Abraham Lincoln (train)

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Abraham Lincoln
Postcard depiction of the streamlined train.
Service typeInter-city rail
LocaleIllinois and Missouri
First service1935
Last service1977
SuccessorState House
Former operator(s)
TerminiChicago, Illinois
St. Louis, Missouri
Distance travelled284 mi (457 km) (Amtrak)
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)
Route map
0 mi
37 mi
60 km
124 km
77 mi
185 mi
298 km
257 mi
414 km
284 mi
457 km
St. Louis–Union Station
The route after its revival in 1976.

The Abraham Lincoln was a named passenger train operated by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad from 1935 into the 1960s. The Abe Lincoln ran between Chicago and St. Louis on the B&O's subsidiary Alton Railroad. The train later passed to the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and then finally to Amtrak, which retained the name until 1978. Service between Chicago and St. Louis is now known by the umbrella term Lincoln Service. This train was the first streamlined passenger service to travel the 284 miles between Chicago and St. Louis, with Joliet, Bloomington-Normal, Springfield and Alton in between. Passengers can get a glimpse of the Mississippi River between Alton and St. Louis.


The original streamlined Abe Lincoln was one of two non-articulated, streamlined trains built with government assisted funding in 1935. The locomotive, B&O No. 50, was powered by an 1800-hp box-cab diesel made by EMC. After delivery, No. 50 was retrofitted with a quasi-streamlined, sloped front end. The Abraham Lincoln continued to operate following the Alton Railroad's merger with the GM&O in 1947, and one of the streamliner trainsets survived into the 1960s.[1]: 19–20 [2]: 58–59 


The Abraham Lincoln at Lincoln in 1972

Following its takeover of most passenger rail service in the United States on May 1, 1971, Amtrak retained the Abraham Lincoln as a daily Chicago–St. Louis service, operating in tandem with the GM&O's old Limited. In November of that year Amtrak extended both the Abraham Lincoln and the Limited (now known as the Prairie State) through Chicago to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In October 1973, Amtrak replaced the rolling stock with the new French-built Turboliner; as part of this change the trains were re-branded as Turboliners and truncated to Chicago. In February 1976 Amtrak returned conventional rolling stock to the route and revived the Abraham Lincoln name along with the Ann Rutledge. Amtrak added the State House to the Chicago–St. Louis corridor in 1977. Also in 1977, Amtrak extended the Abraham Lincoln to Kansas City and renamed it the Ann Rutledge — a name that had briefly disappeared from the timetable in 1976–77 when Amtrak extended the Inter-American to Chicago. Today service between Chicago and St. Louis is handled by the Lincoln Service.[3]: 75–76 


Gulf Mobile and Ohio's Abraham Lincoln ca.1970
Sample consist
Original 1935 consist
[4]: 50–51 

American Car and Foundry (ACF) constructed two lightweight trainsets for the B&O, one for the Abraham Lincoln and one for the Royal Blue, which ran between New York City and Washington, D. C. Each trainset consisted of eight cars: a baggage/mail car, three coaches, a lunch counter/diner, two parlor cars, and a parlor-observation car.[1]: 19  The B&O rebuilt both baggage/mail cars in 1936: the Abraham Lincolns became a baggage/buffet car with seating for 24, while the Royal Blue's became a baggage/chair car with seating for 44.

On July 26, 1937, the Abraham Lincoln received the Royal Blue's equipment, while the Abraham Lincoln's original equipment was assigned to the Ann Rutledge. This consist included a 60-seat chair car (#5806) that the B&O had built in its own shops in 1936. Both of the consists had the first 64-seat chair car rebuilt into a buffet-lounge, while the lunch counter/diners became full dining cars.[4]: 50–51 

The Gulf, Mobile and Ohio ordered additional chair and parlor cars from ACF in 1947 but otherwise made few changes to the trains' equipment. The new cars seated 68 and 31, respectively.[4]: 93 


Station State
Grand Central Station (Chicago) (1935–1947)
Chicago Union Station (1947–1977)
St. Louis Missouri

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Schafer, Mike; Welsh, Joe (1997). Classic American Streamliners. Osceola, Wisconsin: MotorBooks International. ISBN 978-0-7603-0377-1.
  2. ^ Schafer, Mike (2000). More Classic American Railroads. Osceola, WI: MBI Publishing Co. ISBN 978-0-7603-0758-8. OCLC 44089438.
  3. ^ Goldberg, Bruce (1981). Amtrak--the first decade. Silver Spring, MD: Alan Books. OCLC 7925036.
  4. ^ a b c Wayner, Robert J., ed. (1972). Car Names, Numbers and Consists. New York: Wayner Publications. OCLC 8848690.

External links[edit]

Media related to Abraham Lincoln (train) at Wikimedia Commons