The Santa Fe In Illinois: Parts 1 & 2

The Santa Fe In Illinois: Parts 1 & 2

John Szwajkart

Format: 2 DVD-R set

Length: Over 2 hours

Time Period: 1995

Locations: By the crossing bells.

Source: John Szwajkart

MSRP: 40.00

This show has post merger BNSF trains in Illinois. The double track mainline retains a Santa Fe appearance. A timeframe beginning around 1995 promises some truly uniform trains. In fact, the only saving grace, are various locomotives. Now, the cameraman can’t control what equipment is used by the railroad. Esthetics and railfan interest are not the purpose of a modern conveyor belt on rails. Moving commodities is the real deal.

As with the other John Szwajkart shows, no extras. A few location graphics. It is raw video with the live audio. No narration and unedited soundtrack.

This reviewer has almost zero interest, in watching this modern era . What is more unremarkable than seeing a unit coal train? The answer: double stacks and trailer on flatcar moves. If you are the type who enjoys modern, monolithic operations, you may be in business.

After an opening of some drab modern Amtrak boarding at Joliet. The best of the disc! A single pass of 3751 at speed. Classic steam whistle. Milwaukee Road 261 gets a scene too, on the second part of this double disc.

Returning to the main subject; modern, post-merger BNSF…

The following 3 screenshots are very telling of Part One…

   Bells ring like crazy, at the nearby crossing gate… Oh no! Not one of those videos!

                      Double stacks pass at a fast speed. Bells continue to ring.

Same train, the camera pans around to reveal the rest, trailers on flat cars. Bells are still ringing. Wait for next train repeat, drive to next set of gates, repeat. In fairness, not 100% all the time, but most of the time.

A note to anyone editing train footage, with sound. Hearing crossing bells one time is fine. Beyond that freebie, they get old fast. While some may think ‘cute’, it gets annoying. Like an unanswered telephone. This Part 1 is loaded with: ding, ding, ding, ding, and on and on. Easily could have posted many shots, that include the gate. Not only do the bells ring on approach, the entire train rolls by, the bells ringing endlessly.

OK, so now you have the story on Part 1. Don’t forget the non- tripod, handheld camera. Shaky camera shots throughout, even on a still object. Can’t really term this anything other than amateur level. A big bunch of grab shots by the public road crossings.

Part 2 is Kernan to Tolucca

So, how are things in Part Two? Still at the grade crossings, with those annoying bells?

                   An unbelievable nearly 30 minutes of dinging crossing gate bells…. Spare Me!

                         This is totally amateur, and in fact, a lazy piece of film-making.

This type of production is a good example, of a poorly done train video. The bell syndrome settles down near the end, but it’s too late to make any difference.

Those many grade crossing bells ringing, make this one of the most irritating shows ever! Shaky camerawork, and the annoying audio. A two hour collection of grab shots.

An alternate title that is descriptive of this show…… BNSF in Illinois: Bells to Oblivion.

This is what gives train videos a bad reputation. Save your $40.  Avoid this one.

Rating: 1 Star

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