ACL 21-roomette sleepers : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

Anyone know how long three 21-roomette Island-series sleepers were on loan to the Rock Island. I know that it began in 1954 and involved an exchange to ACL of three 4-4-2 sleeping cars. I believe that the letterboards remained purple with "Atlantic Coast Line" as the principal lettering during the period in service on the Rock Island.

-- John Wegner (, April 25, 2001


Golden Dial was spotted in the consist of the NB Florida Special at Auburndale in 1969. This prewar car was in rough shape externally, and probably worse inside. Except for Amtrak's Air Force Acadamy on the Star at Pinellas Park, this was the only CRIP car seen off line.

-- paul coe (, May 01, 2001.

I have seen either a RI or SP sleeper of some sort running on ACL trains 75-76 at Tampa in the early sixties.I will try to find my photo.

-- Joseph Oates (, April 26, 2001.

Wow, this question has generated a lot of head scratching. As for me, I dug out the entire passenger train library last night in search of...

Before 1954, the Rock Island fielded 3 n-s trains Minn-Texas via KC. The Twin Star Rocket (507 & 508), the Mid-Continent Special (15 & 16), and KC-Texas only 509-510, the "Texas Rocket". While the Twin Star commanded the use of streamlined sleepers, the others were left with Rock Island owned 8-1-2's and Pullman Pool 10-3's (as the Rock Island didn't buy any of the "Villa" betterment cars in the 1948 sale).

Sometime in early 1954, late 1953 Rock Island decided to eliminate Trains 15 & 16 (The Mid-Continent Special) and extend the "Texas Rocket" to Minneapolis as a replacement. The name "Texas Rocket" was dropped and the train became known simply as 509-510. In addition, the Pullman pool 10-3's were worn out, so replacement cars had to be found. Needed more "pass rider and government travel" space..they decomissioned La Costa - a 22 roomette Golden Rocket car - from the Golden State Route and reduced the number of sellable spaces to 21, with the last roomette becoming the porter's "office/bedroom".

However, this was only one car that could not possibly cover the entire Minnesota to Texas route on a daily basis. A search went out for other cars with similar configurations. Enter the Atlantic Coast Line.

ACL had long needed and used extensively cars of the 4-4-2 configuration on their Florida trains. They were able to sell "room" space more often that "roomette" space; therefore, when approached by the Rock Island to "swap"...the deal was a natural. Let's look at some hypotheses here: Both railroads maintained their equipment constantly (remember this is the Rock Island of another era), the equipment was similar in finish (mostly stainless steel exteriors), and each road was easy to deal with; whereas a similar swap with the NYC or PRR would have been impossible and arduous. Also, WHO ELSE really had any 21 roomette cars just laying around they didn't want.

As per my earlier post of the car swaps Rock Island got 3 of ACL's 21 Roomette "Island" cars for only 2 of RI's "Golden" 4-4-2's. And, they were (sort of) pre-war 4-4-2's to boot.

While, from my research, I believe all three ACL cars were originally used on and to protect 509-510; I also believe that the Rock Island found they didn't need all four 21rmt cars on this line after all and some of them were used on the Corn Belt Rocket (as indicated in some consist information I have).

There's the WHERE. Now WHY?

I have my theories, but we'll leave that for another post.

Buck Dean

-- Buck Dean (, April 26, 2001.

From the Rock Island Technical Society I offer the following. Darn'd if I know WHAT train they were used on, though. abd

GOLDEN WEST** 4-4-2 PS:'42 GOLDEN DREAM 4-4-2 PS:'42 GOLDEN HOUR 4-4-2 PS:'42 GOLDEN SUNSET 4-4-2 PS:'42 GOLDEN DESERT 4-4-2 PS:'42 GOLDEN FLEECE* 4-4-2 PS:'42 ex IMPERIAL CLIPPER GOLDEN DIAL* 4-4-2 PS:'42 ex IMPERIAL GUARD LA QUINTA 4-4-2 PS:'42 600 GOLDEN LOCKET 6-6-4 PS:'42 601 GOLDEN MESA 6-6-4 PS:'42 602 GOLDEN LOCKET 6-6-4 PS:'42 603 GOLDEN TERRACE 6-6-4 PS:'42 604 GOLDEN PLAZA 6-6-4 PS:'42 605 GOLDEN BANNER 6-6-4 PS:'42 606 GOLDEN CHARIOT 6-6-4 PS:'42 650 ODESSA LAKE 10-4 PS:'39 651 LAWN LAKE 10-4 PS:'39 620 FOREST CANYON 8-5 PS:'40 621 THOMPSON CANYON 8-5 PS:'40 622 SEMINOLE 8-5 PS:'40 623 WEWOKA 8-5 PS:'40 610 GARDEN OF THE GODS 8-2-2 PS:'39 611 GRAND MESA 8-2-2 PS:'39 640 GRANGER 8-6-4 PS:'48 641 PLAINSMAN 8-6-4 PS:'48 642 NORTHERN LAKES 8-6-4 PS:'48 643 GULF COAST 8-6-4 PS:'48 644 NORTHWOODS 8-6-4 PS:'48 LA JOLLA 12 PS:'48 LA PALMA 12 PS:'48 660 LA COSTA 22 PS:'48 ROANOKE ISLAND*** 21 PS:'49 PARIS ISLAND*** 21 PS:'49 ST. SIMONDS ISLAND*** 21 PS:'49 GOLDEN SPIRE 8-6 PS:'54 GOLDEN TOWER 8-6 PS:'54 GOLDEN JOURNEY 8-6 PS:'54 GOLDEN HORIZON 8-6 PS:'54 GOLDEN MEADOW 8-6 PS:'54 631 THE BROADMOOR 8-6 PS:'54 632 RAMPART RANGE 8-6 PS:'54 633 TURQUOISE SKY 8-6 PS:'54 634 LAKE NOKOMIS 8-6 PS:'54 AIR FORCE ACADEMY 8-6 PS:'54

* Two 4-4-2 on exchange to ACL 9-54 ** One 4-4-2 on exchange to SP for SP 9116-MAC to ACL 9-54 *** Three 21-roomette on exchange from ACL 9-54

-- Buck Dean (, April 25, 2001.

I have seen photos of St. Simons Island with Rock Island on the letterboard-Black lettering on stainless steel. I would think that the arrangement was through Pullman and I am sure that the answer lies within the files at the Newberry Library in Chicago. Come to think of it, Bob Wayner may have illustrated that car in one of his books.

-- Michael W. Savchak (Savchak, April 25, 2001.

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