Posts Tagged ‘Milwaukee Road motive power’

Very Early Amtrak Motive Power

March 14, 2021

It took a couple of years before the locomotives that pulled early Amtrak trains could be repainted into the new passenger carrier’s livery and colors.

Therefore the motive power at Amtrak continued to wear whatever scheme it had when the passenger carrier commenced on May 1, 1971.

In the photograph above, the scene is in Milwaukee in April 1973. At the time, the trains between Chicago and St. Louis continued through to Milwaukee, alternating motive from host railroads Gulf, Mobile & Ohio, and The Milwaukee Road.

In a bit of an anomaly, the photographer caught two locomotives of the two railroads both carrying roster number 103A.

The two GM&O units are E7A units that were leased by Amtrak but never owned by it.

MKE No. 103A is an FP7A that also never was on the Amtrak roster. It was known for pulling the “Cannon Ball,” a Milwaukee Road commuter train between Milwaukee and Watertown, Wisconsin.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

The ‘Abe’ In Joliet Once Upon a Time

April 25, 2019

The Abraham Lincoln was one of the top passenger trains operated between Chicago and St. Louis by the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio before the coming of Amtrak in 1971.

The new passenger carrier kept the Abe and another GM&O running mate, The Limited, when it began operations on May 1, 1971.

The Limited name, which had been shorted years earlier from The Alton Limited when the train was operated by the Alton Railroad, vanished on Nov. 14, 1971, when Amtrak began operating its Chicago-St. Louis trains between Milwaukee and St. Louis.

But the Abraham Lincoln name stayed, probably because it was well suited for a train whose route was primarily within the Land of Lincoln as Illinois as long called itself.

The photo above was made at Joliet, Illinois, on Aug. 11, 1972, and shows former Milwaukee Road 31A and 31B. Note the “rainbow era” consist that includes Milwaukee Road and Great Norther cars still wearing their original colors.

The Abraham Lincoln name vanished from Amtrak timetables on Oct. 1, 1973, when RTG Turboliner equipment was assigned to the Chicago-St. Louis trains.

The Abe name returned on Oct. 26, 1975, when conventional equipment replaced the Turboliner equipment on Nos. 302 and 303.

The Abraham Lincoln became the Ann Rutledge two years later. The GM&O had had a train named Ann Rutledge at one time. Ann is thought to have been a love interest of Lincoln at one time.

Although Amtrak had never again had a train named Abraham Lincoln, it did rename its Chicago-St. Louis trains Lincoln Service in 2006 so the spirit of the name continues to live on.

Fleeting Moments of Glory

April 15, 2019

With the timetable change of Nov. 14, 1971, Amtrak sought to make a bold statement by operating two pairs of trains between Milwaukee and St. Louis via Chicago Union Station.

It was the first time an entire train was scheduled to operate through CUS.

Nos. 301 and 304, renamed from The Limited to the Prairie State and Nos. 302 and 303, which remained named the Abraham Lincoln, used tracks of the Milwaukee Road between Chicago and Milwaukee, and the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio between Chicago and St. Louis.

Amtrak also gave the trains dome cars to go along with their coaches, parlor cars and dining cars.

The operation was an anomaly in many ways. GM&O locomotives operated the entire route with Milwaukee Road motive power also assigned.

Dining car patrons received an Amtrak menu wrapped in a GM&O cover with orders written on Milwaukee Road checks.

Chefs and waiters from both railroads were assigned to dining car service.

In the view above, it is 8:41 a.m. on Oct. 15, 1972, in Joliet, Illinois, when the Prairie State makes its station stop at Union Station.

GM&O 100A is an E8m that had been built in June 1937 as E3A No. 52 for the Baltimore & Ohio and was just one of six such units built by the then-named Electro Motive Corporation, later the Electro Motive Division of General Motors.

At the time the B&O controlled The Alton Road, which operated between Chicago and St. Louis and in 1940 No. 52 was transferred to that railroad where it pulled Chicago-St. Louis passenger trains.

It became 100A in 1947 when the GM&O gained control of The Alton. It was rebuilt in March 1953 when it became an E8m.

In its early years Amtrak leased motive power from its host railroads although many of those units never made it onto the Amtrak roster, including GM&O No. 100A.

The GM&O merged with the Illinois Central to become the Illinois Central Gulf in August 1972 and No. 100A remained on the roster through August 1974. It was sold for scrap the following March.

Behind No. 100A on this day is Milwaukee Road No. 349, an E9B that did make it onto the Amtrak roster as No. 451. It was retired by Amtrak in October 1975.

The Prairie State did not remain a fixture in Amtrak timetables for very long.

On Oct. 1, 1973, Nos. 301 and 304 were assigned Turboliner equipment and the trains names were dropped.

There is still a No. 301 and 304 in the Amtrak timetable but those trains are known as Lincoln Service. Amtrak never used the name Prairie State again.