The ROCK's Named Diesels

This is a preliminary list of named Rock Island diesels, compiled from various postings to the RITS list server by George Davison and Bill Pollard, with input from Richard Campbell, Eliot Keller, Wes Leatherock, Dick Tinder, Matt Willett, and others. Additional information or corrections on any locomotive name would be greatly appreciated; information may be posted to the RITS list or mailed.

The general premise of the 4300s name series was "friends of the Rock Island." The politicians so honored had been supportive of the Rock Island in some fashion, often in the course of the railroad's efforts to obtain funding to rehabilitate track or equipment. The same can PROBABLY be said for the cities and states listed, since not every RI state appears (Colorado and Tennessee are absent, for example) and since many major RI cities did not have locomotives named for them (Memphis, Oklahoma City, Denver, Dallas, Kansas City, St. Louis, etc.) As in the case of the politicians, the cities (and states) were honored for efforts on behalf of the railroad in the form of "official" support for RI efforts to secure loans, etc. A few diesels other than the 4300 series GP38-2's were also named. Although not in the same series, these locomotives are also included at the end of this list.

The GP38-2s were the first new motive power on the Rock Island since 1973. They came from Electro-Motive in the "new image" blue and white paint scheme. The first order of GP-38s arrived from EMD in 1976, about one year after the Rock Island had filed for bankruptcy. The first order consisted of units 4300 to 4314, which were delivered during August and September 1976, and units 4315 to 4355, which came to the road between September and November 1976. A second group of GP38-2s, units 4368 through 4379, were delivered in November 1978. These units were the road power that kept the Rock Island moving after it filed for reorganization by the United States District Court sitting in bankruptcy.

4300 - The Rock Islander - a well deserved tribute to the often beleaguered employees of the railroad

4301 - John L. McClellan - U.S. Senator, Arkansas, and a strong advocate for maintaining a viable Rock Island

4302 - Dewey F. Bartlett - Governor of Oklahoma (later U.S. Senator)

4303 - Iowa -- State of Iowa. The Rock Island had a significant presence in Iowa, and Des Moines was a major junction between east-west and north-south mainlines. (Dick Tinder has prepared extensive information about Short Line Junction.)
Images at Short Line Yard courtesy George Davison
Iowa, Missouri and others
Iowa with Missouri

4304 - The Loyal Shipper -- recognition of shippers who had stayed with the railroad despite its problems, and shippers who had lobbied for loans to assist the railroad.

4305 - City of Muscatine -- community south and west of Davenport on the Golden State line

The route serving Muscatine was originally acquired by the Milwaukee Road when the Rock Island shut down, then became part of CP Rail (Canadian Pacific). As of early 1997, the line is in the process of being sold again, to the same group that owns Montana Rail Link.

4306 - City of Atlantic -- about 70 miles west of Des Moines, where the Audubon branch joined the main line

4307 - Railway Age -- Industry trade journal which was generally supportive of the Rock Island's efforts to rebuild the railroad

4308 - Oklahoma -- State of Oklahoma

The Rock Island entered what is now the State of Oklahoma (then Indian Territory) from Kansas in 1888. By the end of 1889, the railroad was in El Reno (Fort Reno), and had been extended to Minco, I.T. in early 1890. The Rock Island gained an east-west presence in Oklahoma through the purchase of the Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf Railroad in 1902. The CO&G crossed the Rock Island at El Reno, and the town soon became a major junction point with extensive yards and shop facilities.

4309 - Kansas -- State of Kansas

Construction of Rock Island track in the State of Kansas began in 1886 under the direction of Marcus A. Low, who had been the railroad's attorney at the division point of Trenton, Missouri. The lines began in St. Joseph, MO, using trackage rights of the St. Joseph and Grand Island to cross the Missouri River. Rock Island construction began at Elwood, KS, with large segments of track being completed in 1886 and 1887. Construction took place under the name of the Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railroad. Rock Island's Kansas trackage headed in several directions: Oklahoma (then, known as Indian Territory) and Texas; Colorado Springs, CO; and El Paso, TX. Caldwell, KS on the "Mid-Continent" line was reached on December 1887; by February 26, 1888 tracks on the "Golden State" route were in place to Liberal, KS; and the line to Colorado Springs, CO was completed by November 5, 1888 (see Iron Road to Empire, by William Edward Hayes, pp. 113 - 120)

4310 - The American Railfan -- the Rock Island's recognition that people outside the rail industry were among the railroad's most vocal supporters

4311 - Richard F. Drake -- Iowa state senator, long time chairman of Iowa Senate transportation committee. Drake, a Republican, was an important figure in getting state funds to help "Save the Rock" and preserve various branch lines (particularly grain gathering lines) in Iowa.

