Here's something that ought to warm up you frigid Rock Islanders in the upper midwest.....drum roll please! Ladies and gentlemen....Volume 13 Nos. 1&2 at the printer.
Sorry this issue took so long gang; it tales a while to produce a magazine like RTR. Between research and editing during the course of production, there were 23 revisions to the magazine file. We aim to be accurate story tellers, and with the collective knowledge of our readers keeping an eye on us, we strive to present accurate facts with as much sharp photography in eighty pages as we can! I'll keep you guys posted when we start shipping to dealers. Subscriber copies will go in the mail right from the printer.
So what's inside the new issue?
Bill Leistiko wraps up his series on "Silvis Shops" with an in depth look at the folks that worked inside, and the environs around the Tri-Cities between 1903 and 1926. Bill tells the story from work in the shops—to home and hearth—with his usual attention to detail. Lots, and lots of photography from Bill's collection and editor Phil's, with wage charts, maps, ads from the era, and some rare shots of the company lunch car that sat astride the depot. Inside and out!
RTR Contributing Archivist Stephen Eudy sent in a pair of postcards, so we framed their discussion in a Classic Rock bit called "Oddities and Mysteries". A pair of very collectable and way cool postcards that tell two stories. One of a trolley line that interchanged with the Rock, the other about one of the Rock's VPs.
RTR author Mike Armstrong shared the story of his teenage days at the Mid-Continent Railroad Museum learning to fire steam locomotives. He spent a lot of time shoveling coal into the maw of Rock Island No. 9, who really was Warren & Ouachita Valley No. 1. Now this locomotive has seen the inside of more than one RTR, but who ever figured we'd hear the story of how she ran? This is required reading for any Rock Islander who ever had a yen to run a steamer. Lots of photographs compliment "Workin' on the Railroad," in which Mike does a fine job educating us armchair enthusiasts who like watching the smoke roll while listening to the stack talk!
In addition to making sure we write proper sentences and spell correctly (which is a major chore!) Senior Contributing Editor Dick Gill wrote "Telegram and Train," an article that predates texts and cell phones...about telegrams. The scene starts in Goodland, Kansas, on the Rock Island, and as fast as a 4000-series Mountain class locomotive can highball the Rocky Mountain Limited to Chicago the wires start humming. Join Dick for a good story.
So it's winter time....who's doing some modeling? "Rock Island Modeler" Ross Dando is keeping busy in the shop, and this time he's getting ready to produce a kit of the extended 90500 series flatcars. Most Rock Islanders know the basics of of car construction; starting with opening the box. Well, starting with buying the kit anyway! But most, including Editor Steve had no idea how much went into making the model that creates the kit, and thought all you Rockers would be interested. Ross had to source some Rock Island Engineering Department blueprints, which was hard enough. The rest of the process is covered with a rash of photos and captions, including a shot of an extended flatcar loaded with a Cat motor scraper, in LA no less.
Last fall, RTR author Dan Tracy sent in some awesome winter photography for this issue. When Editor Steve started quizzing him about the photos, Dan started to reminisce. You'll love the shot and the story behind it in Dan's Classic Rock article: "Makin' Tracks."
RTR author Dean Schirf has put together an article to match his earlier effort about Oklahoma's Shawnee Shops. This time Dean has focused on "Rock Island Days in Chickasha, Oklahoma", still a railroad town, but once the location of Rock Island's sprawling shop complex and yards. Dean did an awesome amount of research that resulted in an in-depth article about this long forgotten and sparsely photographed facility. He recounts the towns thriving milling and cotton ginning industries with the help of a super rare Cirkut Camera shot of the shops, and some stunning vintage postcards from the Stephen Eudy Collection. A large map of the yard and shops is provided along with some way cool history of Chickasha, as only a boy that grew up there could tell it.
In this issue's "Ready to Run review" Bob Massey takes a hard look at the newest offering from ExactRail: their model of a Rock Island GSI bulkhead flatcar in HO-scale. Bob reports all the details, and provided some super sharp model photography. Editor Phil out did himself for this article when he turned up some shots he took at Duncan, Oklahoma, when the cars were being tested for load shock while coupling. Hard coupling actually. Worth the cover price!
First time RTR author Paul Walters, Jr. sent in a ton of great shots out on the Rock Island on the Southern Division. You haven't seen these on the internet fellas. This stuff is fantastic, and Tanya made sure that the colors are brilliant! In "Oklahoma Dreamin' " we ran Paul's photography big as the Oklahoma sky, so 40-years later you can really visualize speed lettering on red and yellow hauling tonnage! There's even some blue and white in the mix, not to mention a diagram sheet of an as-built switcher and a photograph of the much modified prototype so you diesel modelers can test your skill at picking out the detail parts necessary to update a box stock model!
There's four-pages of "Rocket RPO" , and another one of Editor Steve's "Explainers" at the back of the book.
Postage Increase: We absorbed the 2017-2018 postal increases. Unfortunately after the 2019 increase, we have little choice but to raise the price of USA subscriptions by $5. Back issues will be sold at the cover price plus postage, so subscriptions will still be discounted by a few bucks. The last day for a $40 subscription is March 7th 2019. Volume 13 Nos. 1&2 will be your dealer by mid-March, or order direct.
Keep the cards and letters coming guys.....and stay warm.....remember Hill Street Blues? "Let's be careful out there!"
Attention procrastinators and naysayers! If your subscription has expired and you've been waiting until the last minute to subscribe because you’re doubtful if there's going to be another RTR... or you just like to play chicken, you have until March 7th. If we get your payment later, your subscription starts with the following issue. The current one becomes a back issue and gets sold for the cover price plus shipping. Nuff said.