Santa Fe Mainline Memories

Santa Fe Mainline Memories

Great American Train Ride (deluxe boxset)

Railway Productions/ Topics

Format: DVD

Length: 1 hour 40 minutes

Time Period: 1995

Locations: Chicago to Los Angeles mainline

Producer: Les Jarrett

A grand tour of the Santa Fe mainline. The producer has a unique way of traversing this mainline. The Chicago to Los Angeles trip in under two hours. His focus is directly on the 1995 Santa Fe, with some history.

This is available as a single disc. Also is 1 of 4 DVD’s in Great American Train Ride by Topics Entertainment. Yes, all of these shows will be reviewed on ATVR.

Each subdivision is looked at, and traveled! Very comprehensive program.

For a 1995 journey, this is an interesting program. Santa Fe has many of it’s 1990’s Superfleet locomotives on the hot intermodals. Conveniently, the Superfleet stable gets a quick overview. Blue and yellow warbonnets are still very plentiful.

The train consists are generally unexciting. Unless you just have to see a piggyback train ,where the diesels roll on by, and then trailers that read:, JB Hunt, JB Hunt, JB Hunt… Outside of that problem, inherent in many post 1990’s shows, there are plenty of captivating subjects along the route itself.

In a rather brilliant bit of decision making, the producer gives a tour de force. He serves up, a generous helping of: cities, stations, crew change points, yards and plenty of beautiful scenery. By including a look at the towns and surrounding areas, we get the flavor of Santa Fe. The mainline memories.

Transporting into the cabs of Santa Fe locomotives give us the premium view from the train. There are multiple rides like this. A stunning one, is crossing a bridge at the Missouri River. Check all of the lattice and trusses!

Narration is excellent on this show. Current operations and status of what is seen. Historical info that adds background. Sometimes a bit nostalgic, but always engaging.

Beginning in Chicago at Corwith Yard. We travel westward towards California. Passing through wooded Willow Springs and into Lemont. We arrive and visit Joliet Union Station. This is a blueprint for this show. Roll off many miles, see towns, stations, add a highlight.

Variety then, actually lies within the journey across the mainline to California.

Good map displays and frequent usage makes sense of the vast amount of mileage covered. The Santa Fe trip is broken down into the subdivisions of the railroad. They range from about 150 to 280 miles. Some are well known. Chillicothe from Chicago. Seligman has Arizona to Needles, CA.

This has many stations and division point structures. Large ones like, Amarillo, Belen,  Flagstaff. Smaller stations such as: Henrietta, Carrollton, Kiowa, Galesburg. Division points with impressive ones that are mostly out of service in Argentine, Chillicothe, Seligman, Barstow, San Bernadino. Classics that appear in vintage films like Vaughn, NM.

There are plenty of Amtrak trains. The Southwest Chief is encountered frequently.

Scenery is an element that constantly evolves. From the big city, to farmlands. Texas, green in the east, to the drier plains west. New Mexico with it’s rock faces and moody look. Arizona with that authentic western flavor. Into California, across the Mohave desert, to Barstow. Onwards to the Cajon sub.

By 1995, the once important San Bernadino was being transformed into an intermodal facility.

Abo Canyon is one very scenic area for Santa Fe. Cajon Pass was a photographic hotspot since the days of steam. Both landmark locales get extended visits.

Canyon Diablo, in  Arizona gets a brief visit. Flagstaff, Kingman and Seligman, as well. Arizona gets good coverage, as do the rest of the states.

We end up at Hobart yard in LA. An abrupt end to our long journey. It is as if time ran out.

This is a dynamic show. The viewer will gain a vast amount of experience of this mainline.

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars


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