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Don's Rail Photos

Rock Island Southern Ry.

The first construction was started in the early 1900s by the Western Illinois Traction Co. between Monmouth and Galesburg using 600v DC power. In April 1905, RIS was incorporated to acquire and complete the project. A carbarn was built at Cameron, about half way where the line passed under the Santa Fe. The first passenger service was on May 30, 1906.

Meanwhile, another line was being built north from Monmouth to Rock Island. The first train ran using steam locomotive 4-4-0 100 pulling a borrowed CB&Q coach on May 30, 1910. In November, electric operation began using high voltage single-phase AC. Entrance to Rock Island was over a leased Rock Island branch. Branches were built to Aledo and Alexis. Freight was handled mostly by the two steam locomotives.

After WWI, the DC division was reorganized as the Galesburg & Western, but the equipment was still lettered RIS. Passenger service was abandoned some time after 1922 which is the last time table I have seen. Freight service continued until March 30, 1951.

The AC line was de-electrified about the end of WWI. Passenger service continued with the steam locomotives pulling the interurban cars as trailers. It was gradually cut back from the south as the old trestles collapsed. Final operation was in February 1952.


201 thru 203 were built by St. Louis Car in 1906 for the DC division. 201 and 203 were destroyed in a barn fire at Monmouth. 202 was rebuilt as a locomotive and was finally retired in 1934. It remained on the property for many years.

301 was built by St. Louis Car in 1907 for the DC division. It burned in the Monmouth fire.

300 thru 305 were built by Niles for the Washington Baltimore & Annapolis and were made surplus by them when they made terminal changes which required the use of smaller cars. Three burned at Monmouth.

240 was purchased from Tri-City Railway in 1920 for the DC division.

2012 was built by Kuhlman for the Detroit United Ry. as their 2012. It was acquired from Eastern Michigan Ry, the DUR successor, in 1934. It replaced 2014 which was wrecked en route. It was retired in 1940.

800, acquired from Moline, was the replacement.

In 1947, Kansas City Public Service 0035, a Differential dump motor, was purchased and replaced the 800. It was never repainted or relettered, and was the final operating piece of electrical equipment.

Cabooses 401 and 402 were built by Calumet Car in 1912.

Caboose 600 came in 1936 from the Santa Fe.

There were also 75 coal cars, 10 box cars, and 10 flat cars.

I have no roster information on 220.

527 was acquired in 1938 from the Wisconsin & Michigan. It was the final locomotive in service.


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