Classic Burlington Northern Volume 1


Producer: C Vision

Timeframe: 1970s- 80s

Locations: Wyoming, Montana, Chicago, Washington, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado.

Length: 97 minutes

Source: Fred Crissey

Fred Crissey certainly traveled with his 8mm movie camera! This first of 2 volumes from C Vision covers BN territory in 7 states.

This release is comparable to similar C Vision with Fred Crissey titles. A now familiar formula of: vintage films, narration and music.

This show has a detailed Chapter Menu. Choice of on/ off, for the music. No maps. On-screen location graphics.


Don Grant is the usual narrator. Confident and has a smooth delivery. A well written script rounds things out.

Audio levels are spot on. Don’s voice is above the music. The narrative is relaxed. Plenty of trainwatching, with no narration. While I normally prefer more narrative. Being in the middle of nowhere, it is fitting for those scenes! Kickback and enjoy the music.


Film quality is very good overall. Color balance is a strength. Sometimes, specks and such are noticeable. Still, a better experience, versus looking at VHS tapes!


Fred had a tendency to shoot the trains in context. Capturing the scenery, along with the moving train. Wyoming had unobstructed views for his preference. This particular program, is loaded with long shots. Recommend a large screen, for maximum enjoyment.


A different style, and highlight is late in the proceedings. A cab ride aboard an E9 unit from, Aurora  to Chicago Union Station yard.


All in all, the show chases assorted local freights. Trackside for passing mainline moves. Helpers on mountain grades.  Vintage freight cars. Packs a ton of action, in many locations.


The story begins at Cheyenne, Wyoming. Quickly, we are out in the middle of nowhere. Following a freight train across a somewhat desolate Wyoming landscape.


Worland Depot is civilization. Fred shot a few trains there.


Lovell had this station.


A pair of GP9 (more or less) are a welcome sight.


BN 5335 leads a Southern Pacific unit. The 5335 is a U30-C. This was a General Electric locomotive.


BN local number 185 gets chased, as it goes about it’s tasks until dark. An SD40-2 with an SD9 are the power. A good variety, of first and second generation power is in daily use.


Wind River Canyon is former Burlington Route trackage. Rivals the Rio Grande for scenery! Who knew? Nice inclusion.


Mullan Pass receives a thorough once over. Good to visit here in an earlier era. Before Montana Rail Link. Great segment!


Mid-train helpers with a mixed bag of locomotives. Sure, there are closer looks.


Tiger stripe GP50 units at Skykomish, Washington. A notable former Great Northern location.


The famous BN Racetrack is a 30 mile stretch from Aurora to downtown Chicago, Illinois. A triple track mainline. Well maintained and good for high speed running. Fred gets a prime setup in the Fireman’s seat on an E9! LaGrange Road.

Appears to have been filmed in the 1980s. Every station and point of interest is mentioned. Light traffic suggests an off peak hour.


A former Colorado and Southern line has Fred’s attention. He gives ..


chase to a freight- all the way to Texas!


These images are unique to this Cinematographers style. While the BN is not a hard to find railroad. Try and obtain: this timeframe, action, and far flung (mostly) locations.

Plus, the show is nicely assembled into a smooth program. It has a good rerun value.

Any Burlington Northern railfan or model railroader, should be highly satisfied.

Rating: 4 Stars


Into the ’90’s GT-2


Producer: Todd Miller

Timeframe: 1993- 94

Locations: Battle Creek to Port Huron

Length: 2 hours

Source: Todd Miller, Dale Devene, Paul Geiger

The official description is a stretch. I was deciding, between this and GT-1. Both at two hours. This GT-2, had a few things going in its favor. I chose this, based on the advertised inclusions.

Steam, 1980s footage and Battle Creek. Does it include those items? Barely!


You get several scenes of steam. A couple of scenes that is the 1980s. A few minutes total.


Major GT yard at Battle Creek. I expected this to be a show highlight. Wait for it… A single aerial flyover!

Not a good start. There is more. Getting ahead of the review.


