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3rd Rail Rock Island Rocket



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I've been wanting to do this for a while. Quickly after 3rd Rail announced this project back in September 2016, I jumped on board and provided the consulting and research all the way to the final days of production. For this opportunity I'll be forever grateful to Scott. Suffice it to say, this was a dream project for me as well as a dream set for many. I can't go through it all, but I'll try to capture the level of depth we were able to reach with this project. It was a lot, and I don't think it'll ever be matched in our scale. The added complexity of the project came from the fact that the TA is an obscure and unique engine, and that 3rd Rail would be importing the entire Rocket trains. Each train was assigned a TA engine and each had a unique string of cars with individual names and numbers. This was all imported correctly. Yes, the star of the show is the TA engine. Completely made of brass, the engine reflects some of the most intricate and unique details of the prototype. Some counter-intuitive historical details include a single builders plate on the engineer side, asymmetrical and operational roof vents, correctly placed emblem screws, correctly placed body frame bars behind windows, correct TA skirt height slightly higher than the Budd car's skirt, correct yellow Rock Island emblem, separately applied speed trimming with correct screw size and spacing, and many more.



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The cars feature correct plans and an extremely well done finish for extruded aluminum technology... I should document them...



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Some images with my Key E6 Rocket, also a perfect match for the cars....



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Oddly enough there were more discrepancies with the Key model, but Key doesn't seem to get as much criticism on this forum as other importers. It is what it is and I love them both, for similar and different reasons.

Below, my Key E1 and her cousin 3rd rail TA rest for some beauty shots.... A fine homage to Knickerbocker's genius.

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Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Santiago:

Like you, I jumped at the chance to purchase a Rock Island TA diesel set - branded as the Peoria Rocket.  I was born and raised in Peoria, IL and rode various versions of the PEORIA ROCKET from Peoria to Chicago during the late 1940s and 50s. I was a young passenger on the TA train.  The Sunset 3rd rail model is now on display in my Train Room - a photo is attached. The first run of the TA model was at Arkansas Traveler Train Shop in Bald Knob, AR. Craig Christiansen, the store owner, placed the order for me and then offered the store layout for the inaugural run - a photo is attached.

As a Rock Island collector/operator, THANK YOU for investing your time and effort to make this model a faithful rendition of the prototype!

With appreciation,

Mike Mottler    LCCA 12394

Attachments

Images (2)
  • MHM with Trains 1: RI trains on display at Mottler Station
  • DSCN0096: TA train set inaugural run at Arkansas Traveler Train Store layout

Great looking review Santiago.

World class model thanks to your expert research, review, and critique. Sure made me happy!

Like you in different ways growing up near Mason City, Iowa and my grandfather's first response to the 1937 music students school bus collison I've had a very spiritual connection to this train.

I'm so so very pleased and it rests alongside my very best in the display cases among them Key, Kohs, and Euro Modell. Beautiful model Scott and thank the builder for getting it right to Santiagos lead.

@SANTIAGOP23 posted:

3rd Rail Rock Island Rocket



DSC07451



I've been wanting to do this for a while. Quickly after 3rd Rail announced this project back in September 2016, I jumped on board and provided the consulting and research all the way to the final days of production. For this opportunity I'll be forever grateful to Scott. Suffice it to say, this was a dream project for me as well as a dream set for many. I can't go through it all, but I'll try to capture the level of depth we were able to reach with this project. It was a lot, and I don't think it'll ever be matched in our scale. The added complexity of the project came from the fact that the TA is an obscure and unique engine, and that 3rd Rail would be importing the entire Rocket trains. Each train was assigned a TA engine and each had a unique string of cars with individual names and numbers. This was all imported correctly. Yes, the star of the show is the TA engine. Completely made of brass, the engine reflects some of the most intricate and unique details of the prototype. Some counter-intuitive historical details include a single builders plate on the engineer side, asymmetrical and operational roof vents, correctly placed emblem screws, correctly placed body frame bars behind windows, correct TA skirt height slightly higher than the Budd car's skirt, correct yellow Rock Island emblem, separately applied speed trimming with correct screw size and spacing, and many more.



DSC07471DSC07409DSC07399DSC07433DSC07489DSC07490DSC07438DSC07699DSC07473DSC07485DSC07491DSC07512DSC07426DSC07429DSC07437DSC07446DSC07411DSC07414DSC07418DSC07423DSC07401



The cars feature correct plans and an extremely well done finish for extruded aluminum technology... I should document them...



DSC07556DSC07528DSC07542



Some images with my Key E6 Rocket, also a perfect match for the cars....



DSC07675DSC07618DSC07625DSC07590DSC07616DSC07597

Oddly enough there were more discrepancies with the Key model, but Key doesn't seem to get as much criticism on this forum as other importers. It is what it is and I love them both, for similar and different reasons.

Below, my Key E1 and her cousin 3rd rail TA rest for some beauty shots.... A fine homage to Knickerbocker's genius.

DSC08046DSC08022DSC08037DSC08042

I didn't realize that the Rocket ran on what looks Alco 2 axel trucks while the Key looks like 3 axle trucks. who is correct?

Dick

Santiago wrote:

"Oddly enough there were more discrepancies with the Key model, but Key doesn't seem to get as much criticism on this forum as other importers. It is what it is and I love them both, for similar and different reasons."

Santiago Et All: That attempted "as delivered" E6 was built for me by Dave at Key. Key only offered the late era at the time with oversize number boards and revised rear vestibule among others things; I talked him into building it for me at the last minute and all my research was lost so I was told (2012) and they used what was provided by the guy who did the research on the later era design. He obviously blew it with the scallop on the nose, wrong pilot among other things but the paint work despite being wrong and not stainless is awesome. The plausable explanation for the messed up scallop comes from the museum painted E6 number 630 seen below. They chose to paint it wrongly in the late 90s and the builder assumed there erroneous application was correct. Ooops...

Screenshot_20210802-141341_Chrome

Rock Island E6A #630, operated by Midland Railway, at Baldwin City, Kansas on November 28, 2004 courtesy: Wikipedia

RockyMtnRocketpc

Correct scallop on all RI Full Rocket schemes.



Santiago you did good fixing it up with the larger logo from Scott on the nose. It looks great! I still want my AB6, E6 combo are you listening Scott. <wink>.

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Last edited by Erik C Lindgren
@mark s posted:

Santiago, thank you for the research that led to the execution of this beautiful train model. I have been a fan of the TA and the Rock Island Rocket since a young fellow, when I purchased a Strombecker Rock Island Rocket wood kit with paper sides.......sometime in the 1950's.

I pray that such fine models will remain available for us scale o gauge modelers as we go forward !

I got one during the project just for fun! Thanks for the kind words, Mark.

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@SANTIAGOP23 posted:

@CBQer to be honest, I don't know how to answer your question without sounding rude.

I didn't state what I wrote correctly. Date: 07/20/02 09:48. I found this on TrainOrders web site tonight. Don't worry about being rude. Yo tengo cutis muy duro.



Re: Rock Island TA
Author: davew833

It's interesting to note that the TA did NOT ride on Blomberg trucks like the FT and later F units- its trucks were more similar to those used on the Alco FA (AAR?).
Dick

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