Michigan and Ohio Railroads in the late 1970’s


Producer: C Vision

Timeframe: late 1970s

Locations: MI +OH

Length: 1 hour 20 minutes

Source: Fred Crissey

Take a whirlwind tour back into the late 1970s. A cornucopia of locations. Multiple railroads. Some rarities that are worth the price of admission!

Fred Crissey was a busy Cinematographer. He was traveling in Michigan and Ohio here. Using an 8mm movie camera. All color film.


A detailed Chapter Menu. On screen location graphics.


Plenty of handy little maps.Switchable On/Off music. There are no train sounds.


Full narration. A good script. Provides details on used locomotives. Certain train movements. Many of the lines. Probably, as complete as Fred’s notes.

Don Grant performs a smooth narrative.

Films are very clean overall. Color balance is very good. Well preserved.


The show begins with a long Detroit, Toledo and Ironton segment. A show within the show.


A scene of Street running in Ironton.


Fred also shows trains, in context.


He could do the mood shots too!


The early Conrail material is the bomb! Much better than some of the competition. The paint still appears new on several ‘cockroach’ repaints.


Former Penn Central F7A #1707 hits the diamonds. Renumbered in April, 1976.

vlcsnap-2019-05-26-14h56m20s749 Two Alco RS3 locomotives ,and a Baldwin. These on Michigan Northern. Rare film. This train is chased from Cadillac, Michigan. Former, Chicago and Northwestern 1617. The 2036 is an ex: Southern. 


Alexis Tower is a definite highlight! A ton of action.


Conrail paint is beginning to be seen.


Chessie System in the 1970s was fantastic! Unmolested blue units could be seen from both; B&O plus C&O. Fred found both leading near Detroit.


Try and find a C&O 5911 leading. A rare shot on 8mm film. Good supply of C&O.


Chessie System steam suddenly appears!


There is not much regular Chesapeake and Ohio out there. Let’s see some more. The 3575 is a GP35, in factory EMD paint.


Ann Arbor is visited.


You are asking. What about Grand Trunk? Only this one. Canadian National is present, as well.

Remember , the rarities in this show.


A plethora of rolling stock is included, as this Burlington Route box car. He sometimes shows the entire train. Albeit, the shorter ones. Model Railroader alert!

vlcsnap-2019-05-26-15h16m19s337In fact, he did it here. Check the C&O caboose. Enjoy all of the hard to find C&O!



A fun trip back to a favorite time of mine. The variety really gets rolling, and you never know what’s next. Much like the old days!

A solid show. Must see for 70’s railfans.

Rating: 4 Stars



Into the Allegheny Range Volume 2


Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1991- 93

Locations: Cumberland area

Length: 80 minutes

Source: Iron Horse America

Cumberland Terminal and Vicinity. Iron Horse continues, with the second of four volumes. CSX now owns the former B&O facility. A wide variety of power and paint, on tap!

Complete maintenance of locomotives and freight cars. A hump yard. Storage yard. Crew accommodations. These are some of the features of the sprawling Cumberland Terminal.

A detailed Chapter Menu is provided. Custom maps are frequently referenced.


Videography is first rate. Audio is professional level. Post production is on a high level. Except the last Chapter.


Bob Taylor with a balanced narrative. Allows trains to be heard.

CSX is attractive to Railfans, with many old paint schemes. Check the GP30, in dual B&O paint. Model Railroaders can have a blast, with the Sunburst remants, underneath the faded Capitol dome, logos and lettering!


This volume is different, with contrasting interjection of some vintage film. Illustrates certain discussions. Nice!



M Tower is the beginning.


Trains are identified with on-screen graphics.


Evitt’s Creek Yard is next. CSX crane set.


Two SD40 are notable. One in Chessie. The other is the last one in original C&O paint.

CSXT Car Maintenance Facility receives a look.


R344 with a B& O GP 40


Locomotive Shops have an extended visit.


Roundhouse from 1916 still has several stalls, although modified. A rare, Family Lines GP16 enters said roundhouse.


Turntable area offers additional photo ops. Seaboard System is another sought after paint scheme.


Safety Stop at crew change point.


Yard switcher is dated as 10/92.


City of Cumberland.. Baltimore Street


Amtrak’s Capitol Limited stopped at the Station.


Viaduct Junction.


ND Tower. James Hotchkiss controls Viaduct Junction. Note those Armstrong levers!


The remainder gets off topic. It feels like filler. The further it rolls, the more it feels stretched. Do viewers really need to see inside a food tent?

Western Maryland Scenic RR gets a brief visit. An unnarrated collage of the best images. Turns into an advertisement for the Pentrex video. A straight commercial.

Railfest with B&O  Museum equipment. Plays like a collection of high quality home videos. Could not believe the inclusion of a food tent! Amatuer vibe now…


Lafayette is good material. Spare me the modern, black and white film.

Waiting for some excursions. Buried!

Troublesome engines and long segments of switching the locomotives around. Yawns…


After watching this boring segment. The train finally pulls out out of town…


This volume cruises along fine, and loses steam towards the end. The Railfest section is slow and clumsy, in comparison to the main feature. Drags down this otherwise excellent program.

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

Into the Allegheny Range Volume 1

Allegheny 1 Cover.indd

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1992-93

Locations: Magnolia Cut-Off, more..

Length: 3 hours

Source: Iron Horse America

A comprehensive tour of the highly scenic 55 miles, from Hancock, West Virginia to Cumberland, Maryland. Spectacular, Magnolia Cutoff is the centerpiece. A longtime railfan favorite!

