Look at this photo. Five covered hoppers, all conspicuously still adorned in the Chicago Rock Island & Pacific Railroad’s “powder blue” (some would say “bankrupt blue”) paint scheme from 1975. The Rock Island was forced into liquidation by a bankruptcy court 33 years ago, yet many peices of rolling stock are still around as evidenced Saturday, January 12, 2013 at United Suppliers Inc’s Henry, Illinois granular fertilizer plant.
All five cars are owned by Midwest Railcar (MWCX) but retain their original owner’s paint. I’ve seen ex-Rock Island covered hoppers here before but not five coupled together.
Appropriately, this industry is located on a former Rock Island track, the Bureau Jct.-Peoria line, which was Peoria’s first railroad. It has been operated by the Iowa Interstate Railroad (IAIS) since June 1987. The IAIS purchased the Henry-Peoria segment on December 30, 2006. The rest is subleased from CSX Transportation.
The United Suppliers plant was built by W. R. Grace & Co and opened in early 1967.
- David P. Jordan