Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad
The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad (AAR reporting mark RI) was a Class I railroad in the United States. It was also known as the Rock Island Line, or, in its final years, THE ROCK. Its ancestor, the Chicago & Rock Island Railroad, was incorporated on February 7, 1851 and operated its first train on October 10, 1852. The railroad went into receivership for its third and final bankruptcy in 1975, and after attempts to reorganize failed, the company was liquidated, operating its final train on March 31, 1980.
The Rock Island stretched across Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The easternmost reach of the system was Chicago, and the system also reached Memphis, Tennessee; west, it reached Denver, Colorado and Santa Rosa, New Mexico. Southernmost reaches were to Galveston, Texas and Eunice, Louisiana while in a northerly direction the Rock Island got as far as Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Major lines included Minneapolis to Kansas City, Missouri via Des Moines, Iowa; St. Louis, Missouri to Santa Rosa via Kansas City; Herington, Kansas to Galveston, Texas via Fort Worth, Texas and Dallas, Texas; and Santa Rosa to Memphis.
The system got its start in Iowa and was always densest there, with a large number of lines serving most cities in the state.
The Rock Island jointly operated the Golden State Limited (just the Golden State after 1948's modernization) with the Southern Pacific Railroad.
The railroad operated a number of trains known as Rockets serving the Midwest, including the Rocky Mountain Rocket (Chicago—Omaha—Lincoln—Denver—Colorado Springs), the Corn Belt Rocket (Chicago—Des Moines—Omaha), the Twin Star Rocket (Minneapolis—St. Paul—Des Moines—Kansas City—Oklahoma City—Fort Worth—Dallas—Houston), the Zephyr Rocket (Minneapolis—St. Paul—Burlington—St. Louis) and the Choctaw Rocket (Memphis—Little Rock—Oklahoma City—Amarillo).
The Rock Island Line is a mighty good road The Rock Island Line is the road to ride The Rock Island Line is a mighty good road If you want to ride you gotta ride it like you find it Get your ticket at the station for the Rock Island Line
- (1973). Handy Railroad Atlas of the United States. Rand McNally & Co. p.53.
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