Producer: Mary McPherson
Locations: Carbondale, Centralia, Champaign, Edgewood Cut-Off, Tuscola, more
Length: 2 hours
Sources, video: George Redmond, Kurt Jensen, Mary McPherson, Tom Dunn
Covering 60 years of Illinois Central history. Geographically, this is mainly in downstate Illinois. This is representative of the railroad, for the most part. So, do not expect the full system. Too much to get everything in this review. Let’s see some highlights…
The timeline begins early in 1938. Moves forward into 1998. Two GP40s bracket a pair of GP9 units, in the Green Diamond scheme. This from the 1960s.
The single DVD-R contains a Chapter Menu. Plenty of on-screen graphics. No maps. Narrated by Mary McPherson.
Audio is natural sound on the contemporary sections. The vintage films have a mixture of, train sounds and music. Some extra attention to detail on the train sounds. Above, is at Effingham, an old hotspot. The crossing is Conrail trackage.
The 1938 film is black and white. Appears to have been filmed by someone, with approved access. Officials and workers posing, with train scenes. Clean footage. Good sounds. Fine chapter. Carbondale location.
Some amateur, 1950s color film. This from the transaction era. Quick glimpse of Chicago, a few trains. Follow a hostler. Frank Baumgarten in 1955. A last look, on his normal steam engine, roundhouse, workday. A little more action, at Carbondale. Mikado 1516 above.
A pacing sequence of the DeSoto local, ends this Chapter. Watch for a diesel pace, same location later!
The Metropolis bridge is stunning!
The highlight is excellent color film from the 1960s. This small collection, from the Champaign area. Most from near the tower and yard lead. Slow speeds allow good views. Some from the on tower! GP9 locomotives, in original and new repaints. Rebuilt Geeps, as well.
There are several passenger trains. Various viewpoints. Above is, The Shawnee. Viewed from Champaign Tower. Find a rare E6. Inquire within…
Moving with a big leap forward. Well into the late Illinois Central Gulf era. Familiar George Redmond, with unreleased video! Nice, clean footage.
Raunchy looking power, was part of the rolling museum, of the 1980s Illinois Central Gulf. The GM&O sights, were incredible! Not included here.
This black GP40 was the last one, in original, Green Diamond scheme. Pacing sequence above.
The gray/orange scheme, was the ICG answer to heavy weathering. Unique to the railroad, SD20 locomotive.
Creeping into the 1990s. The black dip Illinois Central paint appears. It does look sharp, after many years of observing the ragtag fleet of ICG.
The show settles into a more standard, pattern of 1990s era trainwatching. Doesn’t the SD20 appear better in black?
There are still some Paducah Geep rebuilds in service. The GP11 types will be the very last in usage.
Tuscola has a tower in it’s last year’s. A significant amount of time spent here. Inside tower visit, although not filmed the best. Still, beats no visit. Take it.
Rare territory is the Edgewood Cut-Off. Coal and grain were always money.
There’s a derailment! Whew! Only a single boxcar.
Need a rest after that scare. Compare the older orange, with the new image caboose. Yawn, for the gray one.
At Cobden, a grade requires a good headstart and enough horsepower. Some trains have to be split in two.
Winter snow dramatically alters the scene. An Operation Lifesaver #6068 on the point, at Cobden. An SD70 is in this lash-up.
Excellent night scenes in this show. Amtrak at a station. The reflective surfaces are great, for under the lights. City of New Orleans. Mary’s run! Laughed at that closing piece!!
The Illinois Central does have some tunnels. This one is on the rarely filmed Edgewood Cut-Off in 1998, by Tom Dunn.
At Edgewood. Train symbol MECR is Memphis to Conrail, at Effingham. More frequent SD70 appearances, signal that we are approaching the end, for the Illinois Central Railroad. The Stop sign foreshadows the roads future…
The venerable IC side door caboose. Mainline of Mid America slogan. Some of these served, into ICG paint. Classics!
Sixty Years Along the Illinois Central.
The show meets it’s advertised. Vintage films are very worthwhile. The 1960s film is excellent. ICG update is very good video. The later 1990s video, is even better. Fast paced. An enjoyable look, at the Illinois Central. Action is around Southern Illinois. This Heritage Series, is their best release!
Rating: 5 Stars