Hot Rails Through the Twin Cities

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Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1998

Locations: Minneapolis area

Length: 1 hour 45 minutes

Extensive coverage around Minneapolis and St. Paul vicinity. Multiple hot spots. A fine supply of roadnames. The amount of variety, is surprising here. While not as much as historical peaks, still a healthy amount of railroading to be seen in 1998.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-19h05m01s289So many trains. Only room for some highlights.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-19h19m57s997Some major locations: Northtown, Division St., University St., Hoffman, Pig’s Eye Yard and Dayton’s Bluff.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-19h38m47s693Pentrex high quality standards. Single silver DVD. Master menu. Detailed Chapter Menu. Preview section.Multiple reference maps, keep viewers on top of the locations. On screen graphics, are often displayed. David Drui with a detailed narrative.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-19h00m45s748Northtown yard is the first major point. Burlington Northern power. SD9s and EMD switchers work the yard.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-19h36m56s267Soo Line paint is found easily. University Street, is one of many hotspots. This lash-up has notable Soo Line motive power.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-19h26m19s355Canadian National zebra paint still looks good, on these older units. SD40.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-19h23m57s379Burlington Northern on the BNSF mainline. The CP Rail train, is taking a turn onto Candian Pacific rails.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-18h51m02s728A BNSF stack move.  Sample of the on-screen graphics.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-19h27m23s973A Wisconsin Central move leaves Shoreham yard. These three SD45s are getting onto Burlington Northern rails, at University.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-19h30m27s670Union Pacific 179. A GE B23-7, is an ex: MoPac unit. 

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-20h38m06s499Chicago and NorthWestern paint endures, on this train.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-20h45m59s693Union Pacific GP units are not often seen in solid lash-ups.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-19h49m56s486Milwaukee Road #261 is operating. A late Northern. The 4-8-4 is an Alco, from 1944. The Midway Area is in between, the twin cities.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-20h11m26s570Minnesota Commercial has interesting power working at Midway yard.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-20h13m38s232This Alco RS27 is a rare bird! They run additional Alco locomotives.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-20h24m52s799Amtrak Empire Builder eases it’s way through town. Passing the Minnesota Commercial engine facility.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-20h29m09s213Twin Cities and Western running GP20C. These are now Cat powered.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-20h31m46s689Unusual grade crossing equipment. This Soo Line MP15 still wears a Milwaukee Road ‘bandit’ paint scheme.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-21h12m30s940Pig’s Eye Yard is the last major railyard visited.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-21h12m58s755Montana Rail Link, although identified as I&M Rail Link. At Pig’s Eye Yard.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-21h21m18s500Burlington Northern SD40-2 leads an Electromotive SD40-3.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-21h22m42s049Hoffman is outside Pig’s Eye Yard. Another area hot spot.

vlcsnap-2020-03-11-21h11m09s732The Soo Line caboose appears. Although in beater condition. It is a welcome sight.

Hot Rails Through the Twin Cities. A plethora of train action. This should satisfy nearly, any Railfan or Model RaiIroader. In the top tier of Pentrex shows!

Rating: 5 Stars

 

 

 

Burlington Northern- In the Former ‘Q’ Coal Fields

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Producer: Mary McPherson

Timeframe: 1986- 1991

Locations: Centralia, Goreville Hill,

Length: 1 hour 49 minutes

Source: George Redmond

This Heritage Series release is on Burlington Northern coal trains. Shot in Southern Illinois. Some general freight and intermodal trains, are included.  Various BN diesel power.

vlcsnap-2019-12-02-14h38m56s333George Redmond was out with his video camera. What you see, is what you get. Enviornmental soundtrack. Mary does the narrative. A numbered Chapter Menu. Plenty of on-screen graphics. No maps.

vlcsnap-2019-12-02-13h58m04s269Video quality is variable. Weather and natural light levels. Colors are good. It’s old videotape sourced. The best is here. Do not expect a modern image. Let’s take a look, see what’s going on.

