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Steam & Excursion > AFT Confidential Off Topic Side Trip


Date: 04/06/21 00:59
AFT Confidential Off Topic Side Trip
Author: BoilingMan

St Louis Side Trip to Chicago & Chillicothe IL      April 6-8, 1976

While the AFT displayed in St Louis, I snuck away for a two night side trip.
My first stop was Chicago. I arrived on an evening train and spent the night in a rather dodgy hotel, acceptable only that my room looked out on the equally dodgy LaSalle Street Station.

In the morning I gave LaSalle a quick walk-through and then grabbed an IC train out to the University of Chicago. That very morning, 25yrs earlier, I was born at the University's Lying In Hospital. I talked a receptionist into stepping out to take my picture on the front steps.
Across the way from the UofC is the Museum of Science and Industry- THE most sacred place of my childhood memories. Oh Bliss! I wandered the MS&I for a few hours before heading back downtown.
That evening I took the Southwest Limited to Streator where my Uncle met me. It was a quick visit in Chilly that night- dinner, birthday cake, and in the morning I had to be on my way back to St Louis.

At the time Rock Island was still running the Peoria Rocket. Chillicothe was, oh how cool was this: a Flag Stop! The track was pretty sad, but the train was a nicely turned out E9 and two coaches. At the tail end the attendant sold cold drinks and sandwiches from a panic box (RR speak for an ice chest used this way).
Now stop for minute and think about this: 124 years of CRI&P passenger service had winnowed the Train Attendant roster down to this one guy!! That's some Hell'a seniority!! (My Great Grandfather worked for the RR out of Chicago... I wonder if this guy knew him? Hmmm.. probably not. GG John was in tickets.) The Peoria Rocket wasn't so “Rockety”, but it was history and I loved it. On the way into La Salle Street Station I was looking for, and spotted, the E6A 630 on a ready track and a few other goodies. Gotta love The Rock.
Once in Chicago I made a quick loop (geographically localized pun) to see how many of the RR oddities the city had to offer I could collect- I did pretty well: CNW “Crandall Cabs”, MILW F40C's, a GM&O F3 (sorry, no photos of those two), a FrenchTurbo, and the biggest surprise: a VERY fresh batch of the first Amtrak F40's (Quick! Get a picture before they're everywhere!).
From Chicago back to St Louis I rode the new Amfleet cars behind a P30. Underwhelming.  Who knew they'd last so long!  (The cars, not the power. I think the power's demise was kinda predictable)

Back in St Louis I covered for Wild a few nights- Bill hails from The Land o' Lincoln also, and had family and places to visit too. (And had been away from home on the AFT nearly a year at this point)
SR Bush
Dutch Flat

Photo 1. The AFT from my train to Chicago.
Photos 2-3. LaSalle Street Station in the morning.

Photo 4. The IC train out to the UofC
Photo 5. Me on my birthday at my birthplace at the UofC
Photo 6. The Pioneer Zephyr (and German U-Boat) at the Museum of Science & Industry. Both are happily indoors now.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 04/06/21 08:43 by BoilingMan.








Date: 04/06/21 01:01
Re: AFT Confidential Off Topic Side Trip
Author: BoilingMan

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Date: 04/06/21 01:03
Re: AFT Confidential Off Topic Side Trip
Author: BoilingMan

Photo 7. The big ATSF layout in the MoS&I- in the 50's! A slide my Mom bought me way back when- one can only imagine how insufferable my begging must have been to get this. Thanks, Mom! (I saw her today- she's 93)
Photos 8-9. Flagging the Peoria Rocket. (That's my Grandmother, Uncle, and Aunt there to see me off- all have since passed away)

Photos 10-12. Grab shots coming into Chicago.








Date: 04/06/21 01:04
Re: AFT Confidential Off Topic Side Trip
Author: BoilingMan

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Date: 04/06/21 01:07
Re: AFT Confidential Off Topic Side Trip
Author: BoilingMan

Photo 13. Arrival in Chicago.
Photo 14. CNW Crandall Cab (An E9B homemade conversion)
Photo 15. One of the early French Turbo's.

