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The Twin Star Rocket
The Twin Star Rocket was a passenger train operated jointly by the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad and the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. Introduced on January 14, 1945, it was the only new streamlined train permitted to enter service in World War II by the U.S. Government. The new train became the second longest north–south train itinerary under the management of a single railroad in the United States (and the longest measured by great circle distance) with its northern terminal at the Milwaukee Road’s Minneapolis, Minnesota depot and southern terminal 1,363 miles away at Houston, Texas. The name of the new streamlined train was derived from its terminal states—Texas being known as the Lone Star State and Minnesota as the North Star State.

The Rock Island assigned the two Rocket train sets from the Kansas City–Minneapolis Rocket, and one train set from the Kansas City–Dallas Texas Rocket was transferred to the new Twin Star Rocket. The other Texas Rocket train set then began operating a daily round trip Rocket service between Oklahoma City and Kansas City. Another of the three-car Rocket trains operated an Oklahoma City–Dallas round trip daily.

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Twin Star Rocket drum head.
The Twin Star Rocket at Minneapolis.
A Twin Star Rocket Dining car menu.
The Rock Island Twin Star Rocket leaving Dallas in 1951.
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The new Twin Star Rocket operated the Minneapolis–Kansas City segment of the trip in daylight hours in both directions, so no sleeping cars were initially carried between those cities. At Kansas City the southbound Twin Star Rocket added a lightweight 8-section, 5-double bedroom sleeping car for the overnight run to Houston. The northbound train carried another 8-section, 5-double bedroom sleeping car between Houston and Kansas City. The two lightweight streamlined sleeping cars originally assigned to the Twin Star Rocket were Forest Canyon and Thompson Canyon, two cars originally assigned to the Rocky Mountain Rocket as Kansas City–Denver cars. The Twin Star Rocket served St. Paul (Union Depot), Albert Lea, Des Moines, Kansas City, Topeka, Wichita, El Reno, Fort Worth and Dallas en route to Houston from Minneapolis.

The Rock Island powered these three streamlined consists with EMD E6A units taken from other schedules.
Each train set was assigned a heavyweight baggage-30-foot Railway Post Office cars, streamlined dining cars came from the Golden State and were known as the Cactus series as each was named for a cactus—No. 422 Yucca; No. 423 Saguaro; and No. 424 Ocotillo. The Twin Star Rockets were fully streamlined in 1948.

A menu from the Twin Star Rocket dining car.

Burlington timetable featuring the Twin Star Rocket.

The Twin Star Rocket at Minneapolis Union Station.

A foldout timetable featuring the "Twin Star Rocket."

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Burlington-Rock Island's "Twin Star Rocket" races southward out of Dallas in 1951 powered by 1500HP FP7A No.677 and a 1500HP "B" unit in an effort to beat the Southern Pacific's Hustler into Houston.    (Plummer, Roger S. ["Twin Star Rocket" departing from Dallas], Photograph, 1951; ( : accessed August 04, 2015), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Museum of the American Railroad, Dallas, Texas.)

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