The CB&Q Collection

The CB&Q Collection

John Szwajkart

Format: DVD

Length: 1 hour 7 minutes

Time Period: 1950’s-1960’s, 1960’s- 1970’s diesels

Locations: Chicago area, Congress Park, Brookfield, Galesburg, Savanna,  more…

Source: John Szwajkart (8mm color)

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy was fully dieselized in the early 1950’s. The railroad did have stored, serviceable steam engines, held for peak traffic usage. The Chicago to Galesburg mainline was one of the routes, where steam engines are seen in freight service. Burlington Route was renowned for having steam locomotive fantrips. There are a number of those excursions in this collection. Diesels are shown in freight, and passenger service. A special trip Duluth, and the Iron Range vicinity, will include even more!

This is a part of the Vintage 8’s collection. John Szwajkart shot this assortment on 8mm film. A wide variety of trains sure make these compilations, quite interesting to watch.

This series is targeted to hardcore railfans. For those who want to see vintage train films, they will get a plentiful supply. This show has no chapter menu. Title headers do exist at the beginning of each chapter. The chapters are accessible with your remote control’s ‘next’ button. Consider these as ‘searchable’ chapters.

There is no narration. In fact, the show is a silent movie. One sound is present, the projector noise is heard. Some narration, would be desirable. Everything is well organized and the program flows smoothly.

This is a bare bones ‘vintage films’ presentation.

Image quality is generally good, and fair at times. As these are not restored, or digitally enhanced films, they do look to be original condition films. This results in scenes with faded colors, or in need of color balance. The scenes are watchable, just not a modern looking train video.

Part 1- The End of Steam is the first entry. Big steam in the form of: 4-8-4 and 2-10-4 types. Great roundhouse footage with turntable shots. A unique 0-6-0 shop switcher is sporting a small top mounted water tank. This is at Galesburg, Illinois.

The triple track straightaway is recognizable as Chicago area. Congress Park had a standing station there. Brookfield, LaGrange and maybe Berwyn are some of the other locations. You will notice many Elm trees in the old scenes. This looked much different in the 1980’s, as dutch elm eliminated most of those species. Landscape and trains both changed over the decades.

Here is a brief film within the film. Mr. Szwajkart has kindly provided the details. These are actual screenshots. .

CB&Q 6325 arrives with caboose. In steam days, the busy interchange was sent an engine and caboose. Often, a whole train could be assembled and sent westbound.

The locomotive proceeds to back into the small interchange yard, with Indiana Harbor Belt, at Congress Park. In a quick change of viewpoints, John is filming from the locomotive cab. A  few views of the action, from the 6325 cab!

The 6325 heads back to the main, after some interchange switching moves.

Burlington 5600 is shown approaching and continues onward , as the 6325 is back on the mainline. Looks like the engineer was smiling for the movie camera! John has said, that he enjoyed filming this sequence, and hopes that viewers will too.

Part 2- Early Steam Fantrips has CB&Q excursions in the various outings. Numbers 4000, 3001, 5632, and 4960 on the specials ! The 4000 has our cameraman on board the train, and travels to Galesburg. The 3001 is chased across the countryside. All have multiple viewpoints. Backing moves, runbys, on the train, pacing, and a good range of variety.

Part 3 Diesels Take Over.  This starts with shiny E8’s at scenic, Savanna. Classic ‘chicken wire’ F3’s rollby with a freight. FT’s are seen with hoppers, and a wooden caboose. Some E7’s pull the California Zephyr. Next and in only fair quality are: Milwaukee Road F7’s in orange, maroon are see. Union Pacific has E8’s on passenger trains.

Steam returns with 4963 on Bevere & Southern. Intriguing sequence of the coal train operation. This is a departure from the fantrips.The 4960 powers the final CB&Q excursion.

Diesels are a variety of classic 1st and 2nd generation EMD’s. Brookfield is the main location. Check the old water tank- no dolphins. Assorted F units and geeps are viewed. Burlington Northern early merger trains include: Great Northern and experimental BN liveries.

The old and new: two cabooses trail a GN F45 pair on the head of this passing freight. A CB&Q EMD is coming towards the camera. The wooden caboose appears in the 50’s and into the 60’s. The shiny steel cabooses were serving, well into the Burlington Northern era. Congress Park, and Brookfield have yielded many worthwhile scenes. This film collection is packed with ‘classic railroad’ scenes!

Bonus section has 5618 departing Chicago Union Station. Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range steam is next! Articulated engine #222 powers an early fantrip. Grand Trunk Western and Canadian National have steam operating in the area too. Duluth & Northeastern has a steam locomotive here. As with many trains,you will often see, wooden cabooses. The old 40 foot freight cars are plentiful. We are seeing an entire era, that has passed into history.

The CB&Q Collection has a nice variety of 8mm films. Shot over the 50’s to 70’s get many classic trains. This is an amateur filmed video. There is some occasional camera shake, and the original films are not restored. The vintage content is the attraction.

Fans of Burlington Route and steam engines, will find this an enjoyable hour of action packed trainwatching.

Ratiing: 3 1/2 Stars

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