Rock Island parlor observation car, interior, late 30s, early 40s

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Pullman-Standard photo, Phil Weibler collection, reproduced her from Greg Stout, Route of the Rockets: Rock Island in the Streamlined Era. In the book’s foreward Stout says, “Rock Island… died from too many agricultural branches, overdependence on trackage rights, and a route map that seemed to reach every important terminal the long way around.” The railroad was short of funds most of its life, yet ran some good trains–its Rocket–fleet. But not spectacular trains, and above is an example. While other railroads offered reclining or rocking, swiveling chairs in their parlor cars, Rock Island offered lounge car-type seating. Some folks must have been disappointed. Ahead in the coaches, the seats reclined and the window wasn’t to your back.

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