Early CSX: Changing Times on the West End


Producer: Mary McPherson

Timeframe: 1985- 2000

Locations: Salem, Mt. Vernon,Odin, E. Louis,

Length: 1 hour 45 minutes

Source: George Redmond

Another entry in The Heritage Series by Diverging Clear. Somewhat, rarer material that has predecessor CSX paint in good quantity. Although in the later years, more normal CSX is present. Historical value is obvious. Non existent scenes are here.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-12h38m15s441George Redmond video is the show source. A single DVD-R. A numbered Chapter Menu. Plenty of location graphics. No maps. Natural, enviornmental audio.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-10h52m07s249Mary McPherson with a relaxed narrative. Colors are weaker than similar, Heritage recent releases. Picture quality is ranging from good to very good. Realize, these are earlier years. Equipment limitations on original lighting and videotape aging, effect the results. Still, everything is watchable. Nothing too weird. A bit green or yellow sometimes.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-10h52m32s372Story begins at a now, disappeared yard in East St. Louis. Check that blue  B&O switcher.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-10h54m47s712A GE U-30-B departs E. St. Louis yard in 1985.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-11h13m22s995Still wearing Seaboard Coast Line paint. GP38 #2541, is paced to Delafield Illinois. Videography apprears better, in later years.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-11h22m06s316At Mount Vernon. Action in 1988 and 1990.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-11h54m01s882Ashley scenes shot in September, 2000. This train goes to Nashville. Switch the grain elevator. Long segment. A GP40 and modified GP30.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-12h08m25s022Salem in 1985. GP35 C&O 3584 and the 6593, work some cars here. Former C&EI trackage. Union Pacific interchange.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-12h08m09s562Let’s eyeball that B&O 6593.. Nice!

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-11h23m57s873Salem crossing has numerous trains.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-12h36m11s557Odin has newer CSX locomotives. Salem shows even more. Too much repeition on these C40 units, for me.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-12h43m11s019Back at Salem crossing. Relief with different power. Foreign locomotives seen: Santa Fe, Southern Pacific, and Conrail.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-12h57m15s837Operation Redblock livery on this GP38. At Vincennes, IN. with a local.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-11h29m47s690Seaboard System and Family Lines, are found in the earlier years. In 1985, some cabooses. Note the rare, GP16 on the lead.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-11h26m26s940Pretty typical, for a Diverging Clear, Heritage Series. It does contain some  harder to find, circa 1985 and 1991 action. Those scenes are the highlights of this show. Remainder is dominant CSX gray. This is where I would have cut film, in a major fashion.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-11h33m29s725A Family Lines caboose, wears SBD reporting marks. Bet you thought it would be a Chessie System!

I am not much for repetion. She is the opposite. So, depending on your point of view. Too long or never enough, timewise.

Being the reviewer. I will perform my role. Runs too long. There are good nuggets. So, worthy for those. If you like early CSX, it’s in there.

Rating: 3 Stars

Conrail Memories of Big Blue


Producer: Mary McPherson

Timeframe: 1985 – 1991

Locations: Effingham, St. Elmo, Teutopolis, Mt. Vernon, Smithboro

Length: 1 hour 55 minutes

Source: George Redmond

Another Conrail entry in The Heritage Series. Running on former Pennsylvania and Missouri Pacific lines. Big blue was busy in Southern Illinois!

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h09m03s763George Redmond video. Shot beginning in 1985. The quality is a little rough early. It improves as the timeline progresses. Those are some color issues. Picture quality is very good, for video. Sound is live audio.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h41m47s451This A is a single DVD-R. Chapter Menu,No which is pictured and numbered. Zero maps. Plenty of on-screen, location graphics. Mary McPherson narrates in an as needed basis. Plenty of space to hear the trains operate.

Early action begins in Salem, 1985.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h05m07s975Effingham in 1986 & 1987. Much more from this location in this show, various years.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h40m45s092Teutopolis has high speed trains.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h27m53s081Mount Vernon, in 1988. Conrail 3374 is on the point. This on Union Pacific rails.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h35m06s032Mary is a unique Producer. She often has an element of humor or straight up fun. In this show, a collage of Conrail pacing sequences are a gas!

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h43m16s052Shot around Teutopolis. The trains operate at road speeds. They are every bit as enjoyable to listen to, as to watch.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h36m04s500A GP30 2213 is in the middle, on this eastbound move.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h51m03s006A quick break. Return to additional pacing. An SD40-2 on the point.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h42m36s784A quad of GP15 are a rare catch on the main! Noisy bunch, that remind us of sets of vintage GP9s.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h53m50s739This action, is almost as much fun, as a Lionel train running around a Christmas tree!

