Modeling the Rock Island
Railroad By Kelly Housman
The Rock Island Rail road has a very rich history. It was incorporated in 1847 and an amended charter was approved in 1851. Construction began in 1851 and the first train ran in 1852 between Chicago and Rock Island. becoming the first RR to connect with the Mississippi river.
The Mississippi river bridge was completed in 1856. in 1857 Abraham Lincoln represented the Rock Island in a dispute of a steam boat collision with the bridge. In 1866 the Mississippi & Missouri RR was acquired by the Rock Island to form the Chicago Rock Island and Pacific Railroad company. The railroad continued expansion through acquisitions in the following decades.
In 1937 disel service was introduced. It included 6 lightweight Rocket streamliners. The Rockets were named after their routes, ie. the Golden state, the Texas Rocket, and the Rocky Mountain Rocket. The Rocky Mountain rocket service was downgraded to to Omaha, then to Council Bluffs, and was renamed to the Cornhusker. in 1970 the train was cut to a Chicago to Rock Island run, and lastly named the Quad cities Rocket.
The Rock Island did not join with the Amtrak service formed in 1971, and continued passenger service for a few more years.
In the 70's the due to lack of funds and a failed merger attempt the RI had come on hard times. and by 1980 it became sovlent and was sold off.
This is but a very brief review, but if you'd like to read about RI's rich history in more details, there are plenty of reources on the net including this one...