“The Rock Island Line was a Mighty Fine Line”

The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad was a former Class I railroad that operated over 7,600 miles in 14 states including Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas, from 1852 until 1980. The railroad was commonly known as the “Rock Island.” This giant, rich agricultural and industrial “mid-continent empire” was at one time criss-crossed by a fleet of eight streamlined Rock Island “Rockets” and an even greater number of daily scheduled “Rocket freights.” When the entire Rock Island Rail System was abandoned in 1980, it was one of the most complicated and time-consuming undertakings in the annals of rail history.

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