[N&W] Wabash E-8's

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Fri May 7 22:49:55 EDT 2004

[Randy Rippy forwards the following from wabash at listbot.com]

   This Steve Jaeger in Mandeville, LA.  My Email address is scj7450 at aol.com.
   I grew up along the Wabash in Oak Lawn, IL, just outside Chicago, in the
50's and 60's.  For many of those years, I rode the commuter service in and
out of Dearborn Station (and eventually, a siding alongside the abandoned
Dearborn and finally Union Station) enroute to summer jobs and eventual
post-college real jobs, and viewed the operations of this service on a
regular basis.
   I have to agree with an earlier contributor who maintained that E8's were
never utilized on this train. For lo those many years, I never saw any cab
unit on the point of nos. 112-113 where steam-generator equipped GP9's
always held forth.  If today's writer has a photo of a Wabash E8 paired up with
the Geep on this train, I'd suggest it would be prime fodder for the "photo
section" in Trains or its nostalgia quarterly.  It would have been that
I just can't remember ever seeing an E unit on the train.
   Considering what has today evolved into a Metra service involving at
least five weekday trains in each direction, the Wabash / N&W train was a 
quaint operation.  It employed heavyweight Wabash coaches (along with a
stint where a former City of St. Louis dome coach in UP yellow was in the 
for a few months--you can guess where I boarded!) until about 1969, when a
fleet of six original N&W streamlined coaches were rebuilt for commuter
service and re-equipped the train.  My recollection is that these cars were
painted Wabash blue, but quickly repainted tuscan red after they were in
this service for a couple of years.  The interiors featured high-back
intercity-style seats which unfortunately did not recline, with a lot of
facing seats.
   Many of you will remember that this dinky ran daily all the way to & from
Decatur, with stops in every burg along the way, until about 1961 when it
was cut back to Orland Park to become a true commuter operation.  For
succeeding years until Metra, the train was manned by a Decatur-based
crew that spent the entire workweek away from home until Friday, when
the consist deadheaded to Decatur for servicing.
The bane of this service for non-railfan commuters was Belt Junction on
Chicago's southwest side, where intersecting freight traffic from about
six railroads wreaked havoc with the schedule and riders' evenings.
   I'd be delighted to hear other WRHS members' recollections of this
operation.  After about 8 months getting your Emails, this is my first
outreach.  Thanks.

                Steve Jaeger

More information about the NW-Mailing-List mailing list