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Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad in northern Texas
and Oklahoma train picture gallery

Several railroads had routes between Kansas City and Fort Worth. The western most line was the Rock Island Railroad. The CRI&P followed the Chisholm Trail from Wichita, KS to El Reno. This line was completed in 1893. It continued building south toward the Red River. The Chicago, Rock Island and Texas Railway Company built north from Fort Worth, TX and met the line coming south in 1903.

At the beginning of 1917, the CRI&P had automatic block signals on 669 miles of single track and 287 miles of double track, plus 32 miles of single track of the 475 miles operated by the CRI&Gulf in Texas.

Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad locomotives

When I moved to Texas in 1978 I didn't realize how little time the Rock Island Railroad had left. If I had known, I would have spent more time documenting its operations. My usual routine was to go to the interlocking tower in Saginaw and wait for a westbound train. With two mainlines heading northwest from Saginaw you would think that it would be a 50-50 chance of catching a Rock Island train. However, in the late 70s, the Rock was running a lot of grain trains to the Texas Coast. The railroad served 1,680 grain elevators and quite of bit of the grain was being exported through the ports at Houston and Galveston. Even though the BN was handling a lot of coal trains out of the Powder River Basin for Texas, about three out of four times I caught a Rock Island train instead of a BN train. I'm thankful now that I had these opportunities to chase Rock Island trains. The clerks went on strike in August of 1979 and the Rock went into bankruptcy for the last time in early 1980. The MKT took over a portion of the system from Fort Worth north to Salina, KS and the line between El Reno, OK and McAlester. The Katy operated one train a day up the line to Wichita. It normally departed Fort Worth late in the day so I never caught it.

This gallery will be a bit different. Most galleries progress from north to south or west to east. Since most of my train chasing trips along the Rock Island ran in the opposite direction, this gallery will start at Saginaw, TX and move from the southeast to the northwest and end in El Reno, OK. The pictures in this gallery are on disks 86 and 87.

Saginaw, TX
Union Pacific
Ryan, OK
El Reno, OK

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