Andre, right you are. The Rock Island Line* was a mighty good road! While switching for the Cotton Belt and the Santa Fe in Dallas, we interchanged with RI in the Trinity River bottoms. The time I was employed with SSW I rode the roofs of box cars, passing hand signals after dark with my Conger hand lantern. You learned fast how to keep your balance on the catwalks. The old wooden walks were the most dangerous. Of course I was 21 at the time fullfilling a dream I'd had since the age of five! Would I do it again? You bet, in a heartbeat!
The Rock was another example of the US Government's Failure to save a railroad that served the Midwest/Southwest, but had no problem whatsoever spending millions of taxpayer $$$ to save the troubled carriers in the Northeast. Exception: Erie-Lackawanna. This line really got the Big Time D.C. Shaft, as did the Colorado Midland during WWI, when The Government (USRA) took control of America's railroads.
The USRA and later ICC, are perfect examples when "Polly's ticks" put men in charge to make decisions in the railroad industry despite the fact the only thing they knew about trains was to Stop, look and Listen, when crossing tracks in the U.S. Government vehicles, paid by taxpayer $$$, assigned to them by the POTUS...LOL, or perhaps not?
Have you and your wife ever considered biking to the top of Pike's Peak? You know what they say: On a clear day you can see forever! If you guys decide to do it let me know and I'll take Der Gornergrat Bahn (the Matterhorn railway) to the very top of this famous and internationall known Swiss mountain and wave "Old Yeller", my New York, Susquehanna & Western Ry. baseball cap, in your direction.
Item: The late NYS&W owner and president of the Susi-Q, Walter Rich, presented me with the cap as a thank you after I had inquired about a job as brakeman at the time I was considering returning to the States. He rebuilt the line into one of the best maintained and successful regional railroads in the Northeast.
Entertainment Time courtesy of YouTube: Sonny James sings the C&W version of "68 Rock Island Line".