vlcsnap-2019-12-02-14h12m34s809General Electric 12 axle locomotives, are heavily utilized. Older, U30C engines are mixed with C30-7 power. The ubiquitous SD40-2 locos are here, but must be concentrated elsewhere.

vlcsnap-2019-12-02-13h43m22s107 A GP20 makes the scene!

vlcsnap-2019-12-02-15h23m21s943BN, was easily identified on the coal hoppers, in the old days.

vlcsnap-2019-12-02-15h25m01s451Cabooses are frequently seen throughout. The intermodals, were amoung the first to lose them.

vlcsnap-2019-12-02-14h44m45s015There are discrepancies. Compass heading, versus timetable direction. Simple solution, is to see the show and let Mary explain it all. 

vlcsnap-2019-12-02-14h39m22s624Centralia, Shattuck and Cravat Hill. These are the main areas frequented.

vlcsnap-2019-12-02-13h44m18s494Cravat Hill has a grade. These locomotives smoke it up. Also, check the graphic.

vlcsnap-2019-12-02-14h41m24s867Experimental scheme. Big BN, plus a whiteface, on this GP50 unit.

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Neilson Jct. is another busy location. GP38 pair, with a mixed freight.

vlcsnap-2019-12-02-14h16m46s784The blue units are Electromotive.

vlcsnap-2019-12-02-15h13m51s105A whiteface C30-7 caught George’s eye.

vlcsnap-2019-12-02-15h17m48s599It gets chased, all the way to the Metropolis Bridge!

vlcsnap-2019-12-02-15h40m28s316Electromotive units on their own.

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A GP30 with the whiteface, is rare! The show is well paced. Nicely edited, doesn’t drag.

vlcsnap-2019-12-02-13h42m04s993These two cabooses sport the old and the new. A green BN. An original CB&Q, Burlington Route. You can just make the rectangular, Burlington Route logo.

vlcsnap-2019-12-02-14h37m41s371Burlington Northern- In the Former ‘Q’ Coal Fields.

Certainly does the job. Coal trains and more coal trains. A minimum of variety. There is the weather! The advertised clearly states, Coal. So, if a Railfan enjoys; Burlington Northern and coal. That is a clear match.

Everyone else, realize these are specific tapes. Check the Diverging Clear line for your own mates. Solid show for BN fans.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

 

Kansas City Diesel Power Review

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Producer: Charles Smiley

Timeframe: 1996- 2000

Locations: KC, Olathe, Bonner Springs, Holliday, more

Length: 1 hour 52 minutes

Source: David Defendorf

Kansas City is second only to Chicago, for America’s railroad capital. A cornucopia of this era’s railroads pass through this area. This program focuses upon the diesel power. Viewers will not be put to sleep watching unit trains.

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A single silver, factory pressed DVD. These are manufactured at the same facilities, as used by some Hollywood companies. ChapterMenu is numbered. Plentiful, are the on-screen graphics.

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Custom made maps, a CSP standard. Details vary by requirements. Predecessor roads, locating junctions or suburbs. He makes  frequent use of various maps.

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Video quality is excellent. All of it has been digitally restored. The imagery is top shelf.

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Audio is very lively! These trains do sound off. Birds in fields are heard clearly. A few too many crossing bell scenes, but does move on.

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Charles does the narrative. He is much quieter, than usual. So, for those who feel that he talks too much. Here is your show!

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This almost 2 hour show extends beyond Kansas City limits. We visit hotspots and some rural looking places.

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The Bottoms is recognizable, as the old City section of KC. This scene and below, have details for Model Railroaders. Take note!

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Santa Fe Crossing is a classic location. Tower is visible in background. Modified GP7u locomotives, were still in daily service. Not bad, for Electromotive 1953 built diesels.

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Some additional hotspots, such as Olathe, Kansas. Very busy location.

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The Highline Bridge is unusual. An interesting place.

