One of railfandom's most popular railroads unceremoniously joined the ranks of Fallen Flags
at midnight on 31 March 1980. The 135-year-old Rock Island, which was known as much for its
eclectic locomotive roster as it was for an early red/white/black "rocket" attire, began to
dieselize in 1937. During the forty-plus years that followed, the 7000-mile railroad sampled
diesel power from all five major locomotive builders, plus a few from the catalogs of Davenport,
Lima and Whitcomb. Although the granger road was defunct, some of its diesel locomotives
went to work temporarily for other owners in mainline and short line service. In contrast,
many of the Rock's principal rail lines continued to carry tonnage long after the railroad's
demise. Part 1 presented here focuses on those lines.
Also this month, photographer Bill Kalkman dips into his extensive image collection to give us
an interesting perspective of EMD's highly popular SD45 freight hauler in action. You can
view his series of photographs by using the following link.