4312 - James H. Windsor III -- Jim Windsor, of Des Moines, served on a number of Iowa committees which were formed to help keep the Rock Island in operation. He was a Rock Island stockholder, is is a photographer and railfan.

4313 - Glenn L. English -- U.S. Representative, Oklahoma

4314 - Martin A. Russo - U.S. Representative, Illinois (district included Blue Island). Russo was involved in obtaining financial assistance for the Rock Island during the bankruptcy years.

4315 - David P. Morgan -- longtime editor of "Trains" magazine.

4316 - Garland L. Rucker -- mayor of Herington, Kansas in mid 1970's. He supported the railroad's efforts to survive as the RI was Herington's major employer.

4317 - Charles O. Laverty -- owner and operator of large grain elevator (Laverty Elevator) in Indianola, Iowa -- served by the Indianola branch. [see #4332 -- The Indianola Branch]

4318 - David L. Boren -- governor of Oklahoma (later U.S. Senator)

4319 - Illinois -- State of Illinois

The Rock Island and La Salle Rail Road Company was chartered by the legislature of the state of Illinois on February 27, 1847, and given the authority to build from Rock Island to an Illinois River connection with the Illinois and Michigan Canal. The charter was amended in 1851 to allow the company to build from Chicago to Rock Island. The first Rock Island train, pulled by an American-type 4-4-0 named "Rocket," left Chicago for Joliet on October 10, 1852. Regular Rock Island service began October 18, 1852 and continued until shutdown in March 1980, a service period of almost one hundred and twenty eight years.

4320 - Arkansas -- State of Arkansas

After the Reid-Moore Syndicate gained control of the Rock Island in 1901, the company began an aggressive expansion effort. One of the first major acquisitions, in mid-1902, was the Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf Railroad, which was operating a route from Memphis, Tennessee, through Arkansas and Oklahoma (Indian Territory) to Amarillo, Texas. The Memphis & Little Rock Railroad was the oldest segment of the Choctaw, having been chartered by the Arkansas General Assembly in 1853. Segments of the M&LR were in operation by the time of the Civil War, but the entire route was not completed until 1871. The Memphis & Little Rock was acquired by a subsidiary of the Choctaw in 1898, and new construction closed the gap between the eastern end of the CO&G (at Wister, I.T.) and the western end of the Memphis & Little Rock.

4321 - Texas -- State of Texas

4322 - City of Herington -- important Kansas division point on the Golden State route, and junction with the north-south "Mid-Continent" line to El Reno and Ft. Worth. Herington came into being as a result of a "deal" between M.D. Herington and Marcus A. Low, the Rock Island attorney who was overseeing construction of the Kansas lines. Original surveys reportedly did not pass through Herington, but after the offer of free land, the survey route was changed, and Herington became an important division point on the Rock Island.

4323 - City of El Reno -- important Oklahoma division point and junction of east/west (Choctaw/Sunbelt Route) mainline and north/south (Mid-Continent Route) mainline.

A large yard and major locomotive and car shop facilities were located at El Reno, and in the 1920s, a large brick division office building was constructed just south of the passenger station. This office housed dispatchers for most Oklahoma lines, and (after the mid-1960s) housed the Arkansas division dispatchers as well. A tremendous part of the El Reno economy was directly or indirectly tied to the Rock Island, and the shutdown of the railroad dealt the region a severe blow from which it has not yet fully recovered. The RI shops and yards at El Reno, as of 1997, are a rusting wasteland, a derelict reminder of a now vanished giant. The city's economy was affected by the ripple effects of the Rock island's demise to the point that the local newspaper no longer publishes on a daily basis.
Image at Short Line Yard courtesy George Davison
City of El Reno

4324 - Jerry L. Litton -- U.S. Representative, Missouri (district included Trenton, MO and area north and east of Kansas City which was served by Golden State route.) A successful cattleman who introduced the Charloit breed of cattle to north Missouri, Litton died in an airplane crash at the Chillicothe airport on the night that he won the Democratic primary for United States Senator.

4325 - Nebraska -- State of Nebraska

4326 - Missouri -- State of Missouri
Images at Short Line Yard courtesy George Davison

4327 - Minnesota -- State of Minnesota

4328 - City of Silvis -- A city located on the western Illinois border, the site of a large yard and the Rock Island's primary locomotive shops.
Images at Short Line Yard courtesy George Davison
City of Silvis
City of Silvis - from pedestrian walkway

4329 -- City of Blue Island -- Chicago suburb and yard, importing staging area for Chicago suburban train service.

