Union Pacific’s Chester Subdivision

Union Pacific’s Chester Subdivision

Diverging Clear Productions

Format: DVD

Length: 1 hour 55 minutes

Time Period: 2004- 2010

Location: Chester,MO. to Thebes, Ill.

Source: Mary R. McPherson

This contemporary show is about Union Pacific in southern Illinois. The Chester Subdivision is the covered area. Former Missouri Pacific route from Chester, MO to Thebes,IL. While not one of the better known, east- west lines, there is plenty of traffic. This mainline runs north and south. St. Louis to Texas, with some Chicago freights too.  General merchandise and coal trains are seen. Also, the usual COFC and TOFC moves. Many trains have a single pusher locomotive.

Specifics about the general production. No maps or other graphics are used. Would have really liked a map, to view the locations of towns, river proximity etc.. This would have been a huge help, in getting a sense of this area. Mentioning obscure locations, doesn’t create understanding the route.

The camerawork is excellent. In fact, the level of cinematography, exceeds the post production work. Audio has extraneous noise items such as: windnoise on microphone, and some whooshing automobiles. There is no apparent sound editing to control audio. Overall, this basic presentation will be fine for hardcore railfans.

Basic narration, is very minimal. There doesn’t seem to be much to say about the  towns. None of the towns are shown. Perhaps, there isn’t anything to see at these places. Mainly, it is a grain elevator or a grade crossing. Natural, live audio sounds, dominate this show.

The Mississippi River provides a nice background at Chester. Yes, the location features riverfront right-of-way. Complete with a few barges thrown in for some spice. Modern era  trains, need some spice. Actually, there are some surprises. Union Pacific is a big kingdom these days. Let us see what goes on at the Chester Subdivision…

The locomotives are the current, third generation units. General Electric and Electromotive in abundance. Older power has GP38-2 and GE dash 7 models. Some foreign roads are evident. BNSF, CSX, Canadian National and Norfolk Southern make appearances.

Chester is located along  the scenic riverfront trackage. Union Pacific parades freight trains. A Norfolk Southern train passes through Menard Jct., a mile away.

Cora is another nearby town. Here, the camera is located next to the railroad gate crossing. If you like to hear ‘ding-ding’ nonstop, this is the place! Well, children may enjoy the endless ringing more. Multiple trains, including a stopped coal train. Double stack containers pass on the far side of the coal cars. A break from the bell, perhaps some narration would be welcome in this sequence.

Diverging Clear is good at including nice pan shots , across the farm fields. A highlight compilation chapter has a nice selection of trains. Here are two of them.                                 This whole sequence has more UP, and other roads..

                                          BNSF locomotive on the lead.

Interesting viewpoints do continue in the second half. A couple of trains move through the late autumn scenery, at Pine Hills. Bare trees, open farm country, and telephoto lens give a long look at those trains. At Muddy River Bridge, viewpoints from river bottom, and up at track level work well. Low angle shots give the viewer, the sense of size. She shoots at any hour, so you will see various lighting; with dawn, and night footage.

                                           Here a UP train….  splits the dingers.

The too frequent ‘ding-ding-ding-ding’, crossing bells are the weak point of the show. Way too many crossing bells, give an amateur feel … back to the fine photography.

                                        Union Pacific 3985 smokes it up!

                                              Approaching double stack.

We end up viewing action on a huge trestle bridge at Thebes, Ill. Sometimes less is more. At nearly 2 hours, this might be what modern Union Pacific fans want.

In summary, this show will satisfy contemporary railfans. A boatload of Union Pacific action. Throw in the foreign road power, which is a good addition. Fine photography is what drives this program. The Chester Subdivision, has now been covered by Diverging Clear Productions. If you can’t visit, or want to see this UP route, here it is.

Rating: 3 Stars

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