In 1989 now. Pacing With a GP40 leading an SD50.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h12m13s674CR 6273 with a hot piggyback.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h35m36s510Train INNL. Indy to North Little Rock behind 3375. At Benton.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h07m20s684The latter half drags off and becomes repetitive. Solid blue lash-ups of trains at the same locations. Effingham again. Union Pacific interchange is shown for a moment.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h51m20s209The common intermodal traffic, is also unexciting.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h46m53s085St. Elmo is frequently shown.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-13h19m37s882Finally, a change. Smithboro, Illinois. Here is the Conrail St. Louis line, at the BN crossing.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h33m44s484Again, back to Effingham area.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h24m16s600Compared to the somewhat similar, Conrail St. Loo to Horseshoe. Recommend this one for the better title. No, just kidding! Recommend this one, for higher video quality. Plus, the pacing action. The Illinois sections, cover about the same territory.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-13h33m32s696This show delivers a big bellyful of Conrail. No doubt about it. Fans of the Big Blue will be satisfied, at the near 2 hour length. Little deviation from the home road. For the rest, it may run too long. No scenic highlights. Already mentioned, is the repetitive nature.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h02m37s563This is a good show. As is often the case with Diverging Clear. Less would be more, to my tastes. So, bump the rating up, if you like.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars










Union Pacific, The MoPac Merger Years: 1986 – 88


Producer: Mary McPherson

Timeframe: 1986 – 88

Locations: Salem, Mt. Vernon, Kirkwood…

Length: 1 hour 49 minutes

Source: George Redmond

This Heritage Series show is focused on the final years of Missouri Pacific. The videos are centered around the St. Louis area.

A single DVD-R. A main menu, with options. Play, Scene Selection and Previews.  No maps. There are on-screen graphics.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-13h07m15s643Videography by George Redmond. He is very competent. The scenes are on point. Only limited by the tech of the era. Still, these are images that are hard to find.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-12h50m46s240Color balance is very good. Audio is lively! Mary let’s these trains be heard. An enjoyable show.


A broadside view of the final scheme. Those C36-7 units, were assigned to hot priority moves.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-10h59m58s013The opening scene was shot in March, 1985. These Missouri Pacific GP50 units, are painted in the UP style. Nicknamed the Canary paint scheme.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-11h17m32s252Blue GP38s switch at Salem Yard.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-11h09m52s538A Western Pacific GP40, also at Salem. 

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-12h20m09s204A GE C36-7 at Tuscola, Illinois. The tower is Illinois Central. Doesn’t this locomotive, recall late Alco design?

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-11h23m33s297A blue GE is heading this local.


Some GP18s are turned in at Mt. Vernon, to be scrapped. Note, the low and high hood options.


This Houston to Indianapolis, displays the three principal paint schemes, in use. Salem.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-11h39m23s292At Dupo, Illinois. A trio of SD50 canaries lead a unit coal train. These late model orders were delivered in this revised paint.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-12h34m43s042Rarely seen, Union Pacific RoadRailer trains. Good for some appearances,l in this show.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-11h42m08s603Those  C30-7 were MoPacs last new order. 

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-11h45m29s782George has good pacing sequences. A malfunctioning GE unit, is the most entertaining.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-11h54m54s652By 1987, a solid set of MoPac blue is almost impossible to find, on a road train!

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-12h52m22s170After watching the operator print it. A funny moment! The engineer on this Conrail engine, whiffs on the grab. Mary comments the train continues onward, because it is CTC territory.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-12h10m47s553Former MP 4248 and it’s mate 4232, are now in full Union Pacific paint. Mount Vernon.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-12h31m53s271Engine #1713 leads at Kirkwood,MO.


Naturally, by 1988 the older blue units are faded and in smaller numbers. A veteran SD40 shows up at Mt. Vernon.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-12h45m38s971This scene tells the story, of the later Missouri Pacific years. Union Pacific, with an ever growing prescence. This power clears the mainline at Mount Vernon, after dropping it’s cars.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-12h38m20s889In the end, the railroad is absorbed into the super system. Some say it’s progress. While many Railfan’s, are saddened at another fallen flag. 

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-13h00m33s314There are a number of cabooses in this show. The transfer model could show, in road service.

A well paced show. The train sounds make it just as interesting to hear, as it is to view. Sure, it is not modern standards. There is historical value in these older tapes. This collection has aged well. Narrative highlights the need to know information. A variety of locations. One of the better Heritage Series releases.

Rating: 4 Stars







Santa Fe 1990’s Memories


Producer: Mary McPherson

Timeframe: 1992- 95

Locations: Edelstein, Fort Madison, more

Length: 1 hour 22 minutes

Source: George Redmond

This Heritage Series features Santa Fe. This 1990’s show, begins before the BNSF merger. Mostly is Edelstein, Illinois and Fort Madison, Iowa. Some other spots are included.

A Chapter Menu is included. Some on-screen graphics. No maps. Preview section.

vlcsnap-2020-02-11-09h33m14s654George Redmond video. He is a good Videographer. Colors are good on this show. Natural audio. Mary McPherson narrates it well. Everything is balanced. A GE B40-8 leads the above freight train.

vlcsnap-2020-02-11-09h19m37s086Much action on the mainline at Edelstein. This video from 1992.