The show is narrated by Todd Miller. He seemed to be self sufficient. His Videography is pretty good overall.

His post production work has good points. There are other areas needing help.


The good. Maps are included in the program. Timely referenced. On screen graphics, with locations and milepost.

Weak are the lighting. Some scenes need the brightness lowered. Early on, this is annoying on the 1994 video. It settles down. No Chapter Menu.

vlcsnap-2019-05-26-08h11m23s180Another area is the audio. Edit the volume on some of these crossing gate scenes. Fortunately, locations are included that are away from crossing gates.

Worst issue is the DVD transfer!

Ever wonder what it would be like to see your old worn out VHS tape on a DVD? Step right in.

Constant, roll and flutter is a distraction. A couple of sections, I thought the tape was being eaten! Only to remember, this is on a disc.

The former 2 tape set, is loaded with flaws. Wonder, why they could not have sourced a set of tapes in better condition?


Now, after all these issues. The actual show, is a decent visit to the Grand Trunk.

The beginning is at the throat of Battle Creek Yard. A train exiting the area. Program travels towards Canada.


Durand is one of two extended show highlights. This visit overstays a little bit.


A long lash-up at Durand.


A connecting line provides some relief. Central Michigan. The sound of these General Electric locomotives, is a sweet symphony!


Unexpected, is the amount of online grain elevators.


At Flint, the famous Grand Funk bridge.


Canadian Pacific rolls through the territory.


 Not mentioned in the narrative. Several Amtrak trains, are joint USA and Canadian. Hence, the Via locomotives and Amtrak coaches.

vlcsnap-2019-05-26-08h14m15s559Getting far north at Tappan. This freight has it’s destination at Burlington Northern’s Clyde Yard. BN also is seen earlier,with coal.


CSX appears with intersecting trackage and various moves. Again with their yard and action at Port Huron.


Port Huron contains another extended segment. A fascinating look at those: yard, ferry and tunnel operations!


This GP15 looks dwarfed by the auto racks. Too tall for the current tunnel. They need the river ferry. Three Railroads operate ferries here.


Focused discussion of yard operation. Details given a detailed look. Plenty of Canadian National movement here.

vlcsnap-2019-05-26-08h46m33s365Canadian National power muscles out of the tunnel beneath the Saint Clair River. Note the construction equipment, building the new tunnel.



The single GT caboose on a train. This from the 1980s freight, constituting one half of that feature.

Into the ’90’s GT-2.

The description fails to deliver on the advertised. A reasonable expectation would be more time on the items, I brought up.

The VHS transfer quality is a dog. Seems like, better tapes could have been applied.

I would have chosen Volume One. Had this been described more accurately.

It is still a good show overall. Lower rating for the sloppy source and transfer.

Rating: 3 Stars

Kansas City Rails


Producer: Pentrex

Location: Kansas City area

Timeframe: 1996- 97

Length: 1 hour 38 minutes

Visit the number two, American Railroad hub. See the hot spots. Pentrex was there, in 1996 to 1997. Besides the variety of locations, many railroads operate in this city.

Amtrak, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, CP Rail, Kansas City Southern, Gateway Western, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific. Older pre- merger paint schemes, as well. Soo Line in original paint, seen below.


No Chapter Menu. Too bad with the large assortment of locations.


Basic maps. They have a healthy supply of these.

Narration with be natural sound. Good, even level levels. A fine script. The show is well paced.

A jet snow blower is shown operating. Not here. Too much to see, to have everything.

Many shots are somewhat obscured, at the beginning of scenes. Tree branches are the culprit. Perhaps, the way it is around Kansas City. The views do clear up. A bit odd for a Pentrex film.


A BNSF on a Santa Fe crossing. Kansas City has a cornucopia of trackage and trains!

vlcsnap-2019-05-01-19h03m00s050Locomotives both old and new, will be found. Norfolk Southern 8854.


Speaking of old. Union Pacific E9 units return from a Super Bowl game.