4330 -- Carl B. Albert -- U.S. Representative, Oklahoma (district included McAlester). A powerful member of Congress, and an advocate for the Rock Island.

4331 -- Robert D. Ray -- the Governor of Iowa -- after shut down, he made a special trip to the Des Moines yard where his locomotive had been cut out so that photos could be made with him on board
Images at Short Line Yard courtesy George Davison
Robert D. Ray
Robert D. Ray
Robert D. Ray

4332 -- The Indianola Branch -- Iowa branch rehabilitated with shipper financial assistance. [Also see #4317 -- Charles O. Laverty]

4333 -- Audubon Branch -- one of the first lines rehabilitated in Iowa, extending from Atlantic to Audubon. The line survived into the Iowa Interstate era, but most of the tracks on the branch were dismantled in 1996 after declines in traffic made ongoing bridge maintenance unwise from a cost-benefit ratio.

4334 -- Iowa Falls Gateway Shippers Association -- this was a group in North Central Iowa [a large grain growing area] who contributed money to rehabilitate lines serving their elevators.

4335 -- David Pryor -- Governor of Arkansas (later U.S. Senator)

4336 -- City of Rock Island -- Illinois city on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River where the Rock Island originated and gained its name.

Plans were first discussed in 1845 to build a railroad from Rock Island to either LaSalle or Peru, Illinois, in order to provide a connection to the Illinois & Michigan Canal and the Illinois River. A charter for the railroad was granted by the Illinois General Assembly on February 27, 1847. Rock Island residents, with assistance from key members of the Davenport community, kept the idea alive, contracted with Henry Farnam and Joseph Sheffield to build the railroad, and on February 7, 1851 obtained an amended charter to allow the railroad to build from Chicago to Rock Island.

4337 -- City of Davenport -- Iowa city located on the west bank of the Mississippi River, opposite Rock Island, Illinois.

4338 -- City of Moline-- Illinois city adjacent to Rock Island, Illinois; (one of the "Quad Cities -- Rock Island and Moline, Illinois, and Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa.)

4339 -- City of Enid -- Oklahoma crew change point, on north/south line north of El Reno

Enid is located at mile post 341.8 (as measured from St. Joseph, Missouri). According to William Edward Hays in Iron Road to Empire, the town was originally known as Skeleton. It is believed that the name Enid was taken by a construction engineer who read the book Idylls of the King. Hays remarked that, "Certainly, Skeleton wouldn't look very civilized as a name on a railroad station. Enid sounded exceedingly lovely." Following the Oklahoma land rush, Enid was one of the towns involved in the Great Railroad War. To combat skulduggery on the part of the Rock Island and members of the Cherokee tribe to control townsites around existing depots, the United States government directed that townsites be located three miles from existing depots. Settlers in Enid assumed the Rock Island would re-locate its depot to the thriving community. TheRock Island refused and a shooting war erupted, ending only when someone sawed the timbers on a bridge over Boggy Creek. The locomotive and tender of the next train made it over, but the bridge buckled under the weight of the trailing cars and the locomotive and tender were pulled into the creek. The depot was then moved to "downtown" Enid.

4340 -- Neal Smith -- U.S. Representative, Iowa (district includes Altoona, in central Iowa). Smith, a resident of Altoona, was instrumental in obtaining federal and state funds to assist the Rock Island.

4341 -- Modern Railroads -- Industry trade magazine which editorially supported RI efforts for rehabilitation loans

4342 -- Allen E. Arnold -- ??

4343 -- City of Little Rock -- hub of Arkansas division and site of Biddle shops.

Little Rock was the headquarters of the Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf after that railroad began through service between Oklahoma and Memphis in December 1899. An ornate passenger station was constructed by the CO&G to highlight their new (but short lived) presence in Little Rock. The station, complete with a large stone marquee proclaiming "The Choctaw Route," served until the end of Rock Island passenger service to Little Rock in 1967. The building still stands (now a nightclub), one of the few reminders of the Rock Island. Extensive yards and a roundhouse were constructed at Biddle, on the south edge of Little Rock, but all Rock Island structures were razed after shutdown.

4344 -- Fred McKim -- manager of West Bend Elevator in northwest Iowa, a major shipper of corn and soybeans. McKim was instrumental in getting Rock Island financial assistance from shippers.

4345 -- Ivan the Terrible -- nickname of Ivan E. Summa, general manager of Superior Cooperative Elevator Company in Superior, Iowa.

4346 -- Senior Traveling Freight Agent -- recognized John W. Barriger, the widely respected rail official who was brought aboard to help turn the Rock Island around. The locomotive was to be named for Barriger, but he requested this name as an alternative.

