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Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad

The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad (the Rock Island Line, or, in the final years, THE ROCK) was a railroad in the United States. 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.

Table of contents
1 Territory
2 Passenger Trains
3 Song
4 External links
5 See Also


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 northly 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; Herrington, 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.

Passenger Trains

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).


A song called The Rock Island Line memorializes the railroad. Versions were done by Huddie Ledbetter and Lonnie Donegan.

External links

See Also