Sticking with old for another frame. Model Railroaders can have a field day, with vintage structures.

vlcsnap-2019-05-01-19h16m20s240Chicago Northwestern 8686, leads a train on this stunning shot. Looks like a painting.

vlcsnap-2019-05-01-19h47m18s355Tough to choose a Kansas City Southern. These SD45T3 rebuilds are singular!

vlcsnap-2019-05-01-19h01m42s795Gateway Western with a transfer run.


Apparently, CP Rail had to go through some circuitous routing, to get around the city.

vlcsnap-2019-05-01-20h06m15s819Armourdale Yard. This vast facility was a Rock Island property.

vlcsnap-2019-05-01-18h54m53s049Although the lighting isn’t perfect. The trestle displays a part of the charm of KC. Those Southern Pacific locomotives must be testing the strength of the steel.

vlcsnap-2019-05-01-19h22m20s850Burlington Northern original Cascade Green paint. This is still plentiful here.


Santa Fe, is also beaucoup in both schemes.

vlcsnap-2019-05-01-18h59m26s486Soo Line 6045 still wearing it’s factory paint. Leads a Canadian Pacific move.


This BNSF is going to Willow Springs, Illinois. Argentine Yard was a Santa Fe. It is featured and the largest in the area.


The caboose was off the mainline trains here. Not even seen on the locals. This Union Pacific Super Bowl Special. It is a worthy closer. Times do change…

This show provides comprehensive coverage, of Kansas City and vicinity. It extends outward, into some rural locations.

The plethora of: railroads, trains and locations, is nearly overwhelming. It will stand up to some repeat viewings.

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Colorado’s Colorful Joint Line


Producer: Bill Brown

Timeframe: 1986- 1988

Locations: Denver, Littleton, Palmer Lake

Length: One Hour

Source: Dave Gross, Bill Brown

The Joint Line is 118 miles, shared by three Railroads in Colorado. Burlington Northern, Santa Fe and Rio Grande in pre-merger days of the late 1980’s.


Rege Cordic is an excellent narrator. He performs on other WB Video shows. A relaxed style, that allows trains to be heard.


This one has listed: broadcast video, live sound and color. The original VHS release was dated as 1989. This DVD has Highball Productions as current.


WB and/ or whoever took over this program. They have not added any Chapter Menus to this DVD. No maps within the show either. Seems to be a straight transfer.

vlcsnap-2019-04-22-17h30m06s931Picture is soft on a newer high definition screen. Do not expect current standards!


Oakway SD60 locomotives have caught the attention of Gross’ Camera early on. Alot of scenes of these with the leased units. Too many, for a well balanced presentation.


You will not see a Rio Grande road train on the mainline. Should be included.

vlcsnap-2019-04-22-16h58m01s897Pacing of coal train… Later, an LMX is paced.


BN SD40-2 helpers, shove hard. Decent shots for the time.

vlcsnap-2019-04-22-17h05m51s343Newer GE B39-8 LMX. This one leads a BN GP50.

vlcsnap-2019-04-22-17h09m48s997There are some featured, Kodachrome schemed SF units. Rege refers to them as, red and yellow SF units!


The Colorado Springs switcher is a lone GP30. A good assortment of Kodachromes.


This pair of GP30 diesels pull the very first Santa Fe Q Train. Like a dog with a bone, Q Train after Q Train…

vlcsnap-2019-04-22-17h25m06s147Santa Fe 3446 moves slowly at Palmer Lake.

A too long, look at DVLJ moves becomes tedious. There ARE other trains boys!


Palmer Lake is scenic. Still stuck on Santa Fe Q trains…

vlcsnap-2019-04-22-17h32m41s842Denver, finally! Three quarters through. BN action gives blessed relief!


BN 5562 is a General Electric C30-7.

The 20th Street area, is where the trains are concentrated.


DRGW light engine move at Denver.


They are scarce in this show. Elusive Rio Grande units!


This show falls short on the advertised. One would expect to see Rio Grande trains, operating on the Mainline. Denied. Pretty major fault, considering so much time was spent on Santa Fe Quality Train- DVLJ. Disproportionate.

