The Rock Island Line

( 1 )

Overview

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 ...

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The Rock Island Line

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Overview

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.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

John Spychalski

"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." —John Spychalski, Emeritus, Pennsylvania State University

William J. Watt

"A concise, factual, and highly readable account of a major Midwestern freight and passenger railroad." —William J. Watt, author of The Pennsylvania Railroad in Indiana

From the Publisher
"A concise, factual, and highly readable account of a major Midwestern freight and passenger railroad." —William J. Watt, author of The Pennsylvania Railroad in
Indiana

"Marvel's fine balance between photos and a concise telling of the Rock Island's long history will strongly appeal to both rail fans and general readers interested in railroad history."
—Library Journal

Model Railroad News

"The image selection is impressive and makes this title worthy of purchase.... The Rock Island Line is a great combination of a typical history book and color guide in one release." —Model Railroad News

Lexington Quarterly

"Bill Marvel's The Rock Island Line is a breezy and captivating short history of the Rock Island Railroad from its inception in the 1850s until its liquidation in 1980. Heavily illustrated with photographs from a diverse cross section of the Rock Island itself, the book makes for a pleasing introduction to history of a railroad which was always one railroad too many, serving an area other railroads served, usually by a more direct route." —Lexington Quarterly

Library Journal
11/15/2013
Newspaper and railroad writer Marvel's illustrated history of the Rock Island Line spans the railroad's existence from its planning in 1845 through its growth phase, financial upheavals, reorganizations, and finally to its 1980 liquidation. He concentrates on the railroad's business developments as it adjusted routes, equipment, and services to compete. As Marvel says, "The Rock Island was usually not the shortest, nor the fastest, nor the most prosperous railroad between the cities it served. So it had to try harder." He includes several interesting sidebars such as the railroad's hiring of Abraham Lincoln as the attorney to defend it after a steamboat hit its bridge over the Mississippi River. There are 150 outstanding color and black-and-white photographs with many occupying full spreads. Although the photos don't always relate to the surrounding text, the lengthy captions provide a wealth of supplementary information. VERDICT Marvel's fine balance between photos and a concise telling of the Rock Island's long history will strongly appeal to both rail fans and general readers interested in railroad history. Gregory Schneider's in-depth business history, reviewed below, will be preferred by specialists and those seeking details on the Rock Island's last years.—Lawrence Maxted, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253011275
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 7/30/2013
  • Series: Railroads Past and Present Series
  • Pages: 180
  • Sales rank: 413,228
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

Indiana University Press

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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
Notes
Resources
Index

Indiana University Press

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2014

    Franks bio

    Age 14 appearence "5'9" strong built slim tanned with green sea blue eyes and rusty brown hair wears a cloak position skilled ranger crush none gf none history .....very mixed up

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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