The Rock Island Line

The Rock Island Line

Marvel, Bill
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/01/2013
Format: Hardback 104 color illus., 42 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-01127-5
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This richly illustrated volume tells the story of a legendary railroad whose tracks spanned the Midwest, serving farms and small-town America for more than 140 years. One of the earliest railroads to build westward from Chicago, it was the first to span the Mississippi, advancing the frontier, bringing settlers into the West, and hauling their crops to market. Rock Island’s celebrated Rocket passenger trains also set a standard for speed and service, with suburban runs as familiar to Windy City commuters as the Loop. For most of its existence, the Rock battled competitors much larger and richer than itself and when it finally succumbed, the result was one of the largest business bankruptcies ever. Today, as its engines and stock travel the busy main lines operated by other carriers, the Rock Island Line lives on in the hearts of those whom it employed and served.

Author Bio

Bill Marvel has been a newspaper journalist and freelance writer for 49 years. He is author (with R. V. Burgin) of Islands of the Damned: A Marine at War in the Pacific, a main selection of the History Book Club.


This is a superior book and will appeal to a wide range of readers including business history, transportation historians, Rock Island fans, rail enthusiasts, and general readers.A concise, factual, and highly readable account of a major Midwestern freight and passenger railroad.

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Table of Contents

Introduction & Acknowledgments
Chapter 1 The Bridge
Chapter 2 A Bend in the Road
Chapter 3 A Rocky Road
Chapter 4 Planned Progress
Chapter 5 The Road to Ride
Chapter 6 The Road to Ruin
Epilogue: Pieces of the Rock

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