Serving Milwaukee, Chicago, Springfield, St. Louis and intermediate points
Amtrak train numbers: 301-320 and 304-329
Predecessor railroad train numbers: Gulf, Mobile and Ohio 1 and 4 (Alton Limited)
Along with the Abraham Lincoln and the Midnight Special, the Alton Limited was one of the three major trains on the Chicago and Alton Railroad's Chicago-St. Louis route. It survived the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad's takeover in 1947, and then survived again when Amtrak took over most passenger train service in the United States in 1971, although it had lost its Alton and become just plain The Limited at some point.
In late 1971, Amtrak tried an experiment and combined their two Chicago-St. Louis trains with Chicago-Milwaukee trains, providing through service between Milwaukee and St. Louis for the first time. While the Abraham Lincoln kept its name, The Limited became the Prairie State, after one of Illinois' nicknames.
When the Milwaukee-St. Louis experiment ended, and the Prairie State was cut back to a Chicago-St. Louis train, it lost its name in favor of the umbrella title Turboliner Service. By the time individual train names were restored on the route, the service pattern was slightly different, with Chicago-St. Louis service provided as part of the routes of several longer-distance trains, the Inter-American and the Ann Rutledge, in addition to only one Chicago-St. Louis train, the State House. As a result, the Prairie State name was never restored.
Condensed historical timetables:
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(1956) (1972) (1972) (1956)
----- 6:10A Dp Milwaukee Ar 11:59P -----
11:45A 8:00A Chicago 10:30P 5:15P
2:53P 11:30A Springfield 6:47P 1:54P
4:55P 1:38P Ar St. Louis Dp 4:40P 11:55A
The Amtrak Train Names Project