Crab Orchard & Egyptian 2-8-0 #17

Crab Orchard & Egyptian 2-8-0 # 17. The End Of The Steam Era

Diverging Clear Productions

Format: DVD

Length: 1 hour 24 minutes + previews

Time Period: 1985- 1986

Locations: Marion, Ordill, Mande, Illinois

Source: George Redmond

MSRP: 20.00

The Heritage Series

A new entry into The Heritage Series by Diverging Clear Productions. Having already released a feature on The Crab Orchard & Egyptian Railroad, a big cache of unused video is the source for this show on #17. Three days of filming in 1985 and 1986 offered plenty of footage.

In 1985, the CO&E was the last steam powered common rail carrier in the United States. Mary discusses the history of Crab Orchard & Egyptian.

DCP has been making upgrades to their company and the DVD titles. New: are maps on the rear of the slimline DVD case. These are very basic maps. They prove very useful, to follow the action on the shows. Direct printed DVD-R labeling is another upgrade. A 22 detailed chapter menu and a generous preview section are included.

                                                   Day one film.

Color correction has been processed to the old video tapes. Consumer grade cameras of the era were problematic. Some video color balance issues are still present. This is due in large part to the small tape area of the original tape. The first 20 minutes have the most color issues. That first day in 1985 is fair quality viewing. The 2nd day in 1985 was filmed in rain. A  freshly painted 17 and better looking film. The day in 1986 also looks very good.. The producer states to the effect that: although not up to today’s standards, the historical nature of the tapes make the show worthwhile…. Right!

                                                   Day two film.

Nice composition on the scenes.  Remember, this is amateur shot video, on a consumer grade camera. You will get camera shake on a variety of cab rides. Dizzying at times! The exterior camera shots are steadier, still some shakiness.

George Redmond has been the source of the Heritage Series prior shows. He is an adept cameraman. Seems that Mr. Redmond was at the right place/ right time to capture another bygone railroad era. All of the Heritage Series have been good shows so far. Many of the films are not often seen routes in Southern Illinois. The railroad equipment of the period keeps the series an interesting one.

Producer Mary McPherson has a good script, with a nice balance of talk and train.

Check the American style cab. 1986 film.

Number 17 was built in 1940. Canadian Locomotive Company was the builder. CO&E has made multiple modifications. Mary reviews all of the changes by CO&E to the 17.

See the 17 being used in daily revenue service. No volunteers, dignitaries or crowds. Just a locomotive and crew, going about their normal business of freight railroading.

Audio sounds good. The good sounding bell and low drone whistle, are from Illinois Central steamers.

                      A route of 8 miles and the 2-8-0 switching cars around.

                            Working in the rain, the 17 pulls hard on a cut of cars.

                                  Switching 100 ton grain cars at P&S Grain Elevator.

                                           The engineer at work.

Cab ride at P&S Grain. A different world from the steam excursions that we often see.

                Good view of the tender, and note the strobe, above the headlight,

DCP has given viewers another enjoyable, vintage train video. Crab Orchard & Egyptian had a very unique operation when 17 was operating. This program is a good way to experience the railroad. This presentation offers an ‘up close and personal’ viewpoint.

This show seems to run longer than necessary. Perhaps, some editing on scenes where there is excessive camera shaking, would begin to smooth it out better. Still, some fast forwarding controls any dizziness.

Some may feel the need to see everything. Bonus footage can be added. Less is More! Quality shots and concise storytelling, are very effective partners. Can it be told in an hour? A 30 minute bonus to catch the remainder. The story would move at a brisker pace. Those who always want more, can view the extras. A higher level show results.

This is a worthwhile, historical look at a bygone steam operation. Hardcore railfan show.

Rating: 3 Stars

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