Illinois Central Through Passenger Service In Color by Greg Stout
Illinois Central Through Passenger Service In Color by Greg Stout
Illinois Central Through Passenger Service In Color by Greg Stout
Illinois Central Through Passenger Service In Color by Greg Stout
Illinois Central Through Passenger Service In Color by Greg Stout
Illinois Central Through Passenger Service In Color by Greg Stout

Illinois Central Through Passenger Service In Color by Greg Stout

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Illinois Central Through Passenger Service In Color by Greg Stout
Illinois Central Through Passenger Service In Color by Greg Stout
Hard Cover  Morning SUn Books
128 pages
Copyright 2016
The train immortalized in the lyrics penned by Chicago-born songwriter Steve Goodman (1948-1984) in 1970 first entered service on April 27, 1947, when the Illinois Central Railroad introduced it as a daylight all-coach streamlined counterpart to the company's showcase overnight train, the all-Pullman PANAMA LIMITED. From then until 1971, when IC's passenger operations were taken over by Amtrak, the PANAMA and the CITY OF NEW ORLEANS were two of the best known, best loved, and best maintained trains in the country.
The Illinois Central Railroad was chartered by the State General Assembly on February 10,1851, and by 1856, when the original "Charter Line" was completed, it was the longest railroad in the world, stretching the length of Illinois from Galena in the far northwest corner, to Cairo, on the Ohio River in the southernmost part of the state. Not long after the original line was completed, a branch line was constructed from Centralia, Illinois (named for the railroad), to the growing metropolis of Chicago. In 1867 IC lines were extended across Iowa, reaching Sioux City by 1870. This was followed by the acquisition and subsequent expansion of several smaller railroads south of the Ohio River, which, along with trackage-rights agreements, took the IC into New Orleans, Birmingham and Louisville. In 1899 a bridge across the Ohio connected the IC's northern and southern lines into a unified property. A line was also built connecting points in Mississippi with Shreveport, Louisiana. Access to St. Louis was later gained in 1904, again via a combination of trackage rights and acquisitions of various short lines.
From its completion, the Chicago-Memphis-New Orleans route (eventually dubbed the "Main Line of Mid-America") functioned as the main stem of the Illinois Central, serving as the principal rail artery between the Great Lakes, the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico. IC's flagship passenger train on the route was named, appropriately enough, the CHICAGO & NEW ORLEANS LIMITED. This was to change, however, in 1911. To celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal, which at the time was regarded as the greatest engineering achievement in American history, Trains #3-4 were rechristened the PANAMA LIMITED. The new name would endure for 60 more years on the Illinois Central and even for a few years after that following the takeover of the IC's passenger services by Amtrak.
In November 1916 the already deluxe PANAMA was upgraded to become an all-Pullman train, operating on a 23 hour schedule. However, even a train as well-regarded as this was not immune to the Great Depression and the attendant decline in first-class patronage, and so on May 28, 1932, the PANAMA was temporarily discontinued. It returned in December 1934, now air-conditioned and on an 18-hour carding. The next upgrade took place in May 1942 when the PANAMA was reborn as a diesel-powered streamliner. That the re-equipping took place at all was remarkable in itself as the United States had been involved in World War Il for six months and the War Production Board had curtailed construction of new passenger cars as a move to redirect scarce resources to the war effort. However, as the train was near completion at the time, and because the additional capacity was deemed essential to the war effort, Pullman-Standard was permitted to finish the work (Missouri Pacific's COLORADO EAGLE was completed and delivered at about the same time, and for the same reasons).
Despite the prestige associated with the PANAMA, its postwar daytime counterpart, the CITY OF NEW ORLEANS was by far the better-patronized train. Although offering no first-class accommodations, Trains #1-2 frequently ran 15-20 cars long, including a diner, a buffet-lounge and a club-lounge-observation car. The Cm, also handled a Chicago-New Orleans RPO, which certainly helped to prop up the train's bottom line for the first 20 years of its existence. Like the PANAMA, Trains 1-2 survived until Amtrak. And although its amenities had been diminished somewhat, it still ran clean, on time and on a fast carding. Following the Amtrak takeover, the CITY OF NEW ORLEANS'S daylight schedule was retained until November 1971 when the operation was switched to an overnight service that was renamed the PANAMA LIMITED. The CITY OF NEW ORLEANS name was reinstated in 1981 and has remained in place ever since.
On the highly competitive St. Louis line, IC fielded three trains, including the GREEN DIAMOND, the DAYLIGHT and the overnight coach-and-sleeper NIGHT DIAMOND. However, the IC's offerings did not compete effectively with the trains of the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio and the Wabash (C&El gave up the route in 1949), and by the end of 1958 the St. Louis line was down to a single train pair which held on until 1970 when it was reduced to a Chicago-Springfield run. The rechristened GOVERNOR'S SPECIAL survived until Amtrak conveyance day on May 1, 1971. Amtrak, however, selected the more populous GM&O route for its continuing Chicago-St. Louis operations.
Illinois Central's other feature train was the every-other day CITY OF MIAMI, a joint service with the Central of Georgia, Atlantic Coast Line and Florida East Coast. Operating on opposite days with the Pennsylvania-Louisville & Nashville-Atlantic Coast Line-Florida East Coast SOUTH WIND, the two trains
provided daily service between Chicago and Miami. After Amtrak, the two trains were combined into a single daily operation under the SOUTH WIND name running over the IC as far as Kankakee, thence the Penn Central to Louisville, the L&N to Montgomery, Alabama, and the Seaboard Coast Line to Miami.
Thanks to the efforts of the many talented photographers named below, this volume includes extensive photographic and narrative coverage not only of the feature trains mentioned above, but also many of IC's more workaday offerings like the LAND O' CORN, LOUISIANE, SOUTHERN EXPRESS, HAWKEYE and the college-oriented Chicago-Champaign-Carbondale "corridor" trains inaugurated in the late 1960s to replace redundant (and by-then unprofitable) long-haul services. Also making an appearance are the "Big Four" (New York Central) trains that used IC iron between Chicago and Kankakee, where they reached home rails enroute to Indianapolis and Cincinnati
Our all-color coverage begins in 1949 and extends well into the Amtrak era, with photos representing both the much-loved "Rainbow Era" as well as the more homogenized look of the present era. The book is arranged in chronological order and features the works of numerous photographers, many of whose photos a
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