Rock Island Logo History

Rock Island Logo History

This logo was created by Paul Schuch especially for the Rock Island Technical Society in commeration of our twenty-fifth anniversary.

This is a rough approximation of a logo used by the Rock Island and Peoria Railway (RI&P #2 1877-1903) which ran between those two named cities in Illinois. From the photo, it appeared to be Black and White paint on otherwise unpainted wood. I based this drawing off of a poor photo of a gondola, taken in 1890. If anyone has a clear view of this logo, please let me know and I will make the necessary changes to make this logo accurate.

This is a logo used by the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway (CRI&P #3 1880-1947). This logo was taken from a public timetable dated November 1893 and represents the colors on that document. I have seen the same shaped logo with the colors reversed on earlier timetables from 1891. As far as I know, this logo was never applied to any rolling stock.

This was a logo used by the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railway (1876-1903) on advertisements in 1895. My basis for this drawing was a bad photocopy of a copy. The BCR&N also used a "tilted square" logo with "Cedar Rapids Route" on it. If anyone has an original of either of these, please let me know.

This is one of a series of evolving so-called "beaver pelt" logos used by the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway (CRI&P #3 1880-1947) in the 1900 to 1905 era. This particular version came from a magazine advertisement in 1904. Check back later for other logos of this era to be added to this document.

Eventually, the Rock Island simplified the "beaver pelt" logo to this design which became the standard for locomotives, rolling stock, stations, and advertising. This logo was used by the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway (CRI&P #3 1880-1947) from about 1905 until replaced by the "ROCK" logo in 1976.

This is a logo which was painted on a gondola of the Des Moines, Iowa Falls and Northern Railway (1901-1908). The colors of this logo are approximations since I only have a black and white photo to work from. They appear to be Black, White and Red. The Blue in the logo is for contrast purposes only, since the logo was applied over the base color of the car.

This is a logo which was on a single page timetable of the Warren and Ouachita Valley Railway (1899-1980) dated 6/2/1946. The railroad ran between Warren and Banks, Arkansas. The Rock Island eventually came to own the entire capital stock of the WOV sometime after ~1940 and it was operated as a wholly owned, independant railroad until its abandonment in 1979.

By 1959, after a decade of modernizing the railroad, the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad (CRI&P #5 1948-1980) felt it needed a new image to help sell the Rock Island to freight shippers. This "swoosh" logo is the result. It was used in advertisements from 1959 through at least 1962.

In 1964, the Union Pacific filed to merge with the Rock Island. The Rock Island management decided to pump up the numbers by "deferring" maintenance on the railroad, motive power, and rolling stock. After a decade of delays, UP called the merger off and the Rock Island almost immediately declared bankruptcy. With no money to purchase new equipment, trustees of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad (CRI&P #5 1948-1980) began a plan to refurbish and repair whatever could be salvaged. At the same time, the trustees knew they had a serious image problem with freight shippers who had grown frustrated with bad service. To show that the railroad was serious about improving things, a new logo and image was called for. This "ROCK" logo of 1976 is the result. Three versions existed, all using the same outlines. The black "R" and white "nut" on blue "field" was the most common. Variations were black "R" / blue "nut" / white "field"; and white "R" / blue "nut" / black "field". The logo appeared on everything from letterhead, to advertising, motive power, rolling stock, and even buildings. Critics declared it "bankruptcy blue", but could it be any worse than "the great yellow horde of Omaha" had the merger prevailed?

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