Rock Island Memory

Discussion relating to The Chicago & North Western, the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad (Milwaukee Road), including mergers, acquisitions, and abandonments.

Moderator: Komachi

Posts: 106
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 12:38 pm
Location: North Little Rock, Arkansas

Rock Island Memory

Post by fauxcelt »

Before the Rock Island filed for bankruptcy in 1980, there was a place in Little Rock, Arkansas between Third Street and Seventh Street where the Rock Island tracks crossed the Missouri Pacific tracks. This crossing was a few blocks west of the state capitol.
When I was in high school in the 1970's, I had to catch the bus every morning at a spot on Seventh Street which was close to this crossing. I usually tried to get to the bus stop early so I could do some train watching while I waited for the bus to arrive. One morning, when I arrived at the bus stop, I saw a northbound freight train on the Missouri Pacific tracks which was stopped and not going anywhere. The two engines at the front of the train were running but the train was not moving. After a few minutes, I learned why this train was not moving. An eastbound Rock Island train appeared from the west headed for the crossing. Apparently, the Missouri Pacific train was waiting on the Rock Island train to cross over the tracks before proceeding north. The Rock Island train had just one engine and if I remember correctly it was an EMD "E" unit (maybe an E8?). This Rock Island engine did not sound as robust and as strong as the two engines on the Missouri Pacific train. It sounded weak--as if it was likely to die and stop at any minute. However, the Rock Island train made it through the crossing and headed on south through central Little Rock. The Missouri Pacific train was about to start again and move on north when the bus arrived and I had to go to school.
Before the Rock Island filed for bankruptcy and the tracks were removed, the Rock Island and the Missouri Pacific ran side by side right through central Little Rock. The Missouri Pacific tracks are still there and are part of the Union Pacific now but the Rock Island tracks are long gone.


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