There are a few railroads that haven't been very interesting to me. I am sure that is the case with many modelers. Usually the reason for me is simply a disconnection. I don't dislike the railroad, it just doesn't excite me in anyway. Over the years my opinion sometimes changes and usually the cause is when I physically visit a location on that particular railroad. This happened to me a few years ago with the Rock Island.
Not long ago I was in the Oklahoma City area with a friend. We drove out to El Reno because I enjoy visiting smaller cities when the opportunity rises. My friend knew that the Rock Island had shops there and so we went looking to see what remained. The shops, now long derelict, were a shell of the their former glory but still impressive. This visit sparked an interest in me for something that was just some railroad that had failed in 1980, to something that was real and had an interesting past. I have no plans to model the Rock Island but I now have an interest and respect for the railroad.
ExactRail has proudly recreated a fraction of that past with a handful of HO & N scale freight cars. Below are the examples we have produced so far.
BERWICK 7327 BOXCAR HO SCALE
EVANS-USRE 5277 BOXCAR HO & N SCALE
P-S 5344 BOXCAR HO SCALE
PS-2CD 4427 COVERED HOPPER HO SCALE
THRALL 2244 15-PANEL GONDOLA - HEAVY TOP CHORD HO SCALE
VERT-A-PAC AUTORACK HO SCALE
I was lucky enough to live in the OKC area when the Rock went bust. Several of us members of the Crossroads Model Railroad Club (since disbanded) got permission to get into the yards when all the remaining diesels were hauled there. Saw every paint scheme except the “cigar band”. There were also several different classes of rolling stock there. I now am back in the OKC area and it sure is a shame to see the yards now. Long live the Rock Island.
The Rock Island line was a mighty good road. The Rock Island line was the road to ride.
Hats off to Exactrail once again. The only manufacturer to significantly recognize one of the most fantastic railroads having ever existed. While many have produced samples of the Rock’s rollings stock over the years, no one has ever featured their equipment (1960’s-late 1970’s) at the quality level you have. Your freight car choices have been both timely and appropriate. Undoubtedly some of the most popular and significant in the Rock’s Islands large car fleet. What modeler or rail historian couldn’t appreciate a railroad with such a colorful collection of eclectic locomotives and rollings stock? A great variety. The diversity of their freight operations from the decade of the 1960’s to the end of the 1970’s featured lot’s of variety. From long manifests and drag freights to unit grain trains and priority intermodal symbols. Even participation in the famed Ford FAST and ARRO (#57) Auto Part trains “hotshots” that ran from Detroit stamping plants to the delivery at California assembly lines of Ford and General Motors. Routes from Minneapolis to Houston, Memphis to Tucumcari, South Chicago to Denver their freight interchange was complex and colorful. From the simple “Indian Turtle” outlined herald presented in the late 1930’s on Tuscan Red to 30’ tall block letters in the 1960’s on Plain Gray. A 1970’s forty two inch “speed” lettering font succeed by several thousand cars dressed in the 1975 “Big R” schemes Ingram Blue. At the time of their final bankruptcy and liquidation (March of 1980) they rostered just under 30,000 total freight cars in all these schemes. Multifaceted? Multifarious? Maybe just plain multiplicity. All apt descriptions of the awesome Rock Island right to the end. So a kudos goes to you guys at Exactrail. Your products have once again comprehended and interpreted the goodness we all appreciate in a fabulous scale model. Blaine, Chris and company your stuff is exceptional. Thank you guys. Keep it coming.
Any more cool stuff coming soon in Blue? Your PS 4427’s or PS 50ft boxes? How about a reissue of the stacked “Rock Island” grey covered hopper again? Anything with a RI or ROCK reporting mark? Lot’s of us are waiting.
Thanks to your blog, I now have another stop to add to my dream trip to North Platte. In the reference to the engine colors in other posts, I’m assuming you are referring to the diesels. I have come to respect the diesels but my real love is steam. We do HO on the big layout and I do suitcase layouts with N (so I can easily take them with me, even when I travel so I’m with Allen—more N scale!!!). My grandfather was head telegrapher for the Rock in Kansas City and my mother worked the telephone switchboard there to work her way through college. It really is in my blood, even though my significant engineer prefers another line. We like Exact Rail products and are looking forward to hearing more from this blog.
Knew he Rock Island when it came to Houston to New South Yard . It came in on what was called the BRI (Burlington Rock Island) .The trains had locomotives painted three different colors Maroon and white ,Red and white , and finally Blue and white. This was the very southern tip of the Rock . Years later over in Louisiana east of Alexandria on the long gone Rock found a depot and the yard office . The Yard office was a boxcar and in it was a box of Rock Island crew record books that would never be used by crews . Rock had shut down about 6 years prior the KCS was using the track .
A nice batch of Rock Island cars for sure.
Too bad there is only one N scale version…;(
Hint hint….PS-2CD 4427 COVERED HOPPER in N scale
gary wiseI am from originally from okla. and model rock island before the blue-white scheme I have been to el reno many may times when I was young
Rickey j griffin
How about the mop Katy and kcs
I am an avid Rock Island fan and Modeler. I own the entire sets of all these cars produced. My biggest disappointment was the gondola having a steel floor when it is marked with the “W” in a circle as having a wood floor. The prototype cars had wood floors. Nothing was ever done to correct this. Not even a wood laser cut deck to be popped in.
Leave a comment
Comments will be approved before showing up.
June 12, 2016
My great-grandfather was called Highball Johnson in Iowa, Coca-Cola Johnson in Kansas. His given name was Hiram. According to my grandmother, now long gone, as a little girl she’d wait by the track as the train slowed to enter Pratt and she’d run up and Highball would swing her onto the train. Great story, accurate or not. There’s always something Rock on my layouts.