An Alco RS3 built in 1951 pulling the "Bankers", with three articulated intercity cars as well as double-door Pullman carbon-steel lightweight cars.

 Taken on 21 April 1965. Click on image to enlarge. 

(A Roger Puta Photograph, railfan 44, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)



The Bankers was a suburban express train of the Rock Island Railroad (CRIP) that made limited stops between Joliet and Chicago.

The Rock Island also operated an extensive commuter train service in the Chicago area. The primary route ran from LaSalle Street Station to Joliet along the main line, and a spur line, known as the "Suburban Line" to Blue Island. The main-line trains supplanted the long-distance services that did not stop at the numerous stations on that route. The Suburban Line served the Beverly Hills area of Chicago as a branch leaving the main line at Gresham and heading due west, paralleling the Baltimore and Ohio Chicago Terminal Railroad passenger line before turning south. The Suburban Line made stops every four blocks along the way before rejoining the main line at Western Avenue Junction in Blue Island.


The commuter service was not exempt from the general decline of the Rock Island through the 1970s. Over time, deferred maintenance took its toll on both track and rolling stock. On the Rock Island, the Capone cars were entering their sixth decade of service and the nearly 30-year-old 2700s suffered from severe corrosion due to the steel used in their construction. LaSalle Street Station, the service's downtown terminal, suffered from neglect and urban decay with the slab roof of the train shed literally falling apart, requiring its removal. By this time, the Rock Island could not afford to replace the clearly worn-out equipment.

In 1976, the entire Chicago commuter rail system began to receive financial support from the state of Illinois through the Regional Transportation Authority. Operating funds were disbursed to all commuter operators, and the Rock Island was to be provided with new equipment to replace the tired 2700 series and Capone cars. New Budd bilevels that were near copies of the 1961 Milwaukee Road cars arrived in 1978. New EMD F40PH units arrived in late 1977 and, in summer, 1978, briefly could be seen hauling Capone cars. The Rock Island's commuter F and E units were relegated to freight service or the scrapyard.

With the 1980 end of the Rock Island, the RTA purchased the suburban territory and remaining Rock Island commuter equipment from the estate, while the Chicago and North Western Railway took over operations for a year before the RTA began operating it directly in 1981.


One of the last passenger timetables issued by the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad.

The Rock Island did not join Amtrak on May 1, 1971 and continued to operate its own passenger service until 1978. Click image to enlarge.

(Image: Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)