P.M. Rush On The BN

P.M. Rush On The BN

John Szwajkart

Format: DVD

Length: 1 hour 15 minutes

Time Period: early 1990’s

Locations: Chicago, Congress Park, Brookfield, Berwyn, Downers Grove, Naperville.

Source: Rosemarie and John Szwajkart

MSRP: 25.00

The last holdout for EMD E9’s in daily mainline service was at Chicago. Burlington Northern’s fleet was in daily operation until replacement by 1993. These venerable units were pulling double decker passenger cars on the 30 miles between Chicago and Aurora. These E units were originally built by Electromotive Division of LaGrange during the 1950’s. They are nearly 40 years old here. This video documents an average weekday rush hour on the BN.

A select number of locations were picked to film that afternoon’s trains. Just as a normal, busy day, a few freight trains run on the triple track main. Locals will be very familiar with the stops on the route.

The Racetrack, is the nickname for the triple track between Chicago and Aurora. Viewers will get a sense of speed as some trains hustle through a scene. At peak periods, the express runs blow right by the locals. It is something to see.

Burlington Northern’s fleet outlasted the similar E-unit operation on Chicago & Northwestern. Both roads used the locomotives in push-pull fashion. The CNW E8’s were looking ragged in the early 1980’s. The BN engines were rebuilt into E9 class, and better maintained. So they ran for years after the CNW locomotives were gone.

This program is fast paced and action packed! To the trains………

Chicago’s Union Station was the terminal for the BN passenger service. A departing train smokes it up, while taking the commuters homeward.

      Note the tower located in the background, on the right. That tower was a busy place!

      At 16th Street, with the city looming in the background. At this late date, the bi-level passenger cars have Metra signage. The train is turning westbound now.

   Amtrak passes by at 16th Street. The Amtrak maintenance and coach yard to the right.

             Locomotive #9906 is outbound at 16th Street. A bunch of trains here!

                               Without the headlight on, this train is westbound.

The Brookfield Zoo is the reason for the dolphin themed water tank. A unit coal train is led by some General Electric power. Those three tracks would get extremely busy.

At Rush Hour, one could find two trains both on the same heading. The local would be on the side track and the express would blast, right down the middle.

The engineer is seated topside on the control end of this inbound train. He sits in the locomotive, when headed in the other direction.

                                   BN #9913 heading westbound, into the sunset.

Also, Amtrak, VIA and the Metra replacement locomotives make some cameo appearances. BN had plenty of hot intermodal trains. A few are seen moving quickly, to beat the rush hour onslaught of commuter trains. They always squeezed some freight in.

Quality is the usual, interesting amateur shot footage. The handheld camera is pretty shaky at times. Natural sound is fine.No narration, but you don’t need any.  Passenger platforms at the station stops are the main viewpoints. The camera zoom is well done.

The producer says nearly the entire fleet of E9’s is presented in this show. It looks about right. The BN/ Metra commuter service required numerous trainsets to cover the schedule. In previous years, those stainless steel cars carried Burlington Northern lettering and logos. Prior to that, Burlington, during the CB&Q era. In all years, Burlington was known for keeping the line open, even during Chicago blizzards.

Once again, John Szwajkart delivers a show, just as it is advertised. For those who remember, this is a souvenir of Burlington Northern E9’s and the typical high volume commuter traffic. Others who are interested in big city passenger operations, will get a good feel for this extensive level of service provided.

That camera shake prevents this from a higher rating. In fact, it is a video for the hardcore train enthusiast. If you can live with the handheld production, you do get to see the last stand, of the legendary fleet of Burlington Northern E9 locomotives.

Rating: 3 Stars

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