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Nostalgia & History > Saga of an IC combine

Date: 05/16/19 01:53
Saga of an IC combine
Author: gcm

June 76

Among the regular railroad spots around Houston I checked, one of them was the MKT west out of town. About 25 miles west of the Katy Eureka Yd was the small town of Katy (at this time it was still a small town with rice farming the main business).
I was very surprised to see this Illinois Central combine on the house track behind the station (had an agent till 1981).
The car was in great shape and would have made an excellent museum or tourist train addition.
I just could not figure out what it was doing in this little town.
After looking inside the car it appears it was in service virtually up to Amtrak 5 years before.
There was still seat checks above the seats and conductors trip reports inside.
The IC probably stored the car immediately after its last run (wherever that might have been) and it looks like it remained untouched till this trip to Texas.
Here are some detailed shots of the car inside and out - then finally I found out why it was here.

Date: 05/16/19 01:55
Re: Saga of an IC combine
Author: gcm


Date: 05/16/19 01:56
Re: Saga of an IC combine
Author: gcm


Date: 05/16/19 01:57
Re: Saga of an IC combine
Author: gcm


Date: 05/16/19 01:58
Re: Saga of an IC combine
Author: gcm


Date: 05/16/19 01:59
Re: Saga of an IC combine
Author: gcm

Most of the area was still undeveloped with subdivisions etc. just beginning.
4 miles to the east along I-10 was the then two lane asphalt/dirt road named Mason - any TO members familiar with Mason Rd today would find this hard to imagine.
Anyway there were enough new residents that a bank was needed and they turned the combine in to a temporary bank till a permanent one could be built.
Looking at the sign on the side - Benjamin Franklin Savings owned by IC Industries - OK now I knew how easily they got this car here.
After the new bank was built the car was moved in to Houston somewhere - I saw it once - then I don't know what happened to it.
Too bad - it would have made an wonderful museum piece in its IC paint.
I found this picture of it in service 9 years before - photo by Ted Ellis.


Date: 05/16/19 03:53
Re: Saga of an IC combine
Author: ClubCar

Nice story about an interesting passenger car.  However, the sad part is that when Amtrak came into being there were many, many cars such as this one that Amtrak did not want and the major railroads no longer needed or wanted, thus they were sold for whatever price and to whom they could make such a sale.  Some did find new homes on short lines and/or museums; however, many of them wound up going to a scrapper.  A car of this type would truly be an asset to a tourist line with both revenue seating and a baggage compartment where bicycles or other items could be carried, or with some additional funds and work, a small gift shop and/or a snack bar could be incorporated.  Hopefully someone here on T.O. may know where this particular car eventually went and let's hope it was not to the junk yard.
John in White Marsh, Maryland

Date: 05/16/19 04:44
Re: Saga of an IC combine
Author: GPutz

Thanks for this very interesting pictures and story.  I'd like to know what train it was used on.  Did IC run locals, not just the commuter trains, around Chicago?  Gerry

Date: 05/16/19 06:44
Re: Saga of an IC combine
Author: refarkas

An "A+" set of photos and story.

Date: 05/16/19 12:16
Re: Saga of an IC combine
Author: highgreengraphics

Definitely a modernized heavyweight car! === === = === JLH

Date: 05/16/19 21:56
Re: Saga of an IC combine
Author: krm152

Excellent presentation of an interesting story.
Thanks for yor posting.

Date: 05/16/19 23:12
Re: Saga of an IC combine
Author: philgos

Gary:  Thanks for the great story and photos of this Combine 1850.

This was a one of a kind car on the IC, with no twin cars in the series. 

In the final years, before Amtrak start up, this car car was a regular on the Chicago to St. Louis "Green Diamond" train.  This train was truncated to a Chicago - Springfield, IL service and became known as the "Governor's Special" in 1968.  Both trains would make the daily round trip with one set of equipment, perfect service for this car.    

This car was aboard the final trip of  the "Governor's Special" on April 30, 1971. The IC had class and arranged for the last pair of slant nosed E-6 locomotives, 4001 and 4003, to operate on this historic last run.  Tomorrow would be May 1st, Amtrak takeover day, and there would be no Illinois Central passenger service to the Illinois state capital.  

Here is a view of the southbound "Governor's Special" roaring into Springfield in March, 1969, with Combine 1850 faithfully occupying the first out position.


Date: 05/17/19 08:14
Re: Saga of an IC combine
Author: gcm

Thanks for the info on this car.
I had no idea it was one of a kind.
In the conductor reports I found on the car, St.Louis was a destination.
BTW a great shot of the car in service.

Date: 05/18/19 08:50
Re: Saga of an IC combine
Author: NCA1022

highgreengraphics Wrote:
> Definitely a modernized heavyweight car! === === =
> === JLH

A great example of the kind of passenger car rebuild work turned out by IC's Burnside Shops to economically streamline their existing fleet of passenger equipment.  Also to avoid the lenghty wait for new equipment as all the carbuilders were swamped with new car orders in the years immediately after WW II.

Car 1850 was converted from 80-foot heavyweight round-roof Pullman coach 2215 in 1950 as part of the effort to equip the Green Diamond with standard streamlined cars to replace the original 1936 Pullman/EMC 5-car articulated trainset.  You'd have never guessed this car as originally built seated 85 people in closely spaced coach seats.  By completely replacing the heavyweight superstructure of the car with a new streamlined carbody, the only visible clue to its heritage was the 6-wheel trucks (although they were also rebuilt with roller bearings and other improvements for high-speed service).

I agree this car would have been perfect for a museum or short line.

- Norm

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