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Soo Line reached Kansas City, as well.

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The setup at Bonner Springs, yields a bunch of close-up trains. Apparently, a Dash 8 is loading too much fuel.

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A Chicago and North Western pair, passes by the camera.

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Kansas City Southern is a railroad that was based here for decades.

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Gateway Western is a relative newcomer.

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Even more action, with Conrail power.

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Norfolk Southern appears, with various trains.

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BNSF brings up different possibilities.

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It is mainly a Western Railroad show. Which brings up the question. What is the railroad that you think of, when Kansas City is mentioned?

vlcsnap-2019-11-29-17h38m07s252Rare find, is this Department of Defense caboose.

Kansas City Diesel Power Review.

Charles certainly delivers on the advertised. A trainload of diesel power! The large assortment of: locomotives, locations and railroads, keep it interesting. Definitive overview of the Kansas City area.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

Montana Rail Link EMDs in the Rockies Volume 2 The West End

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Producer: C. Vision

Locations: Helena, Mullan Pass, Evaro Hill, DeSmet, Paradise, Sandpoint

Timeframe: circa 2014

Length: 2 hours

Source: Mike Savona

Likely the sleeper in the large C. Vision catalog. A spectacular last part, sets this apart! Postcards brought to life. This is an accurate description of the scenes, as this show travels towards Sandpoint, Idaho. One amazing scene after another. Getting ahead of the review.

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Here is the second of a two volume issue from C. Vision, about the contemporary Montana Rail Link. Long vanished, are EMDs in Burlington Northern paint. Shiny dark blue here.

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The roster is looking prosperous. Newer SD70AC locomotives. SD45 and updated SD40 class power. Some older GP9 or similar types in clean MRL paint.

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BNSF units are plentiful, as well. Sometimes in their own solid sets. They can appear in mixed lash-ups. Also, single rearend helpers. Odd looking as that is.

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The line coverage is complete. Where the MRL has many points seen with a train or two. Much more of the route mileage, can be viewed. Several maps are included.

The single DVD-R is enclosed in a sturdy plastic case. A detailed Chapter Menu. Choice of the narrative is on/ off.

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The Videography is top shelf! Production is first class throughout. The skill level of the Videographer meets and exceeds anyone, on the current scene. Don Grant does the narration.

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As a reviewer. It is also my role, to discuss any concerns. In this case, wildfire smoke is visible, in some scenes. Similar to inclement weather. The scenes are completely watchable. Nothing serious.

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Audio is natural, Enviornmental Sound. Professional production levels. Show is narrated. Focused on locations, movements and trackage. Could have used additional locomotive information, but not a major miss. The emphasis on train sounds seems to be the priority.

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Obviously, at a two hour program length. Only room to skim the surface. Highlights.

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The appearance of the newer SD70AC, Electromotive diesels scream, Brute Force! Perfect for conquering mountain grades.

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Even with those bad boys on the roster. Nothing is wrong with dependable second generation EMD turbo charged muscle. SD40XR.

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Luckily, this was filmed over a few years. A now discontinued local was still working. The Paradise local, as seen here. Also, another the Darby local.

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After viewing all the high horsepower diesels. Venerable first generation, Electromotive of LaGrange built locomotives, still get the job done. Some about 50 years later!

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Mullan Pass and the area, is often photographed. As is the Continental Divide.

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A surprising find. The important Gas Trains. Day and Night scheduled runs. Some pulling along with mixed freight. All trains have their symbols.

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Coal has always been a big commodity. A railroad stronghold.

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Far on the West End. The beautiful water provides many reflections.

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Sandpoint, Idaho is the end of Montana Rail Link territory.

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A Montana Rail Link caboose is faded, but completely serviceable.

