The Choctaw Rocket followed a railway built by the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad between 1900 to 1902, informally known as the Choctaw Route. The CO&G and its railways was purchased by the Rock Island railroad in 1902.
After an inaugural tour at cities along the route, the Choctaw Rocket entered regular service on November 17, 1940.
The original locomotive and car assignments for the two Choctaw Rocket sets of equipment included E6 locomotives 628 and 629, modernized heavyweight railway post office-baggage cars 702 and 703, coaches 350-Amarillo, and 351-Oklahoma City, sleepers 622-Seminole, and 623-Wewoka, and dining-parlor-observation cars 430-Memphis, and 431-Little Rock. The coaches, sleepers and observation cars were all streamlined cars ordered from Pullman Standard Manufacturing Company, specifically for use on the Choctaw Rocket.
The Railway Mail Service utilized the Choctaw Rocket for United States mail transportation, sorting and distribution along the route. One railway post office crew worked between Memphis, TN and McAlester, OK, while a second crew operated between McAlester and Amarillo.
After the discontinuance of Western Pacific's rail diesel car trains 1-2 (Salt Lake City-San Francisco) in 1960, the Rock Island's Memphis - Amarillo RDC route held the distinction of being the longest such route in the United States. Declining patronage and a desire by the Rock Island to close many small town depots resulted in the discontinuance of this route, now designated as unnamed trains 23-24, with last runs occurring on August 8, 1964.
Choctaw Rocket route
A Pullman-Standard ad featuring the Choctaw Rocket, circa 1941.
Classic Streamliners - TRAINCYCLOPEDIA
Text: wikipedia.org. Images: Public Domain; http://www.commons.wikimedia.org (unless otherwise specified) and 17 U.S. Code § 107 fair use. References: Lewis, Robert G. The Handbook of American Railroads. New York: Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation, 1951, 2nd Edition 1956. Site Map Contact webmaster HERE.
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