Illinois Central
Passenger Trains
Memphis, TN

Photo from Commercail Appeal Archives
IC South Yard, including coach yard for Central Station, 1943

Contributed by Mike Parker
The IC showed its patriotism at Christmas 1944 with this special Menu for servicemen. Larger View

The IC's "Hoodlum" employees' commuter train. There was a steam powered version too. The two car passenger train in the photo above is the "Hoodlum". Back then the work week consisted of six days, so you might have ridden on a Saturday, or special move on Sundays. At that time under then current agreements, Yard jobs were 7 days a week with NO days off. My uncle, Powell Reed, an IC yard engineer at South Yard screamed bloody murder when the RR cut the jobs back to SIX days a week, with a single day off each week. This was a joint RR-Union agreement and he adamantly opposed the loss of pay by working a six day work week. I will have to ask a retired engineer the time frame of this 6 day agreement, for it was national issue, applying to all RRs.

IC Photo

GE 44-tonner c/n 29072, built 11/1947., purchased new as ICRR #9275. Renumbered IC 400 in 8-1956. Renumbered IC 200 in 12-1959. Subsequently retired by ICRR, date unknown. This was the only GE 44-tonner purchased by IC, and I think we can safely conclude that this locomotive was purchased specifically for the IC Memphis shop train.

IC #200 (formerly 9275) was sold 10-1961 to Ormet Corp, becoming Burnside Bulk Terminal #10. From this information, we can probably assume that the Hoodlum ended operation sometime before 10-1961.

Otto Perry Photo, Mike Condren Collection
IC 4-8-2 #2410 leads the southbound "Louisianne" over Beale Street.

Contributed by Bill Pollard
This view shows the stub end tracks and some of the operations of Central Station in the 1950 era. See what you can find in a larger view. Can you find the NC&StL F-units in their engine terminal in the upper left corner of this photo?

James LaVake Photo

This is IC no 1 “City of NO” southbound, with Frisco 807 “Sunnyland” backing into Central Station from St. Louis in August 1952.

Both units are wreck rebuilds by EMD.  The IC 4000, originally an E-6 model, had the “one of a kind” bow wave for the “City of Miami” service.   It had the misfortune of taking a turnout at 70 mph near Champaign IL in 1947, tipping over this unit and the following passenger car as a result.  A signal maintainer was working on the signals; it displayed GREEN while the crossover switch was lined onto the parallel track!  The train was approaching at normal speed.

The Frisco 2022 is just one month from its rebuild.  It was struck by an MKT freight train at Ft. Scott KS and returned to EMD for rebuilding.  It emerged from rebuild in July,1952 with the a different name: “Champion”.  It had carried the name “Middleground”, which was copyrighted, so the Frisco had to change the name.  Views of the 2022 with the “Middleground” name are most rare, since it carried that name for less than 24 months.

Contributed by Bill Strong
IC northbound train along Riverside Drive at Court St., c. 1961.

Bill Pollard Photos
These views depict the track 9 arrival of IC #2, the City of New Orleans on a bitterly cold February day of 1965 (note rock salt all over platform). After arrival, the locomotives (3 to 4 E-units) were uncoupled and moved to an adjacent track for servicing while an IC switcher added a RPO car to the front of the train. A second switcher worked the rear of the train, briefly removing the observation car so that one or more previously loaded Memphis coaches could be added. The train was late this day, but the normal schedule time for all of the necessary switching and servicing to be accomplished was 10 minutes, from 1:50pm arrival until 2:00pm departure.

Ken McElreath shot aerial photos of the southbound City of New Orleans just north of Cairo, IL.

Bill Pollard Photos
On another day, IC train 2 is in the station on track 10, and IC train #25.the Southern Express, can be seen at the north end of the station, threading its way to platform space on track 6 or 7. Train 25, a coach-only, all stops local which had left Chicago 14 hours earlier, was scheduled to arrive in Central Station at 2pm, the same time that train 2 was scheduled to depart. In the foreground, loaded Railway Express Agency baggage trucks can be seen on one of Central Station's two open "truck" platforms equipped with baggage cart elevators.

