"The Boys Are Back In Town" USA Tour 2006

Day 4 : Tuesday 2nd May

Our second day in Chicago was again spent chasing down required locos on Metra. A search for the earliest numbered F40PH-2's took us to La Salle St station in the morning and a run down the Rock Island line towards Joliet.

Loco(s)  Type  From - To
Metra 207  F40PHM-2  La Salle Street - Blue Island Vermont Street
Metra 101  F40PH-2  Blue Island Vermont Street - 111th Street
Metra 202  F40PHM-2  111th Street - Gresham
Metra 410 +
Metra 204
 MP36PH-3S +
 Gresham - La Salle Street

Metra 101 shoves it's set northwards towards Chicago at 111th Street.

Later body design (F40PHM-2) Metra 207 pauses at 111th Street.

With the morning rush over we split up and four of us ended up covering turns on the UP lines out of Chicago OTC;

Loco(s)  Type  From - To
Metra 162  F40PH-2  Chicago OTC - Clybourn
Metra 130  F40PH-2  Clybourn - Rogers Park
Metra 169  F40PH-2  Rogers Park - Clybourn
Metra 145  F40PH-2  Clybourn - Jefferson Park
Metra 161  F40PH-2  Jefferson Park - Chicago OTC
Metra 158  F40PH-2  Chicago OTC - Berkeley

As well as scooping the loco, the run to Berkeley on the Elburn line gave a photographic opportunity as the station is located right next to a UP stabling point. The presence of a westbound freight also added to the opportunity!

UP 5437, a GE C45AC-CTE leads CSX 7782 westbound at Berkeley.

UP 9096, a GE C41-8 ("Dash 8") is seen stabled at Berkeley.

UP 4828 - GM-EMD SD70M is proud to be American.

UP 8437, a GM-EMD SD70ACE, ugly cab or what?

The afternoon rush took us back to the corridor between Union and Western Avenue;

Loco(s)  Type  From - To
Metra 138  F40PH-2  Berkeley - Chicago OTC
Metra 211  F40PHM-2  Chicago Union - Western Avenue
Metra 123  F40PH-2  Western Avenue - Chicago Union
Metra 423 +
Metra 121
 MP36PH-3S +
 Chicago Union - Western Avenue
Metra 211  F40PHM-2  Western Avenue - Chicago Union

At this point we retired to the bar on Union station for a bite to eat and a drink before our next adventure...

...23 hours on one train. We were headed for Washington DC on Amtraks "Cardinal", 19.45 from Union it was due into Washington at 19.45 the following evening (an hour "gained" due to a time-zone being crossed during the journey).

AMTK 57 was a winner for us. We left about 19.50 and had what was probably a typical stop-start run south out of Chicago as we were taking second place to the many freight trains on the route. About 15 miles out we were plunged into darkness as the HEP died (Head End Power - the US version of ETH). It soon came on again but about 5 miles later we pulled up at a red signal (at Thornton Jn no less!) when it died again...but this time stayed dead...

After a couple of minutes the PA burst into life and the Conductor informed us that the loco had blown it's head gasket and that more information would be given in due course. Hmmm... Bob wandered up to the front of the train and came back confirming there was a very strong smell of oil in the leading carriage. Top marks to the train crew, it soon got quite warm in the train so they allowed us out onto the track if we wanted. Stood on a piece of waste ground all we could hear was the almost deafening sound of the local bullfrog population "getting it on"!

Hopes of a freight-loco drag out of trouble were dashed when the Engineer (driver) managed to coax AMTK 57 back into life and it was "all aboard" for a short propelling move back to a track which put us out of harms way (though in the event during the whole period no other trains passed us!). The crew were taxied the 20 or so miles back to Chicago where they were to collect a new loco to enable our journey to proceed on its way.

Midnight came...

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