Due to shortages of equipment, wartime introductions of new streamliners were rare. This train is one of the exceptions. While it seems that the Rock Island had already been planning a train along these lines for some time, it was an emergency which compelled them to act. Zephyr 9901, one of the original Twin Zephyrs built in 1935 and then serving as the Sam Houston Zephyr, had its power car destroyed by fire (with a trailing car damaged) on December 19, 1944. While Rock Island was ultimately held responsible for the fire (by allowing a buildup of oil residue due to poor maintenance during the period it was in charge of the jointly-held line), the need to maintain passenger service between Texas's two leading population centers under wartime traffic conditions led to a crisis. (Continued below)

From the pages of the Official Guide, August 1945

Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Ry. herald

The Twin Star Rocket

Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Ry.
July, 1945

507 Train Number 508
Daily Miles Services Daily
11 30A Dp 0 Minneapolis, MN (CT) T C Ar 6 15P
11 55A 10.9 St. Paul, MN T C 5 45P
F 51.7 Northfield, MN C F
F 65.2 Faribault, MN T C F
1 14P 80.8 Owatonna, MN T C 4 19P
1 45P 112.3 Albert Lea, MN T C 3 46P
2 15P 140.2 Manly, IA T C 3 15P
2 30P 149 Mason City, IA T C 2 58P
F 194 Iowa Falls, IA T C F
4 30P Ar 270 Des Moines, IA T C Dp 1 05P
4 35P Dp Ar 1 01P
F 323 Chariton, IA T C F
F 346 Allerton, IA T C F
6 47P 397 Trenton, MO C 10 45A
F 462 Excelsior Springs, MO C F
8 45P Ar 493 Kansas City, MO T C Dp 9 00A
9 15P Dp Ar 8 30A
9 20P 496 Kansas City, KS 8 21A
10 20P 562 Topeka, KS C 7 20A
11 40P 643 Herington, KS T C 5 55A
12 59A 716 Wichita, KS T C M Dp 4 34A
1 50A 766 Caldwell, KS T C 3 40A
2 38A 814 Enid, OK T C 2 56A
3 45A Ar 874 El Reno, OK T C M Dp 1 55A
3 55A Dp Ar 1 45A
4 31A 910 Chickasha, OK T C 1 11A
5 13A 949 Duncan, OK T C 12 29A
5 40A 974 Waurika, OK T C 12 01A
7 45A Ar 1087 Fort Worth, TX (Union Sta.) T C Dp 10 05P
8 00A Dp Ar 9 55P
8 50A Ar 1120 Dallas, TX (Union Sta.) T C Dp 9 10P
9 00A Dp Ar 9 00P
F 9 39A 1150 Waxahachie, TX F 8 18P
F10 10A 1182 Corsicana, TX F 7 48P
10 40A 1268 Teague, TX T C 7 17P
1 05P Ar 1370 Houston, TX (CT) (Galveston via bus) T C Dp 5 00P

Train 507: 23 stops, 25:35, 53.6 MPHTrain 508: 23 stops, 25:15, 54.3 MPH


Daily. (See Note 1.)

Parlor Lounge Car (R. I. Car 50).

Minneapolis to Houston. (Seats reserved.)

Sleeping Car—

Kansas City to Houston—8-Section, 5 Double Bedrooms (51).

Dining Car—

Minneapolis to Houston.

Chair Cars—Minneapolis to Houston (53, 54, 55). (Seats reserved.)


(See Note 1.)

Parlor Lounge Car (R. I. Car 60).

Houston to Minneapolis. (Seats reserved.)

Sleeping Car—

Houston to Kansas City—8-Section- 5 Double Bedroom (61).

Dining Car—Houston to Minneapolis.

Chair Cars—Houston to Minneapolis (63, 64, 65). (Seats reserved.)


NOTE 1—ROCKET TRAINS—The Rockets are not extra fare trains. All seats in coaches, parlor cars and Pullman sleepers are reserved and individually assigned in advance.

Protect Your Luggage
Both hand baggage and checked baggage should bear a label or tag with your name, street number and city address. It will not only help to identify hand baggage aboard the train, on station platform, and in waiting room, but will facilitate forwarding if baggage checks become detached.

For Wartime Travelers

Dining facilities on Rock Island Lines, as on many of America's other fine trains, are often crowded to capacity, due to today's increased demands. Necessarily, some patrons must wait for seating space in the diner, until others have finished.

In ordinary times, this situation would be immediately corrected by adding dining cars to regular trains when necessary. Today, this is impossible. Many diners are needed for troop trains, and new ones cannot, of course, be constructed. When enjoying a "Rock Island meal," therefore, we'd appreciate your leaving the table promptly after you have finished—then others may be served.

In a set of contracts signed in late December and early January of 1944-1945, the Burlington and Rock Island hammered out an agreement for providing and upgrading passenger service between Fort Worth/Dallas and Houston. The Burlington furnished a lightweight trainset consisting of a 2000 HP diesel locomotive, a baggage car, three chair cars and a parlor-diner lounge car which would operate from then on as the Sam Houston Zephyr. The Rock, for its part, by reshuffling equipment came up with three full trainsets consisting of a 2000 HP diesel locomotive, a baggage/mail car, a dinette car, three coaches, and a parlor car and a Pullman sleeping car to provide first-class accommodations. These trains would provide through service between Minneapolis-St. Paul, Fort Worth/Dallas, and Houston as the Twin Star Rocket. The "new" Sam Houston Zephyr entered service on January 13, 1945, while the Twin Star Rocket began running a day later on January 14. Many thanks to Texas railroad historian George Werner for providing me with the detailed information I needed for these comments, and thanks once again to Mr. Clyde Howard for directing me to him.

Consist Information
Contributed by Alan L. Pettet

Comprised of three of the 3-car Rocket trains with the Dinette sections removed replaced by Crew Dormitory
space. Two prewar streamlined sleeping cars and three streamlined 48 seat dining cars.

Departing Houston
January 14, 1945
629 EMD E6A 2,000 HP Diesel Passenger Cab Unit
800 Baggage 30’ Railway Post Office Car
404 ARROW HEAD Articulated Baggage 12 Crew Dormitory 32 Revenue Seat Coach
304 CHIPPEWA Articulated 76 Revenue Seat Coach
423 SAHUARO 48 Seat Dining Car
621 THOMPSON CANYON 8-Section 5-Double Bedroom Sleeping Car (Houston – Kansas City)
454 MINNESOTA 28 Revenue Seat Coach Bar 24- Seat Lounge Observation

Departing Minneapolis
January 14, 1945
628 EMD E6A 2,000 HP Diesel Passenger Cab Unit
801 Baggage 30’Railway Post Office Car
405 MESABI Articulated Baggage 12 Crew Dormitory 32 Revenue Seat Coach
305 IOWAY Articulated 76 Revenue Seat Coach
422 YUCCA 48 Seat Dining Car
620 FOREST CANYON 8-Section 5-Double Bedroom Sleeping Car (Kansas City – Houston)
455 MISSOURI 28 Revenue Seat Coach Bar 24-Seat Lounge Observation

Departing Minneapolis
January 15, 1945
627 EMD E6A 2,000 HP Diesel Passenger Cab Unit
Unknown Heavyweight Baggage 30’Railway Post Office Car
403 CIMARRON TRAIL Articulated Baggage 12-Crew Dormitory 32 Revenue Seat Coach
303 CHISHOLM TRAIL Articulated 76 Revenue Seat Coach
424 OCOTILLO 48 Seat Dining Car
453 SOONER STATE 28 Revenue Seat Coach Bar 24-Seat Lounge Observation