C. Vision has this; Montana Rail Link EMDs in the West End Volume 2. A great release. The fantastic ending of the second half makes this a must see, for any Railfan who enjoys the picturesque side of Railroading.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

 

 

CSX 14 Selkirk (Albany), New York

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Producer: Green Frog

Timeframe: 1999- 2001

Locations: Hudson River, Selkirk area, Mohawk Valley, Palmer, Framingham

Length: 57 minutes

Source: Richard A. Kugel.

Albany- Capital District, is the central theme. The lines to Selkirk Yard, are the point in Volume 14. Three mainlines are chiefly visited. The River Line, Hudson Line and Boston Line. Selkirk Yard is shown, for a minute. A Selkirk branchline receives a long look.

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The pretty common, Green Frog DVD-R setup. A Chapter Search, sans a menu. No on-screen graphics, or location maps. Do not see access to the switchable narration, in the multi- set.vlcsnap-2019-10-29-10h55m00s980

Color balance is fine. Image quality, is not modern viewing standards. Slight grain overall, and watery at times. Watchable, on a hi-def 55′ screen, although soft. A horizontal distortion bar is constant, along the bottom of the screen. Another, vertical distortion along the left hand side.

Audio is rated as Dolby 5.5 surround. Sounds fine in stereo. Good narrative, by  Peter Youngblood. Enviornmental soundtrack. Levels are well balanced.

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Show tours the areas, in a geographic fashion. The obvious lines. A little uncertain on where certain scenes are, in relation to Albany. Really could have used some maps.  Where is the bridge?

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Train action abounds. Always, a Green Frog strong point. Bagoda, New Jersey is on the River Line. A Norfolk Southern unit is rare, since the changeover to CSX.

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Unexpected, are some Wisconsin Central SD45s. Seems, that CSX was leasing various locomotives. Burlington Northern, BNSF, and more appear.

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The River Line is located on the West bank of the Hudson River. These New Haven painted FL-9 units are a nice find, on a Metro North. This is at Manitou, NY.

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Amtrak, also runs trains, along the Hudson Line.

This is one of the scenes that highlight the vastness of this vicinity. Videography is well done. Solid camerawork.

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Fort Montgomery, New York.

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A somewhat abrupt, transition to Framingham, Massachusetts. This passenger station serves the Boston Line. MBTA locomotive with a rock screen, over the windshield.

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Palmer, Mass. is shown. Here, a Conrail diamond crossing, with New England Central. A well known spot for Railfans.

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A New England Central arrives at Palmer.

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A CSX lash-up at Selkirk Yard. Time spent, is about a minute, at this huge facility. Expected more, given that Selkirk, is listed in the show title. Not a deal breaker.

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West of Selkirk Yard. Several freights pass. Canadian Pacific is shown. Canadian National power, is also seen.

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Busy Selkirk trackage, has two trains, moving simultaneously.

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The mammoth Poughkeepsie Bridge in the background. A CSX steel move, roars past at Highland.

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Speaking of bridges. This ballast train passes through at Guilderland, NY. Believe he is mispronouncing it. I looked on an online map, this seemed to match.

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At Voorheesville. A BNSF run through unit.

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Back to New York. East of Amsterdam. The Mohawk River, is in front of this CSX train. Doesn’t this look like a model railroad scene?

vlcsnap-2019-10-29-11h23m18s811 Fullers, New York is on the Selkirk Branch.  A CSX line here now. Good trainwatching along this line.

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At another Guilderland spot. Conrail TV-LA, is on the left. This was their hottest train. Shortly before the CSX takeover.

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No caboose. Let’s end with the freight of the time. Yes, double stacks. Ugh! What can one do? The show must go on…

CSX 14 Albany (Selkirk). The Capital District and the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys. Also available on the: Trains Around New York and New Jersey – Collection set.

Green Frog has targeted coverage of the advertised areas. Would have expected more of Selkirk Yard. Could have used, less Framingham. Maps were really needed, to clarify some of the locations.

The main of the show is enjoyable. Wall to wall action! A good assortment, of trains and locations. The choice of filming in all four seasons, adds zest.

Rating: 4 Stars