Posts Tagged ‘Joliet Illinois’

Hail to the One Summer Season Chief

August 21, 2022

It is Aug. 12, 1972, in Joliet, Illinois, and Amtrak’s Chicago-Los Angeles Chief is making its station stop. The Chief was a summer season only train that operated for just three months.

It operated on a 40-hour schedule and departed Chicago Union station at 9 a.m. Its eastbound counterpart departed Los Angeles at 1 p.m. By comparison the departure times of the Super Chief/El Capitan that summer were 6:30 p.m. from Chicago and 7:30 p.m. from Los Angeles.

No. 19 made its first westbound trip on June 11 with the first eastbound trip of No. 20 leaving Los Angeles two days later.

Amtrak created the Chief to alleviate crowding aboard the Super Chief/El Capitan. The combined capacity of the Chief and Super Chief/El Capitan exceeded what Amtrak offered on the route in summer 1971.

The westbound Chief carried New York-Los Angeles a through coach and sleeper conveyed between New York and Kansas City by the National Limited.

Host railroad Santa Fe objected to the creation of the Chief, saying that operating a second section of the Super Chief would be more economical and would take advantage of the Super Chief’s reputation and more convenient schedule.

Santa Fe had operated its own Chicago-Los Angeles Chief for several decades before its discontinuance in May 1968.

Although patronage of the Chief and Super Chief/El Capitan collectively exceeded what Amtrak handled on the Chicago-Los Angeles route in summer 1971, it was still disappointing.

Nos. 19 and 20 began their final trips on Sept. 10. This would be the only time in Amtrak history outside the New York-Miami route when two long-distance trains operated end point to end point over the same route.

Discontinuance of the Chief also marked the end of the New York-Los Angeles through coaches. A through sleeper between the two points continued to operate through August 1977.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Double Dose of the Rock

May 5, 2022

It is 1972, the first full year of Amtrak operation. But these are not Amtrak trains. They are trains of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, which elected not to join Amtrak. Executives of the financially-stressed Rock reasoned that it was less expensive to stay out of Amtrak than to join.

So the Rock Island had to operate its two passenger trains, the Peoria Rocket and the Quad City Rocket for a few more years. The State of Illinois would pay the Rock Island some money to underwrite the trains, which tended not to be well patronized.

The top image was made on Oct. 14, 1972, while the bottom image was made on Aug. 11, 1972. The E8A locomotives still look clean and somewhat well maintained. But that would change.

Both photographs were made in Joliet, Illinois, which also was a stop for Amtrak trains to St. Louis, Los Angeles and Houston.

The photographer did not record which of the Rockets these trains were.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Amtrak Savior

April 14, 2022

The F40PH has been described as the locomotive that saved Amtrak. The passenger carrier was able to subsist on E and F units for a few years. The SDP40F was expected to become the mainstay of the long-distance fleet, which it was for a few years.

When the F40 was on the drawing board it was seen as a corridor locomotive that would pull the new Amfleet equipment. That did happen, but the F40’s mission expanded as Amtrak gave up on the SDP40F and traded in many of them for orders of new F40s.

Shown above is F40PHR 259 in Joliet, Illinois, on March 31, 1978. The 259 was built in December 1977 with the “R” its model designation indicated that an SDP40F was traded in for it. In this case that was SDP40F No. 591.

The 259 would later be acquired by the Panama Canal Railways in 2001.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Saturday Memory: Inter-American in Joliet

April 2, 2022

It is March 1977 in Joliet, Illinois. Amtrak’s southbound Inter-American is in the station making its first scheduled stop after departing Joliet, Illinois.

At the time this image was made Nos. 21 and 22 operated daily between Chicago and Fort Worth, Texas, and tri-weekly south of there to Laredo, Texas.

The Inter-American began in 1973 as a tri-weekly train between Fort Worth and Laredo. It’s northern terminus was moved to St. Louis on March 13, 1974, and to Chicago on Oct. 31, 1976.

The severe winter of 1977 resulted in the Inter-American being canceled south of St. Louis between mid-January and early February.

The consist seen above of steam-heated cars pulled by an SDP40F locomotive would remain standard during the first half of 1977. By August, though, Nos. 21 and 22 would have F40PH locomotives on the point.

The equipment changed again on Aug. 8, 1977, when the Inter-American was given an Amfleet consist.

The Inter-American was renamed the Eagle on Oct. 1, 1981. That same day the train received Superliner equipment and its Houston and Laredo sections were discontinued, thus making it a Chicago-San Antonio train.

Nos. 21 and 22 were renamed the Texas Eagle on Nov. 14, 1988, when it also regained a Houston section., which diverged at Dallas. The Houston section was discontinued on Sept. 10, 1995.

In the photo above, a portion of Joliet Union Station can be seen above the train.

Saturday Memory: Grungy April Day in Joliet

March 19, 2022

It is a grungy April 20, 1973, day in Joliet, Illinois. The southbound Abraham Lincoln has just departed Union Station en route to St. Louis.

At the time, the Chicago-St. Louis trains originated in Milwaukee and ran through Chicago Union Station.