Largely, intermodal traffic. No caboose on any train. Some general freight traffic.


Jump forward to 1995. Bucklin, Missouri. The fast freights blow by the camera, at this location.


Fort Madison is a crew change point. Much better to see the trains, up close.


Night trains here.


Excellent for tight views. Yes, I chose this one. Both Santa Fe schemes, plus an Intermodal. Sums up most of this show!


A GP20 is one of several, that are easily spotted in this program.


Bucklin again. In a rainstorm. Amtrak Southwest Chief.


Fort Madison again. This is a hotspot. 215 is a new SD75M. Isn’t the night work fine?


TP&W rolls past with a trio of GP20. Obviously, ex: Santa Fe units.


Back to 1992. Edelstein again. Odd order of events.


Santa Fe 1990’s Memories. Delivers on the advertised. It pretty much hit exactly what I expected. Defective of the extensive intermodal traffic on the transcon mainline.


While not a peak interest period for myself. This show is well produced. The power at the time is interesting. Plentiful, are the Blue and Yellow Warbonnets. Older second generation Electromotive units appear frequently. Adding interest, are the newer Red and Silver Warbonnets that are coming online at this time.

All in all, a still  good if not an outstanding era, to railfan the Santa Fe. This Heritage Series captures that well. Solid, if not the most classic Santa Fe.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars






Conrail St. Loo to Horseshoe

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Producer: Mary McPherson

Locations: Smithboro, St. Elmo, Effingham, Horseshoe Curve…

Timeframe: 1990-94

Length: 1 hour 57 minutes

Source: George Redmond

This Heritage Series features Conrail. The former Pennsylvania St. Louis line. Southern Illinois locations. Teleports over to more interesting Allegheny Mountains. Horseshoe Curve is the main feature, on the second half.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-12h46m03s801George Redmond had hundreds of hours of video footage. Good camera skills. A key source for specialized interests. If early to mid 1990s fits your bag. Even if you just like Horseshoe Curve, and who doesn’t? This is likely, worth a look.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h13m03s112A single DVD-R. Slimline case. Better than average, a highly detailed Chapter Menu. No maps, which are not needed. Plenty of on-screen graphics.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h56m20s252Natural, Enviornmental audio soundtrack. Good levels. Plenty of space, to hear the locomotives working. Mary McPherson performs the sparse narrative.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-12h28m20s871Smithboro, Il, is at a crossing, with the Burlington Northern in 1990.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-12h54m40s177St. Elmo, is a Conrail interchange point. Road traffic moves through, as well.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-12h40m19s281Symbol KVPI comes off the Union Pacific Rails. Going to Pittsburgh from Kingsville, Texas.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-12h57m20s067NYDAZ at St Elmo with 6727 over to Union Pacific. New York to Dallas.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h17m33s640Effingham is a traditional Illinois hotspot. Illinois Central and Pennsylvania original railroads.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h26m13s258Winter of 93 at Effingham. Station is at left.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-12h42m46s458A look at some boxcars. Going to St. Louis.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h34m06s478A C30-7 is paced East of Teutopolis.


vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h36m19s951Altoona at Alto Tower is next! Year is 1994.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h40m10s882Arrival at Horseshoe Curve! High expectations, for this world famous location. A word of wisdom. To avoid disappointment in all things, keep expectations low.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h48m18s187There are a few issues, with this lengthy chapter. Murphy’s law seemed to be in effect. First, some issues could have been minimized, via editing. Simply, eliminating some of the problems. Amtrak Broadway Limited is seen. Also, a rare Roadrailer.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h48m54s842No one is God. Weather is sometimes not conducive to shooting outdoor video. If one chooses to record, the producer may edit. A little rain or fog is usually acceptable. People travel long and far. 

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h57m48s348 A viewer should not have to suffer eye strain for 15 or 20 minutes. Unreasonable! Put it in a bonus section, if one doesn’t have the strength to cut it out.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-14h35m00s097Another issue here is a super annoying workman. Now, he is merely doing his work. Unfortunately, it is in direct conflict, with enjoyable listening, at Horseshoe Curve. What is the offense? A loud weedwacker! Fairly close to the video camera. The microphone picks it up efficiently. Here, the producer could have deleted these audio sections, in favor of anything else.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-14h43m23s489So, the total is: foggy and rainy, or plenty of weedwacker noise. The Conrail trains are out in force. It could have been presented better. Hence, Amateur level reality.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h46m27s695The Illinois half of the show is consistent, with most of the George Redmond videos. It does have a better overall appearance. The Horseshoe Curve with it’s issues, are the decision maker for this release. Despite the technical issues, it is still has, solid Conrail action. If that floats your boat. You should be fairly satisfied.

Rating: 3 Stars