Whippoorwill (train)

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Chicago Heights
Illinois/Indiana border
Terre Haute

The Whippoorwill was a short-lived passenger train operated by the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad (C&EI) between Chicago, Illinois and Evansville, Indiana.

The C&EI introduced the Whippoorwill in 1946 as a day train supplement to the express streamliners it operated in conjunction with the Louisville and Nashville Railroad (L&N). The Whippoorwill was one of the first new streamliners introduced after World War II, with completely new equipment delivered by Pullman-Standard. A C&EI advertisement in Trains magazine touted the "ultra-modern chair car accommodations" and "latest type passenger Diesel locomotives."[1]

The train's original consist, as delivered by Pullman-Standard, included the following cars:

Number Type Name Disposition
#304 Baggage-coach Turkey Run Sold to the Shedd Aquarium and used as a fish transport. Now at the Monticello Railway Museum.[2]
#460 Coach Vigo Trail Sold to the Illinois Central Railroad (IC) in 1961; converted to maintenance of way in 1971.[3]
#461 Coach Vincennes Trail Sold to the IC in 1961; destroyed in a derailment involving the City of New Orleans in 1971.[3][4]
#462 Coach Vanderburg Trail Sold to the IC in 1961; sold to Silcott Railroad Equipment in 1971.[3]
#463 Coach Vermillion Trail Sold to the IC in 1961. Sold to Black Hills Central Railroad in 1971. Sold to the Oregon, Pacific and Eastern Railway (OP&E) after 1971; possibly 1972 and no later than 1975. Sold to Louisiana and Arkansas Railway (LA) in 1975 and named "Sierra Madre."[3]
#505 Diner Shakamak Inn Sold to the IC in 1962. Conveyed to the Louisiana Arts and Sciences Center in Baton Rouge. Now at the Monticello Railway Museum.[5]
#702 Parlor observation Chicagoland Rebuilt as a coach in 1964.

A famous publicity photograph, which the C&EI used long after the train's discontinuance, showed a single EMD E7 locomotive (#1102), leading these seven cars which made up the train's original consist. The photograph was colorized to accentuate the train's purple and yellow color scheme.[6] The northbound train (#4) departed Evansville at 7:00 am and arrived in Chicago's Dearborn Station at 12:20 pm. The train then returned south (as #3) at 5:30 pm, arriving in Evansville at 10:50 pm.[1]

The C&EI discontinued the Whippoorwill in 1948 after the L&N began running a section of the Georgian to Chicago over a similar schedule. The C&EI reassigned the Whippoorwill's equipment to the Georgian and the Humming Bird until finally selling most of it to the Illinois Central in the early 1960s.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Orange 'n Blue: Streamliners Celebrate a Happy Birthday". Trains. December 1947. ; 70
  2. ^ Monticello Railway Museum. "Equipment Roster". Retrieved 2011-05-06. 
  3. ^ a b c d "ILLINOIS CENTRAL RAILROAD PASSENGER EQUIPMENT: Car numbers 1800 - 2599". Mississippi Railroad Information. March 10, 2010. Retrieved 2011-05-07. 
  4. ^ "11th victim is dead after train derails". Boca Raton News. June 11, 1972. Retrieved 2011-05-07. 
  5. ^ "Current Projects". Retrieved 2011-05-07. 
  6. ^ a b Schafer, Mike; Joe Welsh (2002). Streamliners: History of a Railroad Icon. Saint Paul, MN: MBI. ISBN 0-7603-1371-7. OCLC 51069308. 

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