Galesburg Zephyr! (CANCELLED)

Check this out!

Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive no. 765 will operate The Galesburg Zephyr between Union Station and Galesburg, Illinois for the Galesburg Railroad Days. These all-day, round-trip excursions will feature vintage passenger cars from the 1940s and 50s and include accommodations in standard coach, deluxe coach, and first class and dome car. Passengers will enjoy a three-hour layover at the festival.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, this event has been cancelled!

– David P. Jordan

Delta Connection to End CIRA-Detroit!

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Bloomington-Normal’s air service takes a hit this summer.

One of my readers gave me a heads up this morning that Endeavor Air dba Delta Connection is discontinuing its Detroit flights out of Central Illinois Regional Airport (CIRA).

The single roundtrip that is operating at present most days a week will be dropped after Friday, July 29.

Not all news is bad. Service to Minneapolis/St. Paul, another Delta Airlines hub, recently increased to two roundtrips. And three daily Atlanta roundtrips are dominated by larger jets, including mainline Delta service with a Boeing 717-200. Capacity to that largest of Delta hubs will grow with two 65-seat CRJ700s being replaced by 76-seat CRJ900s.

The news isn’t all good either. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ February 2016 figures shows continuing decline in passeners at CIRA. That month, scheduled airlines handled 25,252 passengers. That is down 9.2% from February 2015’s 27,802 passengers.

Not surprisingly, Peoria International Airport continues to dominate the Central Illinois air service market. BTS figures for February 2016 show scheduled passengers increased to 44,313 over February 2015’s 43,417. This represents an anemic 2.1% increase, but an increase nonetheless.

The region’s air service continues to adjust to the loss of AirTran Airways, four years hence. CIRA mostly suffers, PIA mostly soars.

– David P. Jordan

NKP 765 at Galesburg Railroad Days?

Various sources seem to confirm that Nickel Plate 765 is coming to Galesburg this year for Railroad Days!

The 2-8-4 Berkshire-type steam locomotive is set to appear at Franklin Park Railroad Days on Saturday, June 11. The next day, it will operate a fantrip from North Glenview stop on Metra’s Milwaukee North Line to Janesville, Wisconsin and back.

Galesburg Railroad Days is June 23-26 this year. It is rumored that NKP 765 will be pulling fan trips from Chicago to Galesburg and back on BNSF’s Mendota Subdivision on Saturday (the 25th) and Sunday (the 26th).

I’ll update as information becomes available.

Nickel Plate 765 was in our area five years ago when it ran through Peoria on the TP&W, Tazewell & Peoria RR and Iowa Interstate enroute to and from Train Festival 2011 in Rock Island, Illinois. The first video is from the westbound trip on July 20; the third shows the steamer passing the old (1900) Rock Island depot on Water Street two minutes before Midnight on July 24. The final video shows the train after departing the TP&W’s East Peoria Yard the next morning.

– David P. Jordan

Happy 45th Birthday, Amtrak!

Amtrak, the nation’s intercity passenger railroad, turns 45 today. To celebrate, I thought I’d share some of my favorite videos of Amtrak action. (Captions are above video.)

Let’s start with Amtrak No. 382 (northbound Carl Sandberg) at Galesburg, Illinois exactly one year ago today – May 1, 2015.

On May 11, 2013, I rode with friends to National Train Day events at Chicago Union Station. This video chronicles the trip from Normal to CUS and return. Included are scenes shot from the Roosevelt Road overpass in Chicago. I experienced higher speed rail (110mph) for the first time on this trip.

On June 22, 2013, I shot Amtrak No. 3 (westbound Southwest Chief) running through the Cameron Connection (southwest of Galesburg) to BNSF’s Chillicothe Sub.

Amtrak doesn’t serve Peoria, but derailments (or a major upgrade) on the usual route between Chicago and Galesburg force detours of its long-distance trains on BNSF Railway’s Chillicothe Subdivision. I shot video of Amtrak No. 5 (westbound California Zephyr) and No. 3 (westbound Southwest Chief) at Edelstein on May 4, 2012.

I caught Amtrak No. 4 (eastbound Southwest Chief) at Edelstein on November 15, 2014. BNSF was replacing a bridge on the usual route, which forced a weekend of detours.

On November 16, I shot No. 4 at Chillicothe.

On January 30, 2016 I shot Amtrak No. 21 (southbound Texas Eagle) leaving Bloomington, Illinois.

I shot counterpart No. 22 at Lincoln, Illinois on March 13, 2016.

I shot Amtrak No. 350 (eastbound Wolverine Service) at Kalamazoo, Michigan on September 21, 2014.

Some 900 miles out of area, I took this video at Penn Station in Newark, New Jersey in the late morning and early afternoon of October 30, 2015. Traffic is mix of New Jersey Transit and Amtrak. We are on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor between Boston, New York and Washington, DC. The view which shows the Passaic River lift bridge looks northeast. Highlights are Acela Express and Northeast Regional trains and a Keystone Service train.

– David P. Jordan