Today’s Illinois Central: North Volume 1

Today’s Illinois Central: North Volume 1 cover


Length: 99 minutes

Time Period: 1996

Locations: Chicago to Fulton, KY.

MSRP: 29.95


The reconfigured Illinois Central receives the Pentrex treatment before merger. The year is 1996. A tour down the line, from Chicago to Fulton, KY. Many different trains are viewed in this operations oriented video. Much action is documented on this busy ICRR. Volume 1 focuses on the northern half of the railroad. Volume 2 covers the southern half to New Orleans .

duquoinCompared to Santa Fe: Countdown to Merger, this production is very similar. To cut a fine line, the camerawork is superior on the Santa Fe show. Watch both and compare the shows. Compared to the 2nd volume of these Illinois Central shows, this 1st volume is somewhat less in the videography. It just doesn’t look as smooth as their best shows. Still, rates well  in most all other facets of production.

ic 1000 sd70IC unit number 1000 is an Electromotive SD70 model. The newest power on the railroad.


Narration seems to drag behind the action quite noticeably. The information given is excellent. It is a pacing issue. Example such as, Notice the rare locomotive, when the train has already left the viewscreen. Attention is given to official IC train designations. Although that info could wait. Every train move is covered. Intersecting lines add interest. Union Pacific, Conrail, Norfolk Southern, CSX, and Burlington Northern. Amtrak as well.


amtrakAmtrak train 391 is one of many Amtrak passenger trains seen operating on the line.


Graphics identify the train symbols and more. Maps display the route. Good work.

cp mapChampaign District. Experienced Illinois Central fans will notice these locations are all classic IC hotspots. Narrator notes the crossings with other railroads. Champaign is a busy location.

bnsf sd70mac coal trainCentrailia is considered a great hotspot, with BNSF and Norfolk Southern there.

gp11 typeThe GP11 type is the workhorse for locals.These are updated with dash 2 electrical systems.

Discussion of locomotive types and numbering system. Details about the power roster. Rebuilding programs and origins of Paducah rebuilds provide insight about the still diverse roster. GP11, GP40, SD20, SD40-2, SD70, SW14. Also: SD28, SD40, GP10, GP38.

ic caboose

Today’s Illinois Central North Volume 1. A solid documentary of 1996 rail action. The major issue is a less interesting era. Not as bad as later years for railfanning, but not too exciting. Nice to see a cleaner looking IC versus the rag tag fleet of ICG. But wait, the ICG had way more variety. Fans of Illinois Central will find a good release. Even if it this volume isn’t the best one. Check the companion Today’s Illinois Central South Volume 2.

Rating: 3 1/2  Stars



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