The Rocky Mountain Limited

The Rocky Mountain Limited was Rock Island’s pre-streamlined entry into the Chicago-Denver market. Likely a distant third after the Burlington and Union Pacific, Rock Island had the slight advantage that its line split in eastern Colorado, allowing direct service to Colorado Springs instead of forcing passengers to go through Denver.

Click image to download a PDF of this letterhead.

I can’t find much information about this train on the web, but it was running as early as 1907, when it had a 28-hour schedule from Denver to Chicago (and a half-hour more the other way). By 1937, its schedule had been cut by only a couple of hours. It was probably terminated with the introduction of the streamlined Rocky Mountain Rocket in 1939. The plain features of the above letterhead suggest that it was from the later years of the train.

Official portrait of the eastbound Rocky Mountain Limited. The 4-4-2 locomotive in the picture was built by Alco in 1905, so this picture probably dates from soon after that. Click image for a larger view.

Here (courtesy of the Kansas Historical Foundation) is a 1912 flyer advertising Rock Island’s Colorado trains. It says the Rocky Mountain Limited features a “buffet-library-observation car.” The first car in the painting above displays the words “Buffet – Library,” but apparently they refer to the last car on the train. The first car is the “combination smoker” mentioned in the brochure.

Click image to download a PDF of this four-page brochure.

G. Patrick Nelson is the artist who drew the pretty girls in the brochure. A web search turns up a few other pieces by Nelson but little biographical information.

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