The Rock Island Railroad had a key role in developing the city of Goodland. It supplied jobs that brought people here and boosted the local economy. The citizens of Goodland waited for a long time to see the railroad come into existence, and they took great pride in it once it did.
The first train to come to Goodland arrived on Tuesday, July 3rd, 1888. The town held a huge celebration the next day, simultaneously celebrating Independence Day and the arrival of the Rock Island Railroad to Goodland. The Rock Island Depot in Goodland was built in 1888, shortly after the first train had arrived. It’s contract price was $20,000. The building included a ticket office, waiting rooms, a hotel, dining room, and lunch counter. The depot quickly became the pride and joy of the city.
The Rock Island Railroad was more than just a passenger and cargo train. It was utilized as a method of transportation for High School sports fans. The Rock Island Rocket was used to transport hospital patients to bigger hospitals. The railroad also brought the outside world to Goodland. In 1900, President Taft rode on the railroad through Goodland and was greeted by the town.
On March 12, 1909, the Rock Island Depot burned to the ground, devastating the citizens of Goodland. Jobs were lost or transported, and the economy was temporarily strained. Trains still passed through Goodland, but the golden days of the Depot were finished.
Eventually, even the Rock Island Railroad company was halted in 1980 after several round of bankruptcy. The railroads in Goodland are now used by KYLE railways.