The train will use a former Gulf, Mobile & Ohio route and GM&O motive power was common in the early Amtrak years.

On the point today, though, is former Penn Central E8A No. 4061 — built for the New York Central in April 1952 — and ex-GM&O E7A 101.

The Amtrak train is about to pass an ex-GM&O Alco RS-1, which is by the signal bridge south of the station.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Saturday Memory: This is What Pulled Amtrak’s Abraham Lincoln in the early 1970s

March 12, 2022

It is October 1972 in Joliet, Illinois. Amtrak’s St. Louis-bound Abraham Lincoln has completed its station work and it headed out of town. On Oct. 13, the power included Milwaukee Road 35C and Gulf, Mobile & Ohio 103A. Two days later, the 103A is on the point. This was was one of the few E7A locomotives leased by Amtrak.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Saturday Memory: It Still Looked Like the Santa Fe Era in Joliet in 1973

February 19, 2022

With passenger trains of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific; Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe; and the Gulf Mobile & Ohio, Joliet Union Station was a great place to watch passenger trains. Of those three carriers the Santa Fe has the most and, arguably, the best passenger service in the years before Amtrak.

The coming of Amtrak reduced the Santa Fe passenger parade through Joliet to just two trains, the Chicago-Los Angeles Super Chief/El Capitan and the Chicago-Houston Texas Chief.

For a while these trains continued to operate with Santa Fe equipment pulled by Santa Fe F units.

This series of images above was made in Joliet in October 1973. By now the ex-Santa Fe motive power is living on borrowed time and, in fact, Amtrak has already begun assigning news SD40F locomotives to its trains operating on the Santa Fe.

Hence what we have here is the waning days of an era. The Santa Fe warbonnets still look proud and flashy although faded.

Likewise friction between Amtrak and Santa Fe has developed and in less than a year the railroad will revoke Amtrak’s permisson to use the Chief names.

The Texas Chief would become the Lone Star and be discontinued in 1979. The Super Chief would become the Southwest Limited and, later, the Southwest Chief. Trains 3 and 4 no longer operate on their daily trek to and from Los Angeles via Joliet.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Saturday Memory: Lot of Penn Central Power

February 5, 2022

In Amtrak’s early years locomotives still wearing the liveries and markings of their former owners dominated the motive power consists of the passenger carrier’s trains.

But some the motive power of some of Amtrak’s host railroads was seen more frequently than those of others, particularly when it came to pulling trains on routes where those locomotives were not seen before Amtrak.

Penn Central motive power dominated former PC passenger routes and could sometimes be seen on the routes of other carriers.

Such was the case for awhile on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor, whose heritage was Gulf, Mobile & Ohio.

Some GM&O units helped pull Amtrak trains in that corridor but it would be unusual to see GM&O motive power used on the trains that didn’t use the Chicago-St. Louis route.

One notable exception was the Milwaukee Road between Chicago and Milwaukee during the short time when trains operated between Milwaukee and St. Louis.

In the photograph above, it is a grubby day in Joliet, Illinois, April 20, 1973.

Former PC E8A No. 4061 — a former New York Central unit built in April 1952 — and ex-GM&O E7A 101 have teamed up to wheel the St. Louis-bound Abraham Lincoln. The photographer noted that this was as far back as he could get using his 50 mm lens.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Now Arriving in Joliet, the Ann Rutledge

February 3, 2022

It is train time in Joliet, Illinois, on Oct. 3, 1981. Now arriving is the southbound Ann Rutledge bound for Kansas City, Missouri, from Chicago. At the time, this train was the first of the day from Chicago to St. Louis with its St. Louis-Kansas City leg being funded by the State of Missouri.

The consist is typical for an early 1980s Midwest corridor train with its four-car Amfleet consist pulled by an F40PH. One of the cars provided food service.

At the time, Amtrak service between Chicago and St. Louis was three roundtrips, two of which extended beyond St. Louis. Aside from the Ann Rutledge to Kansas City the Eagle operated to San Antonio, Texas, although only three days a week.

The third roundtrip between Chicago and St. Louis train was the State House, which the State of Illinois funded.

Saturday Memory: Amtrak’s Super Chief in Joliet

January 29, 2022

Amtrak only used the names Super Chief and El Capitan for about three years. The Santa Fe revoked permission to use the names because officials at that railroad were displeased with the quality or lack thereof of service Amtrak provided on its Chicago-Los Angeles train.

Nos. 3 and 4 became the Southwest Limited and, later, the Southwest Chief, a name still in use today.

All of that was in the future on Aug. 12, 1972, as the Super Chief/El Capitan arrived at Joliet Union Station. Historically, the Super Chief name applied to the first class section of the train while El Capitan was a name given to the coach section.

Under Santa Fe operation, each section had its own dining and lounge cars with the Super Chief known for its Turquoise Room.

Until the arrival of new SDP40F locomotives in June 1973, the motive power on the Chicago-Los Angeles route was Santa Fe passenger units. Shown on this day are ATSF 314C, 312B, 312C, 320A, and 303B.

Photograph by Robert Farkas