Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Rock Island Rockets.

Now that I have a few more E's and F units in the works and being painted I had a thought to replace my Amtrak set with an actual Rock Island passenger train?

My thought was to do something similar to this, a west bound Cornbelt Rocket in route to Council Bluffs / Omaha while passing the diamonds at Joliet, IL.

This is what the mighty Rocky Mountain Rocket had been reduced to by 1966.
Basically it was nothing more than a glorified mail train with a few baggage cars and coaches thrown on the end behind a few TOFC's.

I grabbed a few cars to see what they might look like and to see if they would fit the sidings or not.

As I was trying to justify a couple of these trains on the layout, I just couldn't get things to sound legit.  The kicker was most mail and package express service ended around 1969-1970.  So after quite a bit of fussing and discussing I opted not to go quite this route.

What I think I will do though is something even more forlorn. I think what most mail trains eventually became were nothing more than solid TOFC's?  At least it sounds more legit and looks a little better.  Since this section of track is Dark Territory, I might even require a crummy on the end?

I think I'll keep the same size of train with 8-10 cars behind a pair or trio of units and assign them as a Red Ball or Rocket Freight.  This will keep it as a priority train. Now as for passenger cars, I will toss on a 1-3 coaches and a converted baggage car with HEP.  This will eliminate the need for home road cars that needed special piping to carry the steam or power to the coaches like they did on the Cornbelt Rocket. Yeah, I could have placed the coaches on the head of the train, but...

By the end, The Cornbelt Rocket was reduced to the Quad Cities Rocket running from Chicago to Rock Island, IL.  and The Rock was running this train for nothing more than a convenience service for the state of Illinois.  With that in mind, I think I will just say that the states of Arkansas and Louisiana required some sort of minimal passenger service to be maintained as well.  So a few tired old coaches were tagged on to the end of the TOFC's and were called good.

This will still require a station stop at El Dorado adding a bit more operations on the layout as well as a possible meet on the line?  A stretch, but it works. 

I think I might also try to pick up a couple of special cars that I can place on the trains from time to time or when I back date the session once in awhile.  

These would be a converted troop train car like this from Skytop Models.

And if I can still find one, a Wheels Of Time 70' HW Arched roof baggage car.

So will the Rockets still defy Discontinuance?  Stay tuned...


  1. Sounds like a nice plan Allen. It's good to add some different trains as long as it feels real for the time period that you are modeling. I was always looking for another road that could interchange with the SFRSD but alas it never came to fruition.
    Took a lot of video yesterday as two of the lads came over for the day so I could at least get some done. Auction of the house tomorrow morning.
    Have a good day and get that kitchen finished for Lisa.

  2. I think they should add some visual and operational interest to the layout. Since they're basically intermodel, they should feel and fit good.

    Hope the auction went well?
    I'm working on it, don't rush me, lol!