of these trains will operate on Wednesday, Nov. Nov. 23, and Sunday, Nov. 27.

In Michigan, extra trains will operate between Chicago and Ann Arbor on Nov. 23, 26 and 27. Extra trains will also operate between Chicago and Holland on Nov. 23 and 27.

Train No. 309 will depart Chicago at 10:30 a.m. and arrive in Bloomington-Normal at 12:58 p.m., making all intermediate stops served by Lincoln Service trains.

No. 308 will depart Bloomington-Normal at 1:15 p.m. and is scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 3:39 p.m.

Train No. 385 will depart Chicago at 11:30 a.m. and arrive in Quincy at 3:53 p.m.

No. 384 will depart Quincy at 1 p.m. and arrive in Chicago at 5:23 p.m. The Chicago-Quincy trains will operate as Carl Sandburg Extra service.

Some regularly scheduled trains will have altered schedules during the holiday period. Lincoln Service train 301 will depart Chicago at 7:30 a.m., a half-hour later than normal, on Nov. 23 and 27.

Lincoln Service train 300 will depart St. Louis on Nov. 23 and 27 at 4 a.m., a half-hour earlier than normal.

Illinois Zephyr No. 383 will depart Chicago on Nov. 23 and 27 at 6:15 p.m., which is 20 minutes later than normal.

In Michigan, the Wolverine Service Extra trains will depart Chicago at 9:30 a.m. and arrive in Ann Arbor at 3:10 p.m., operating as No. 356. Intermediate stops will be made at New Buffalo, Niles, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Jackson.

No. 359 will depart Ann Arbor at 4:05 p.m. and arrive in Chicago at 7:47 p.m., making the same intermediate stops as No. 356.

There will no change in schedules for other Wolverine Service trains between Chicago and Detroit (Pontiac).

The Pere Marquette Extra will depart Chicago at 10 a.m., operating as No. 372, and arrive in Holland at 2:11 p.m. It will make all intermediate stops also served by the regular Pere Marquette. No. 373 will depart Holland at 3:10 p.m. and arrive in Chicago at 5:27 p.m.

There will be no change in the schedule of the daily Pere Marquette.

Amtrak said that during the holiday travel period it will operate every available passenger car in its fleet.

Amtrak No. 1 on No. 380 at Highlands

September 30, 2016

amtrak-eb-illinois-zephyr-june-20-1998-highlands

There is something special about number one. Numero Uno often is used to designate the winner of something, often a sports team that won a championship.

Not many railroads have locomotives with roster numbers in the single digits. Most Amtrak locomotive roster numbers are three digits but an exception was made for the P42DC fleet, which began with No. 1

There is nothing out of the ordinary about P42DC No. 1 other than its number. Nonetheless, I was excited to see it leading the Illinois Zephyr past Highlands on the BNSF raceway in Chicago a few years ago.

Just over a year later I would see No. 1 again, this time in Portland Oregon. It would lead the Portland section of the Empire Builder eastward and I would ride behind it all the way to Chicago.

That Early P42DC Livery Look

September 15, 2016

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It only seems that Amtrak’s P42DC locomotives have worn blue and silver forever. Fact is, when the Genesis series of locomotives was introduced in the early 1990s it featured the Phase III livery.

In case you’ve forgotten what that looked like, take a look at this image of the inbound Illinois Zephyr.

It is a late spring day in Berwyn, Illinois, in 1997. I’ve just disembarked from a Metra train on the Chicago-Aurora, Illinois, raceway.

The IZ is rushing along on the center train, passing a westbound Burlington Northern & Santa Fe manifest freight. BNSF has been in operation less than a year and the BN heritage of this line is still much in evidence.

The Illinois Zephyr has its standard consist for the time with a lone P42DC on the point, three Horizon Fleet coaches and an Amfleet food service car. All of them are clad in the Phase III look. It was the way it was in the 1990s and still is today.

Chance Meeting of 2 Amtrak Trains

August 30, 2016

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Amtrak trains pass each other every day on every route, so the practice is common. It can be tricky, though, to know where two trains are going to pass on any given day.

Yes, you can determine the likely meeting places based on schedules and how the trains are operating that day. That’s easier to do on single track territory with a set number of passing sidings, but calculating a meeting point can be complicated on a double-track mainline.

Back in early August 2008 I was in Mendota, Illinois, to photograph the westbound Carl Sandburg and the eastbound Illinois Zephyr, which were scheduled into there seven minutes apart.

The Zephyr was running late and the Sandburg reached the station first. No. 381 had scarcely came to a halt when No. 380 came around the curve.

Perhaps this type of meet happens frequently in Mendota, but it was a lucky break for me.

 

Trains Canceled in Illinois due to Snow Drifts

February 2, 2015

Drifting snow prompted BNSF to close a part of its Mendota Subdivision in Illinois on Monday, which resulted in the cancellation of some Amtrak services.

Canceled were the eastbound Illinois Zephyr to Chicago from Quincy, Ill., and the westbound Carl Sandburg from Chicago to Quincy.

No alternative transportation was provided to Quincy or the intermediate stop at Macomb, Ill.

Passengers for those trains at stops between Chicago and Galesburg, Ill., were accommodated by the Southwest Chief and the California Zephyr

The evening westbound Illinois Zephyr and eastbound Carl Sandburg were still expected to operate.

BNSF Bridge Work to Force Detour of Nos. 3/4, 5/6

October 29, 2014

Due to bridge work by BNSF near Princeton, Ill., during the weekend of Nov. 15-16, the Southwest Chief and California Zephyr will be detouring over the former Santa Fe mainline route between Chicago and Galesburg.

The trains will get back on their original route via the Cameron Connection near Galesburg.

The westbound California Zephyr will operate combined with the westbound Southwest Chief and depart Chicago at 3 p.m., the scheduled departure time for the Chief.

Passengers ticketed aboard the Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg, will be transported by bus between Chicago and Galesburg. The trains will operate between Galesburg and Quincy.

 

Pets Can Ride Amtrak in Illinois Test Project

May 8, 2014

Pets can now ride Amtrak trains in Illinois as part of a pilot program being conducted in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Transportation

Dogs and cats will be permitted aboard the Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg, which both operate between Chicago and Quincy, Ill.

Animals cannot weight more than 20 pounds each, advance registration is required and there will be a $25 handling fee will be charged.

“Amtrak is supportive of accommodating pets on trains, and through direct collaboration with the Illinois Department of Transportation and a working group led by U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham of California, we are optimistic a plan can be reached to address the needs and concerns of all our passengers,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman.

The pilot will run between May 5 and Nov. 2.

Amtrak Gets New Route Through Galesburg

January 28, 2014

Some Amtrak trains are getting a new route in Galesburg, Ill., as a result of a congestion relief project on the BNSF.

The railroad has opened a third mainline to the south of the two existing mainlines. This allows freight trainss to bypass the Amtrak station.

However,  Amtrak trains to and from Quincy can no longer use the old curvy route into the station because of the new third track.

Therefore, as a part of a rebuilding of the yard in Galesburg  that added three additional mainline holding tracks, a new route was established for Amtrak’s Carl Sandburg and Illinois Zephyr trains.

Trains heading to Quincy from Chicago still stop on track No. 2, then head west and crossover to the new track No. 3.

Shortly after the crossover, the trains take a switch to the south that loops through the old roundhouse area and connects back to the original route south of the Peoria wye. Total new trackage is just over 0.5 miles.

However, work continues on the yard and it appears that there are plans to extend this track further through the yard. A check of Google Maps for Galesburg has it showing the route’s construction last summer, but not the completed track.