More Alcos in Wisconsin and Michigan

More Alcos in Wisconsin and Michigan

John Szwajkart

Format: 2 DVD-R set

Length: 2 hours 5 minutes

Time Period: late 1980’s

Locations: Escanaba, Marquette, Eagle Mills Yard, Marinette

Source: John Szwajkart

A late period stronghold area for remaining Alco locomotives was Northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Former Norfolk & Western Alco C-628 locomotives were employed by Chicago & Northwestern. They were a good match for iron ore service in the region. John Szwajkart had journeyed to the lines, where these huge engines were still in daily service.

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Part 1 of this double DVD set features CNW. Running time of this disc is 55 minutes. He brings us numerous looks at the Centuries on CNW.

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The first ore train crosses the Escanaba River bridge. The entire train is seen, right up to a faded zito yellow caboose rolls by the camera.

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The American Flag with the Pulling Together slogan is common here.

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Yard limit action is seen.

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Alco lash-ups being coupled to ore consists.

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A long pacing sequence allows the airhorn to be heard, several times. The train is viewed as it moves through a wooded area. At times, there are more trees and bushes seen than the locomotives. As much fun as pacing can be, this one pushes the envelope for time. Over, half the runtime.

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Rainy conditions do not favor a clear picture. In fact, passing semi trucks will splash up their share of water. The open microphone picks up much wind noise. At the end of the chase, heavier rain is now covering some of our picture, with traffic splash water.

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Turns out, there were 3 of the big Alcos on point of the ore train. A zito yellow one in the center. Skies clear up near the end!

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Typical raw, handheld video, direct to DVD format transfer. As with the others that have been reviewed on ATVR, it is an amateur level of train video. No narration, no maps, limited extras. You do get basic Chapter Menus on both discs. Title card type screens for some locations and a little information.

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Picture quality is fair to good. Distortion bar is present at the bottom of the screen. Another verticle bar issue on left hand side. Transfer/ digital artifacts appear from time to time. Not modern standards. Watchable, none are deal breakers for me.

One can still find some unusual trains, as presented here. The video microphone picks up all of the environmental sounds. Wind noise is the most common. Train sounds are captured nicely. Some of the Alcos have quite different horns.

Cabooses are on every train in part one. The C-628 units are usually operating in trios.

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Part 2 centers on Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad. This disc runs at 65 minutes. Eagle Mills Yard starts off on the LS&I. General Electric U23C units are seen in the yard. Alco RSD12 engines have some ore jennies in tow.

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At Marquette, the yard and ore dock are featured.

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Three U23C units work the line.

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Alco RSD15 units idle away. Once, nicknamed ‘alligators’ by original Santa Fe crews. One look, and you will understand.

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Colorful LS&I, has various paint schemes. Here are a few in bright red.

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They had some green units. Ishpeming Yard. Locations are given via screenshots.

Additional CNW action is within, and at the end of part 2. The CNW has a lone C626 #6720 with a general merchandise freight train. This move is chased from Marinette to Oconto.

John edits run too long for me. However, in this one scene it works for the better…

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He captures a beer truck beating the train! Wisconsin and Beer! A memorable shot.

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The single Alco C628 would have made a mess of Special Export and Old Style! The 1970’s- 1980’s era boxcars, with some TOFC, and assorted covered hoppers. The entire train is viewed.

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Yes, there is a CNW flag scheme caboose.

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If this subject matter is of interest to you, these will be satisfying programs. The hardcore railfans will get the most out of this style of train video. LS&I puts on a good show, with a nice assortment of Alco and GE power. Chicago & Northwestern running the high hood C628 sets are an impressive sight. This release provides good views of the rare power listed. Receives a bump up for the hard to find material.

Rating: 3 Stars

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