About rock island caboose

Did You Know?


A Brief History of the Rock Island Railroad and Caboose.

Rock Island Timeline:

June 1845

The Beginning

The Rock Island Railroad was born one evening as a group of businessmen planned a railroad of 75 miles to link Rock Island, Illinois (across the Mississippi River from Davenport, Iowa) with LaSalle, Illinois. 

February 27, 1847


The Rock Island & La Salle Rail Road Company was officially incorporated.

November 1850


$300,000 of funding was secured to begin construction. Ownership group decides to extend line into Chicago, renames company to the Chicago & Rock Island Railroad (C&RI).

August 1852


Construction on the railroad begins.

October 10, 1852

Joining Cities

First segment between Chicago and Joliet completed. 

February 22, 1854

Wheels Are Turning

Rail service opened to Rock Island.

April 23, 1856

Over the Mississippi

Mississippi River was bridged and direct service into Davenport, Iowa opened.


State to State

Route between Little Rock, Arkansas and Eunice, Louisiana created.


Birth of Caboose 17883

Rock Island Caboose 17883 was built.

September 1964

Enter Union Pacific

Union Pacific acquires the Rock.

March 31, 1980

Closing Time

The Rock Island railroad closed for good.


Finding a New Home

Caboose 17883 was purchased for $1,500 and moved 20 miles to just outside Little Rock.


Giving New Life to #17883

Renovation and restoration on the caboose begins.

April 1, 2023

The Present

The Rock Island Caboose opens for business.