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For nearly 80 years, the Rock Island was a major railroad in Arkansas providing passenger and freight services. A decline in rail travel after World War II and an increase in trucks hauling freight over government-subsidized interstates were among factors that left the railroad struggling. Efforts to merge with other railroads were stalled for years by federal regulators. The Rock Island filed for bankruptcy in 1975 and attempted a reorganization, but creditors wanted the assets liquidated, with a judge shutting it down in 1980. Most of the tracks that traversed the state were taken up, but a few relics, like the Little Rock passenger station and the Arkansas River bridge, remain as monuments to this once great railroad.
This edition lists nearly 600 shortline and regional railroads in the United States and Canada. Includes the history, radio frequency, locomotive roster and other information for each line as well as diesel profiles and a listing of past shortlines.
The Grand Western Railroad Game By: Robert S. Farnsworth The Grand Western Railroad Game by Robert S. Farnsworth is a fascinatingly detailed story of the historical importance of Western railroads. It has been meticulously written to educate the reader on the intricacies involved in the creation and growth of the Rock Island System over the “Empire Years.” The railroad’s premium passenger train service even inspired the popular song “The Rock Island Line is a Mighty Fine Line.” To quote the author, “I wrote this book, not from just the viewpoint of a rail fan, hundreds of whom have diligently photographically documented the railroad’s passage through time, but from the viewpoint of a former employee and from the insights gained from a broad education in both the university and in the experience of a practiced transportation planner. I hope that the reader will learn from the stories told here that the workers tried valiantly to do their jobs, that the line’s managers were forced to play with the hand that was dealt to them from a less than full deck, and that investors expected to get a reasonable return on the often gigantic sums paid into the corporation. “I hope that the information contained within these covers leads others toward more detailed studies of the railroads and of the conditions in which they survived, if not prospered.”
This richly illustrated volume tells the story of a legendary railroad whose tracks spanned the Midwest, serving farms and small-town America for more than 140 years. One of the earliest railroads to build westward from Chicago, it was the first to span the Mississippi, advancing the frontier, bringing settlers into the West, and hauling their crops to market. Rock Island’s celebrated Rocket passenger trains also set a standard for speed and service, with suburban runs as familiar to Windy City commuters as the Loop. For most of its existence, the Rock battled competitors much larger and richer than itself and when it finally succumbed, the result was one of the largest business bankruptcies ever. Today, as its engines and stock travel the busy main lines operated by other carriers, the Rock Island Line lives on in the hearts of those whom it employed and served.
The popular Rock Island Railroad stretched from Chicago to Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas with passenger and freight service, and included the Peoria Rocket, Des Moines Rocket, Quad City Rocket, Texas Rocket, Kansas City Rocket, Twin Star Rocket, Zephyr-Rocket, Rocky Mountain Rocket, the flagship Golden State between Chicago and Los Angeles, and suburban commuter service in Chicago. Included are system map, timetables, travel brochures and full-color section of Rock Island depots and stations.

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