That results in a lower overall score. Why spend all that time watching repetitive, Santa Fe piggybacks?

A bit much on the Oakway leased SD60 power, as well. Seen one, seen them all. Even back when they were brand new!

Missed opportunities. Overkill on others.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Today’s Chicago Railroads


Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1991

Locations: Many

Length: 2 hours

Do you like variety? Chicago provides the Motherlode! This guided tour, of Chicago and vicinity, will satisfy most any Railfan. Fallen flags, local lines and pre- merger roads. Many old Towers are shown.


Pentrex maximized their time in the field. Concentrating on classic hotspots. Crossings, Yards, Towers are generally, multi- Railroad locations. Busy mainlines, can provide ample supply. Frequent trains are practically a lock.

All the best of the Pentrex production team results in a smooth and well paced program.

Familiar voice of David Drui performs the informative and balanced narrative.


There is a detailed, Chapter Menu. A master map, with nearly 2 dozen locations. Many close-up maps, as needed. Highly organized.


Pentrex states that they only have room to hit the highlights of what they have. Likewise with my review. There is so much more to see!


As the sign says. To The Trains…

Alco C424 of Chicago Belt Railway.


Best place to begin the tour. Is the center of the city. That is Union Station. Full visit. visit. Amtrak’s yard is plentiful. Burlington Northern commuters run behind the E9 locomotives, as well.


State Line Tower is far south. Norfolk Southern and CSX. Illinois – Indiana line.


Speaking of towers. Van Loon Tower, is located in Indiana. Elgin, Joliet & Eastern with an SD40, in fresh paint. Norfolk Southern intersects here. I-80 is above.


Blue Island has always been one of the best hotspots. Many roads move through here.


Chessie System, now CSX, with a long lash-up of light locomotives. Barr Yard is nearby, not visited. Blue Island action.


Dolton Jct. is very popular now. Easy to access, for railfans. CSX, Conrail and more.


More.. A grimy Missouri Pacific pair, trundle through Dolton.


McCook Crossing, features the busy Santa Fe Mainline. Multiple ATSF, trains passby. Willow Springs is next. Pre UPS days there.


The details of the trackage at McCook. Everyone seemed to exercise trackage rights, on the Indiana Harbor Belt!


Old, beater CNW geeps are seen here.

Grand Trunk , Chessie, IHB, Amtrak too.


WICT F units at Edgewood are a rare sight! Wisconsin and Calumet. Later, became part of Wisconsin and Southern. The road was called Wicket, for short.


A Soo Line switch job receives a detailed chase. A low speed one. Street running at Goose Island. A truncated version is on Street Running by Pentrex.


The Burlington Northern Racetrack is a must see on any Chicago visit.


BN executive F units appear at Clyde yard in Cicero. You never know what shows up!


Hawthorne yard, has Belt Tower . This is visited inside. A former Illinois Central structure. Chicago Central was here. This structure, is gone now.


Brighton Park has a full – on stop. Rare, a Switchtender with a shanty. A GT transfer caboose, hits the diamonds.


Illinois Central SW14s on their ex: GM&O trackage. Note the unusual, hip cab roofs.


CR 5032 is next to get the wave at Brighton.


Bensenville is now a Soo Line stronghold. The former Milwaukee Road facilities are huge. A freshly painted SD40 powers a hot Soo Sprint train past B-17 tower.


The engine house and Bensenville yard run right along a public road.


Grand Trunk near Hayford Junction.


Hegewisch still has electric interurban service. Chicago South Shore Line.


Chicago and Northwestern, has a major line in a Westerly direction, from Proviso Yard. Union Pacific run through units are common. Metra is the local commuter service. Proviso Yard, is not seen in this show.


Chicago Short Line is another rare find.


Many of the trains, still employ a caboose. The Indiana Harbor Belt used these home built transfer ones for many years.


Pentrex has knocked it out of the park. A home run! An instant classic. This show will give viewers a high rerun value. There is simply, an astounding amount of various, and interesting trains. Outstanding videography, that hits the mark!

Rating: 5 Stars