Rock Island E8ARock Island E8A

Rock Island E8A acquisitions came on five groups: 643 (8-49) was ex-EMD demo #952; 644-649 came in June & July, 1951, also with horizontal upper side grilles. 650-655 came in February & March, 1952 with vertical (Farr-Air) grilles as well as later acquistions. 656 came in December 1953 as a wreck "rebuild" of E6A 627 (see RITS ROCK newsletter #65); 657-661 came as ex-UP units in 1969. All but the last group were painted in maroon, crimson & aluminum white. 652 had the distinction of the being the Rock's bicentennial unit in 1976. It was also privately purchased and operates in Baldwin City, Kansas (in maroon, orange & argent paint, though).

Rock Island TARock Island TA

In the midst of bankruptcy like many other Depression-era roads, the Rock Island gambled on a new set of streamlined lightweight passenger trains to return them to profitability. Leading each train set was a new TA model from EMC. 601-606 were delivered in 1937 with Winton diesel engines rated at twelve hundred horses, thus the T designation. They also introduced the attractive ROCKET paint scheme of maroon, crimson and stainless steel. They were retired in 1957-58.

Rocky Mountain RocketRocky Mountain Rocket

To handle a larger train from Chicago to Denver than a TA could handle, the Rock Island acquired E3A units 625-626 to power the new streamlined Rocky Mountain Rocket introduced on 11-12-39. Only on the Rock were E3A units tapered on the rear roof to match the train set. Otherwise, the E3A was the first mass-produced model in the industry, thus changing the industry. This publicity photo was taken at Englewood, Illinois.

Rock Island RS-1Rock Island RS-1

The Rock Island literally invented the road switcher to help take them out of the Depression bankruptcy. The very first two RS-1 units from ALCO arrived in March, 1941 as RI 748 & 749. The next two units, RI 746 & 747, came in August, 1941. All were black with a red oval. All four units were requisitioned by the War Department for use in Turkey with C-C trucks as RSD-1 models. 746 is reportedly Navy 65-00532 in Earie, NJ and 747 is reportedly DOT #011 in Pueblo, CO.

Rock Island F7ARock Island F7A

In March, 1949, the first F7 models appeared on the Rock Island as 675-677 A-B units for use on passenger trains, most notable being the Twin Star Rocket. Thus, they had the Rocket paint of Maroon, Crimson & Aluminum White (ultra light gray) which was also used on E7 & E8 units. Ten F7 A-B-A sets were delivered for freight use two months later followed by four more sets in March, 1951.

Rock Island TARock Island TA

Used with permission of Trains Magazine, (c) Kalmbach Publishing Co.

Black and red Rock Island FARock Island FA

The Rock Island took delivery of 8 A-B-A sets of Alcos in September and October of 1948. They were placed in service with high-priority freight on the Kansas City-St Louis and Memphis-Amarillo mainlines. The FA-1s were originally numbered 145 through 160, and the FB-1s were 145B through 152B.
This rendering of an Alco FA unit was contributed to the RITS web site by Raymond L. Hatfield

Blue/gray Route Rock GP40-2Rock Island GP40-2

This scheme was introduced in 1982. After finishing the Capital Rebuilding Program of their GP-7, 9, 18's Rock bought two ex-B&M GP40-2 while theywere in the process of a Capital Rebuilding Program of their GP-40's, making them for the most part GP40-2 internally. The top brass finally figured out that the blue and white scheme was very susceptible to looking war torn and ragged only in a short time, so they opted for a darker color that would hold up to whatever mother nature and the lack of care by the mechanical crews could throw at them.

They kept the same paint scheme the blue and whites wore but replaced the white with blue and the blue with black (Although the black looks like a dark grey, I couldn't use black as I would loose all detail). They also sported new decals depicting the Route Rock lettering and a White R with a blue hexagon, similar to the new scheme alot of the rolling stock started to wear after 1978.
Picture and information contributed to the RITS web site by Allen Heimsoth