Iron Horse America, in co-operation with the CSX Railroad. They spent 4 years filming what has become, an extensive 4 volume series on DVD. All the seasons. Any weather conditions.

A Pentrex release. Quality is expected to be of a high standard. The only issue, is a menu that doesn’t illuminate the check boxes properly. Fine otherwise.


What we have here…

Into the Allegheny Range Volume 1 Hancock, West Virginia. to Cumberland, Maryland.

Former, Baltimore and Ohio trackage. This route follows the Potomac River in a Westerly direction. This line will eventually reach the world famous Sand Patch Grade, in a later volume.


There is plenty to see in this first release. All seasons. Any weather conditions. A cornucopia of views!

Loaded with all the trimmings! Just the way it should be. We deserve the full treatment.


Don’t forget some fine maps. Iron Horse provides a large supply. Frequently referenced. Nicely done.

Good narration. A well rounded but not overblown script. Sits in the pocket. Viewers get to listen to the trains.


On screen graphics with: location, train designation, month and year. Directional, mile marker and more. Is that info for you people? Plenty for me.


Videography is professional level. Everything is clean. Great composition. An eye for the artistic. Yet not overindulgent. Scenic awareness.


Audio is equally at a high standard. Levels are balanced. Environments reflected in the ambient sounds. Play this show through a sound bar for maximum enjoyment!

This is a first class presentation. A thinking man’s show. Also, a Railfans treasure.


Hancock Yard is a humble beginning. Compared to the tour that is ahead. Check the former Seaboard Coast Line GP40.


Several run throughs, add to the endless parade. Conrail is the most frequently seen.


The 1992 era trains have plenty of pre-merger paint in their lash-ups. B&O, L&N, Seaboard Coast Line and Chessie, are a few. Above is a Seaboard System, for another.


Magnolia Cutoff is a large area. Mountain region with four tunnels. Iron Horse covers this extremely well.


Randolph Tunnel is a super trainwatching location. East and West portals. As are all of the tunnels filmed.


A MARC F rebuild. Leads a Baltimore Orioles Special, at Randolph Tunnel.


Stuart Tunnel is a remote one. It has even more high paced action. With 50 mph speeds and a deep rock cut. Even makes a fine Amtrak Capital Limited image. Model Railroaders would love this scene on their pike!


Stuart Tunnel in a closer view.


Cross a river. Over a long bridge. Enter Maryland…


Kessler bridge. Graham Tunnel.


The Concrete Wall is better than it sounds. Natural lighting varies.


South Branch Valley Railroad. A Shortline. A Tourist Line. Quick visit.


Carothers Tunnel. An extra long lash-up. The small town of Paw Paw is nearby. Yes, the town gets a quick visit. No extra fare!


A show providing plenty of movement. Local historical items are included, as well. The original C&O canal for one.


Conclusion at Cumberland. Narrator leads into offerings on upcoming releases. The credits mention the use of improved video equipment in the later volumes.

Into The Allegheny Range, Volume 1


This program is a winner! Excellent all the way around. An action oriented show that will satisfy railfans, model railroaders and most of the family. Something for everyone.

Rating: 5 Stars

Pittsburgh Mainlines


Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1999

Locations: Pittsburgh area

Length: 2 hours 16 minutes

Tour the Steel City with: Conrail, CSX, Union Railroad and Amtrak. This is prior to Norfolk Southern. There is a surprising amount of rail action, in Pittsburgh. Memorable settings for the trains, as well.


A detailed Chapter Menu displays many locations. Conway Yard, Rochester, P&LE Main and Turtle Creek Valley being several.


Comprehensive coverage of the Pittsburgh metro area. Historical aspects pay tribute to the rich industrial foundation of this city.

Dave Drui with his smooth, pro narration. Balanced, ambient audio soundtrack.


Conrail does run a herd of trains through this fascinating trackage.


CSX is on former B&O lines. Plenty of CSX with road and local moves. Bonus, the locals still require a caboose!


Union Railroad may be unfamiliar. It is the business. Coke, and steel related plant trains are abundant within it’s domain.


Some complicated trackage is explained with many Pentrex custom maps. Frequently referenced and needed by viewers.


Scenic vistas abound, as Pennsylvania landscapes are always nearby.


Port Perry is a stunning location!


There are still some operational Steel plants. Pentrex visits.


On-screen graphics with additional information.


A Model Railroaders paradise, as well. Some scenes ; have more tracks and trains, than a Christmas Lionel dream layout!


Amtrak has several trains.


Impressive bridges are a Cornerstone. All of those rivers and valleys must be crossed.


Tunnels are plentiful. All, a little different.


Here, coal hoppers are spotted with a tiny switcher. An unusual operation. Singular!


Here is a glimpse of vintage film. Pentrex certainly sent the extra mile. On more than one occasion, showing historical footage.


Comparison to the current Pittsburgh.


CSX- Allegheny Crossing is impessive. Just when you think the old Pennsylvania Railroad bridges rule. Along comes a: B&O or Pittsburgh & Lake Erie construction.


OK. Who wanted Bessemer & Lake Erie?… Me too! A couple of SD7 engines. Nice pair.


A former, Chessie System locomotive pokes it’s face out of a tunnel. Even more, than can be reasonably included within the scope of this review. There is plenty to be relished. A packed program.


One of the last operating Interlocking Towers gets a visit. See the inside…


Union Railroad has a caboose on every train. Good coverage on this road.

Pittsburgh Mainlines.

One of the top Pentrex shows, with late 1990s railroads. Different mixture of trains, in a variety of settings. Expert videography and production. Historical aspects that are, woven into the program. A great choice for anyone with an interest in trains!

Rating: 5 Stars