Bill White Photo. Collection of Phil Gosney.
IC 's train 25, the "Southern Express", an all stops local from Chicago to New Orleans is seen passing through Fraser on the north side of Memphis on Oct. 02, 1965.

Photo by David Johnston
IC northbound Mid-American leaving Central Station, 8/67

Photo by Terry Foshee
IC City of New Orleans at Central Station, 3/68.

Photo by Terry Foshee
IC City of New Orleans leaving Central Station, 3/68.

Photo by Phil Gosney
IC northbound No 4, "Mid-American", leaving Memphis Central Sta off track 8. May, 1968, note Flexi-van behind the locomotives.

Photo by Phil Gosney
IC City of New Orleans, northbound in June 1968.

Photo by Terry Foshee
IC #1 City of New Orleans at Central Station, 8/68.

Photo by Phil Gosney
"First No. 2" at Memphis Central Station in August, 1968. I was 17 years old at the time and still in high school when I took these views. Note the "green" class lights illuminated, indicating the regular 18 car "City of New Orleans" will be following closely.

Photo by Phil Gosney
The "Fire-boy" is already counting his miles and money before they have even left town. It was will be a quick 167 mile trip to Cairo, IL and they will be there in less than 3 hours, in time for supper. They will return south on Number 5, "The Panama Limited/Magnolia Star" around 11 pm and be back home, in Memphis, by 2:00am. Not bad; a round trip in less than 12 hours. The young man might pay close attention to his "old head" engineer across the cab. The two most senior engineers who "owned" these jobs on the "Fulton District" were Raymond Brown and N. A. "Runt" Thompson. Both men completed over 50 years of faithful service with the "Main Line of Mid-America". Engineer Raymond Brown was also known as "Two Pound Brown". He would make long, gradual, oceanliner slow downs, in "two pound reductions" of the automatic brake. Once he was clear of the restriction, he never had a speed limit. It may have 79 mph in the employee timetable, but that was just a passing number to him. Rest assured, this train will arrive "on time" at the next crew change at Cairo. (Kay-row).

Ken McElreath Photos
IC #2 City of New Orleans at Central Station, 8/68. The car numbers of that northbound IC City of New Orleans as follows: RPO 1820, Baggage 1831, Coach 2502, Coach 2504, Coach 2501, Coach 2637, Coach 2683 (with 6 wheel trucks), Coach 2697 (with 6 wheel trucks), Coach 2627, Diner 4202, Coach 2506, Coach 2635, Dome Coach 2201, Observation 3305 (with 6 wheel trucks). Switching the station was IC SW7 number 407. Also sitting in the station stub tracks were the following sleepers, white-lined, plus a number of heavyweight baggage cars: St Louisan, Hattiesburg, Hyde Park, Haleyville, Harvey Hammond, King Cotton, Prairie State, Timberland, Volunteer State, and Homewood.

Photo by David Johnston
IC's northbound #1 "City of New Orleans" is leaving Central Station, ca 1968.

Photo by David Johnston
IC's northbound "Mid American" is leaving Central Station, ca 1968. Note the beginnings of the new I40 bridge across the Mississippi River.

Photo by Phil Gosney, age 17 at the time.
IC's southbound "City of New Orleans" is approaching Central Station and passing over Front Street viaduct in this November, 1968 view.

Photo by David Johnston
IC's northbound "City of New Orleans" is approaching Central Station, 12/69.

Photo by David Johnston
IC City of New Orleans at Central Station, 3/70.

Photo by David Johnston
IC City of New Orleans crossing "Broadway" just south of Central Station, 2/71.
Note the signal bridge with semiphore signals for tracks leading to Union Station and the traffic light protecting the crossing. The track curving to the right was used by the Frisco and Rock Island to reach Central Station.

Photo by David Johnston
IC City of New Orleans leaving Central Station

Photo by Terry Foshee
IC E6A 4001 from elevator penthouse.

Tom Smart Photo. Collection of Phil Gosney
IC, Train 2 "City of New Orleans" arrives Memphis Central Station. (Unknown date).

1946 Illinois Central Consists compiled by John Martin of Little Rock

This page was designed and is maintained by Mike Condren. If you have materials
that you would like to contribute, contact me at mcondren@cbu.edu