4346 -- Navaho Nation -- after John Barriger's death, locomotive 4346 was renamed Navaho Nation in June 1977. Navaho track crews, particularly rail relay gangs, handled much of the rebuilding efforts on the Sunbelt [Choctaw Route] line, and the Golden State line. GP7 #4424 was named John W. Barriger III during or after its repainting in blue/white scheme in September 1976.

4347 -- Tom Railsback -- U.S. Representative, Illinois (district included Rock Island & Silvis)

4348 -- Tom Foster -- engine watchman and one-man RI booster club at Haskell and Malvern, Arkansas who retired on August 31, 1965 after 45 years of service. Foster later (1974) wrote a book Forty-five Years on the Rock Island Line.

Soon after locomotive 4348 was delivered, it was brought to Malvern where a ceremony recognized Tom Foster's dedication and loyalty to the railroad. This event, which received little media exposure outside the immediate area, was one example of how the Rock Island was (usually) a "people oriented railroad." The ceremony and recognition meant quite a lot to Tom Foster, and was arranged on that basis, despite the fact that it didn't really contribute much to the Rock Island in terms of publicity or the bottom line.

4349 -- Robert Krause -- politician ?

4350 -- Mike Lemke -- 4350 was named after Mike Lemke, General Manager of Klemme COOP. The people who brought us the pink covered hoppers. There was an article about him and unit grain train service in one of the early 1970's employee magazines.

4351 -- City of Albert Lea -- junction point just north of the Iowa-Minnesota line on the "Albert Lea Route"

4352 -- John W. Ingram -- former FRA official who was selected as president and CEO of the RI on 1 November 1974, in the hope that he could expedite efforts to get federal loans for the railroad. (In hindsight, his presence may well have hindered efforts to secure the loans, due to hard feelings and personality clashes with other top FRA officials.) Ingram was retained as president by the bankruptcy trustee, once the railroad entered bankruptcy on 17 March 1975, serving in that capacity until a matter of months prior to shutdown in March 1980.

4353 -- Nicholas C. Manos -- attorney for RI bankrupcy trustee William Gibbons

4354 -- Frank J. McGarr -- Illinois attorney who was appointed a Federal judge in 1970, presided over the Rock Island bankruptcy, and made the final decision on 25 January 1980 that the property could not be reorganized and should be liquidated.

4355 -- William M. Gibbons -- selected to serve as bankruptcy trustee by Judge McGarr. Gibbons, an attorney for 28 years, knew nothing about railroads, but had attended Loyola in the 1930s with McGarr and had practiced law with McGarr from 1963-1970. He was reportedly offered the trustee job after two men with railroad experience had turned McGarr down. Gibbons fought to keep the railroad alive, but once the decision was made to liquidate, many considered his actions on behalf of stockholders to be unnecessarily heavy-handed and confrontational.

4356 - 4367 These locomotives were ordered but never delivered, due to the collapse of financing arrangements. It is currently unknown whether or not the Rock Island had any preliminary plans to assign names to these units.

4368-4371 Unnamed. When financing was finally arranged, numbers 4368-4379 were assigned, leaving a 12-unit gap in the GP38-2 roster. The reasoning behind the decision to leave a numbering gap in this locomotive series is currently unknown.

4372 -- Great American (data?)

4373 - 4375 were not named

4376 -- P.H. Kuyper -- member of the family in Pella, Iowa, that owned Pella Rollscreen, the window manufacturer, a major shipper.

4377 - 4379 -- not named

The GP38-2s were not the only named locomotives during the bankruptcy years, as a number of seemingly random units in the railroad's "capital rebuild program" also received names, as did two slugs which were constructed at Silvis from retired diesels.

GP7 - GP9 rebuild units which were named [information needed on names, and dates that names were applied.]

4424 -- John W. Barriger III (see discussion of 4346)
4478 -- C.W. "Charlie" McLaron
4483:2 -- Wayne Hummer
4485:2 -- Manly Centennial (Manly, Iowa)
4500 -- Rock Island Locomotive Engineers
4554 -- Winnebago
4555 -- Shawnee Miller

Slugs which were named:

284 -- The Great American Energy Saver
Images at Short Line Yard courtesy Dick Tinder
Energy Saver
Energy Saver
998 -- Dedicated to the Silvis Shop Employees
Dedicated to the Silvis Shop Employees Courtesy of Allen Rider
999 -- Pride of Armourdale (assigned to Armourdale yard)
Images at Short Line Yard courtesy George Davison
Pride of Armourdale
Pride of Armourdale