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Nostalgia & History > The Rock Island in Blue Island--1971


Date: 02/06/12 22:11
The Rock Island in Blue Island--1971
Author: DNRY122

Following the State Line tower area shots, I'll go to the south side of Chicago (but further south than the home of Bad Bad Leroy Brown) and post some pix for fans of the Rock Island Line. Riding the "Rock" was on the "A" list for "what to do in Chicago" ever since I heard the Lonnie Donegan and Stan Freberg versions of "The Rock Island Line" back in the 1950's (I also have the Johnny Cash and Leadbelly versions).

To reach Blue Island (keeping with our Chicago without an automobile theme), I took the Illinois Central Electric to its Blue Island terminal (and there's another story there). Since I hadn't had breakfast yet, I went to "beans" at the diner across the street from the Rock Island yard. While waiting for my order, the unit in Photo 1 showed up. I told the waitress, "I'll be right back" and dashed across the street for this shot of AB-6. One of the locals wondered about my excitement, saying, "That thing comes by here every day." To which I replied, "Yes, but I don't," and went on to explain my pilgrimage from Southern California.

1) One of two AB-6 units built for the Rocky Mountain Rocket. The train would go from Chicago to Limon, CO, where it would divide, one section going to Colorado Springs, the other going to Denver. Presumably the E-6 that was the "mate" to the AB-6 would take the Denver section. The "Rocket" was long gone by 1971, and this rare unit was in suburban service.

2) All that was left of the Rock Island long-distance service was this train from either Rock Island or Peoria.

3) And here comes my ride back to downtown Chi-town, a Rock Island suburban service train. This is now part of the Metra system. I think this train went up the "Suburban" line through Beverly Hills (IL not CA). Richard Kunz, in his "Chicago's Commuter Railroads", commented that the frequent stops were more like a light-rail or streetcar operation.








Date: 02/07/12 05:13
Re: The Rock Island in Blue Island--1971
Author: SD45X

Looks like the elevation in the curve on that last shot is out of whack:)



Date: 02/07/12 05:56
Re: The Rock Island in Blue Island--1971
Author: billio

SD45X Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Looks like the elevation in the curve on that last
> shot is out of whack:)

Probably was. When these pics were snapped, such was the state of the Rock's deteriorating finances that track maintenance had evolved from necessity to luxury -- and that applied in spades to commuter operations. A first-time rider could be pardoned for wondering, after his train began to roll, whether he'd boarded a train or a stagecoach...
Thanks for sharing.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/07/12 05:59 by billio.



Date: 02/07/12 07:17
Re: The Rock Island in Blue Island--1971
Author: Bob3985

In your first photo the 750 is on its train in the Blue Island Suburban coach yard ready to pull down to the depot and load for travel up the suburbans lines behind it. Both 750 and 751 served admirably in their suburban service.

In you second photo that is train number 5, the Quad Cities Rocket, as it has Mr. Butterworth's dome (Big Ben)on it.

Thanks for the great memories. I worked there from 1972-76 before heading west and enjoyed my time on the rolling museum that the Rock Island was for years.

Bob Krieger
Cheyenne, WY



Date: 02/07/12 09:01
Re: The Rock Island in Blue Island--1971
Author: bluesboyst

I like the Olds also.....Look at those chrome bumpers......Better than the cheap vinyl ones that crack today at the drop of a hat.



Date: 02/07/12 09:56
Re: The Rock Island in Blue Island--1971
Author: Out_Of_Service

SD45X Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Looks like the elevation in the curve on that last
> shot is out of whack:)

it's called reverse elevation when the so called high rail is lower than the so called low rail on a curve and doubles the likelihood of derailment and i'd guess there's a speed restriction to help keep that from happening



Date: 02/07/12 11:16
Re: The Rock Island in Blue Island--1971
Author: NYC_L4a

bluesboyst Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I like the Olds also.....Look at those chrome
> bumpers......Better than the cheap vinyl ones that
> crack today at the drop of a hat.

If you look closely you can see it's a 442 model. Always liked them.



Date: 02/07/12 11:51
Re: The Rock Island in Blue Island--1971
Author: DNRY122

That makes the car an "Olds Atlantic" (for the steam fans). My younger daughter has a yellow Olds convertible of the same era. She bought it from a fellow musician back in the 90's, and it was amazing how quickly news of her acquision spread to her friends in the local political arena--just the thing to ride in a parade!
And thanks for filling in on the "Quad Cities Rocket"--I may have a photo showing the observation car a little better.



Date: 02/07/12 12:29
Re: The Rock Island in Blue Island--1971
Author: NebraskaZephyr

That shot of 655 on the Quad City Rocket is of eastbound Train 6, crossing Vermont St. in Blue Island.

When Train 5 arrived at Rock Island, only the locomotive was turned and the baggage car moved to the head end, the rest of the train returned in reverse order with the seats turned by the coach cleaners. Thus the reason why Big Ben is right behind the bag running backwards.

Great images, thanks for sharing.

NZ



Date: 02/07/12 15:11
Re: The Rock Island in Blue Island--1971
Author: DavidP

DNRY122 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

>
> 1) One of two AB-6 units built for the Rocky
> Mountain Rocket. The train would go from Chicago
> to Limon, CO, where it would divide, one section
> going to Colorado Springs, the other going to
> Denver. Presumably the E-6 that was the "mate" to
> the AB-6 would take the Denver section. The
> "Rocket" was long gone by 1971, and this rare unit
> was in suburban service.
>
Cool stuff! When built, the AB-6s had only on 1000 HP engine and baggage compartment. The second prime mover was added later and the units were often sandwiched between two E6 or E7As on the Rocky Mountain Rocket.

Dave



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