Photo 16. Factory Fresh F40's. The first I ever saw, and only days old. I doubt they'd turned a revenue mile yet.

A map of my 3day Blitz in Red. (Yellow is the route of the AFT through St Louis)








Date: 04/06/21 01:08
Re: AFT Confidential Off Topic Side Trip
Author: BoilingMan

,.,






Date: 04/06/21 04:26
Re: AFT Confidential Off Topic Side Trip
Author: Bob3985

Great photos. I would not have thought the Rock Island could have gotten much worse after I left in early 1976 but it did.
A sad ending to a once "Mighty Fine Road".

Bob Krieger
Cheyenne, WY



Date: 04/06/21 06:02
Re: AFT Confidential Off Topic Side Trip
Author: zoohogger

Great group of photos. Your family standing at the small station is very special.
Your description of Museum of Science and Industry as "sacred" would fit for me as well.
I have many fond memories of trips there. In the 60's all the mechanical displays worked. The model railroad was a marvel and the locomotive cab was a dreamland. What a place.
Thanks.


Rick Z



Date: 04/06/21 06:26
Re: AFT Confidential Off Topic Side Trip
Author: TractiveEffort

I can't tell you how much I enjoy reading your AFT travelogue posts.  Thanks for making the effort!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/06/21 11:22 by TractiveEffort.



Date: 04/06/21 09:59
Re: AFT Confidential Off Topic Side Trip
Author: mrwalsh85

Crazy to think that jsut a few years ago we were running excursions northbound from the restored Chillicothe depot with the IAIS 6988. 

The siding that we overnighted the 6988 on in Chilli was probably as rickety as the mainline you describe back in the day.

Was pretty awesome to be watching the fire into the evening with BNSF freights roaring by on the Transcon over the IAIS mainline just a few hundred yards down the track. 

The bridge is the lowest point of the sky between the treelines.  Photo taken just after the train rolled into the siding and just before going on duty as night shift watchman.

 




Date: 04/06/21 11:19
Re: AFT Confidential Off Topic Side Trip
Author: Topfuel

So what did you do with all your personal "stuff" while you were on the AFT for a year +/-?  Did you give up your apartment and put your stuff in storage?  Did you not have any "trips home" every month or so paid for by the AFT?  I am curious how that all worked for the AFT employees.



Date: 04/06/21 12:20
Re: AFT Confidential Off Topic Side Trip
Author: BoilingMan

Topfuel Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So what did you do with all your personal "stuff"
> while you were on the AFT for a year +/-?  Did
> you give up your apartment and put your stuff in
> storage?  Did you not have any "trips home" every
> month or so paid for by the AFT?  I am
> curious how that all worked for the AFT
> employees.

Well at 24, when I joined the train, I hadn’t really amassed a lot of “stuff”. I boxed up what I had and stored it at my Mom’s. A friend took my cat (who I reclaimed when I returned home a year later).
The AFT offered employees a week off to return home for R&R after 6mo. If I recall, the AFT paid your airfare. Most took the offer.
The AFT was a true 24/7/366* job- there were NO days off**.
At the end of the tour, in Miami, everyone was given something like 10cents a mile back to where you’d joined the train.
I was with the AFT for 2wks shy of one year.
SR

*1976 was a Leap Year
** Actually we did get 1 day off- Thanksgiving Day 1976.



Date: 04/06/21 17:51
Re: AFT Confidential Off Topic Side Trip
Author: AndyBrown

Did the Lone Star not stop at Chillicothe?  Wondering why you got off at Streator..

I too have been enjoying the series.

Andy



Date: 04/06/21 18:11
Re: AFT Confidential Off Topic Side Trip
Author: BoilingMan

I don’t remember- I was pretty schedule savvy so it was probably deliberate. Maybe it had a better departure time allowing me more time in Chicago.
I remember my uncle assuring me Streater would be fine.
SR



Date: 04/07/21 19:57
Re: AFT Confidential Off Topic Side Trip
Author: P

The depot shot is the best.



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