Rock Island introduced the Budd-built, GMC-powered Rockets in 1937, and this postcard is a variation of one we previously seen. It seems to be older as it only shows one headlight on the TA locomotive while the other one shows two, which would have been an after-market addition. The coloration of this postcard is less realistic than the other one, suggesting it was published before the trains were put into service.
In 1939, Rock Island introduced the Rocky Mountain Rocket, which used a much more powerful E3 locomotive than the earlier Rockets (2,000 horsepower vs. 1,200). This blotter lists an agent in and travel times from Omaha.
The locomotive in this blotter is one of the E3s used on the Rocky Mountain Rocket. Rock Island was able to operate this train with only two of these locomotives.
Soon after buying the E3s, Rock Island bought some of General Motors’ FT locomotives. Although the F supposedly stood for Fourteen, as in 1,400 horsepower, these locomotives were designed for freight service and are famous as the locomotive that convinced most railroaders that Diesels could replace steam locomotives. Rock Island bought 20 A units and 16 B units of this locomotive.
All of these blotters, though not the postcard, are from the Dale Hastin collection.