The Illinois Central:1990-1991

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Producer: Mary R. McPherson

Timeframe: 1990-1991

Locations: Centralia, DuQuoin, Rust Jct., Carbondale, more

Length: 1 hour 55 minutes

Sources: George Redmond and Kurt I. Jensen

The Heritage Series. Illinois Central:1990-1991. End of the Paducah Geep Era.

Last of 4 volumes about the Illinois Central, in the Heritage Series. This by Diverging Clear Productions. Mary McPherson is the Producer. Long program. Highlights only.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h15m45s008Obviously, the last stand for those old warhorse GP9 rebuilds, of various incarnations. From Orange and White Illinois Central,  later Illinois Central Gulf. The final survivors,  were mostly black repaints.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-20h12m51s263A single DVD-R, in a Slimline case. No Chapter Menu. No maps. Plenty of on-screen graphics. Full narration by Mary McPherson. Very informative. Train symbols, locations and railroad history/ operations. 

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The Heritage Series. These are niche videos. Mainly filmed by George Redmond. Good with his camera. Age isn’t favorable to vintage videotapes. The subject matter is what makes these desirable.

Amateur shot videos. Produced and released by this Independent label. Mary has come a long way on this release. Restoration work. It looks better. Sharp editing, plays smoother. Balanced audio. Improvements in all areas!

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-16h28m48s781Some rare territory is included in this show. The Bluford division, aka the Edgewood Cut-Off. Oddly enough, this is not where those old geeps are to be found.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h04m37s442This show is dominated by second generation power. GP38 and GP40 engines. SD40 units. Also, those odd SD20 locomotives. 

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h23m33s443Of course there are: GP8, GP10 and GP11 units. Although, not in quantity, until later. So be patient. A rare GP35 in black, that was a Gulf, Mobile & Ohio unit appears.

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The first half is in the Bluford division. Shot in 1990. Plenty of inclement, wintery weather. The bridge viewpoint, is overused for too many head-on views of oncoming trains. Perhaps, a little editing could have been useful here.

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Color balance is very good overall. Nothing weird. Brightness issues, in the first half. Videography is very good. Historical value, not modern viewing standards.

Trains look good on a large, HDTV. Backgrounds can look artificial, occasionally. Nothing to worry about. No deal breakers. A clean train picture, seems have been the goal.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-16h28m30s240Illinois Central was always known for hauling coal. Still, a main commodity.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h12m08s651The second half moves the show to: Centralia, Carbondale and DuQuion. Additional Southern Illinois towns. Better weather conditions. Much improved picture. Superior composition. Shot in 1991. Almost like watching two different shows. Grain train shown above. The other huge commodity on Illinois Central.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-16h38m58s102The entire program is well paced. It moves along quickly. Smooth edits. Audio is natural sound. Good balance of levels.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h24m30s709There are multiple pacing sequences. Different locomotives are featured. All are good.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-20h16m26s595Not a bunch of offline power. Norfolk Southern has it’s normal traffic, via Centralia.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-19h32m42s079There are quite a few Amtrak trains. Mary is an expert on Amtrak. She is an Amtrak Conductor! Has worked The City of New Orleans for years. I bet a trip on her train is major fun! Great sense of humor!!

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h07m28s169Those old geeps are already getting scarce! Hard to find in the lead, on long lash-ups.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h21m34s916Easier to find, on switching, or small local trains.


vlcsnap-2019-11-14-19h45m17s964Black paint on newly acquired, ex: Burlington Northern SD-40-2 engines. This was the end, for the venerable Paducah Geep rebuilds.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-19h29m46s282Still see some cabooses in service. Orange was always my favorite. That light gray looked like, no one could agree on a really good color. Like beige carpet.


vlcsnap-2019-11-14-16h29m11s200Heritage Series. Illinois Central:1990-1991. End of the Paducah Geep Era. A good collection of what is now, historical video. Probably, could have gotten the same thrill, in an edit. It does get somewhat repetitive. Still, a must have for Illinois Central fans. Overall, a well done volume in the series.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

 

Alcos, Iron Ore and More!

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Producer: Marc S. Balkin

Timeframe: 1985

Locations: Escanaba, Green Bay, Marquette, more…

Length: 1 hour

Source: Marc Balkin

Join Jim Boyd on a three day tour. Editor of Railfan & Railroad Magazine. He travels with Marc Balkin of Mark 1 Video.  They videotape this show in July, 1985.

They set out to record the still operating Chicago and North Western Alco Century 628 locomotives. Lake Superior and Escanaba, Baldwin in Great Northern colors. Lake Superior and Ishpeming operations. A bit more.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h10m43s348Jim Boyd is an enthusiastic narrator! The script is a little on the sparse side. Time left to hear the locomotives operate. Enough information is provided. 6702 gets a great pacing sequence!

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h58m25s666Chicago and North Western. Lake Superior and Ishpeming, are the main railroads featured. Along with Escanaba and Lake Superior. No Chapter Menu. A single DVD-R. Sturdy hardshell plastic case.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h13m06s175Escanaba Yard, has CNW C628, in old and new paint schemes.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h15m32s829The Century engines are nearly worth the price of admission. But wait, there’s more…

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h33m23s598Image quality is an obvious video source. Minor tape flaws appear all during the show. It is like watching an old video. Has a constant horizontal  distortion bar along bottom of the screen. Color balance is fine. Sound levels are good. Narrative and live sound. Assorted maps. On-screen graphics with additional information.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h26m30s618On Escanaba & Lake Superior. A clean Baldwin RS12, in Great Northern colors! All the rage it was in 1985. It is great to hear the odd sounding Baldwin operate, as paced.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h20m44s844The pacing sequences are all shot smoothly. This Baldwin pulls a short cut. There are steady pacing shots throughout the show.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h37m01s278A trio of red LS&I units. Included their only running General Electric U25C.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h54m14s622Lake, Superior & Ishpeming. The various jobs are described concisely. Yet, detailed enough for viewers. Dock Job shown here.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h33m39s745Good views of the loading of an ore boat. Camera work is rock solid.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h42m27s842C&NW trains are interjected, from time to time.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h44m28s838Excellent details on heritage of the various LS&I units shown. RSD12s from C&O, for example.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h45m14s710Former Santa Fe ‘Alligator’ Alco RSD15, wait for a crew. Eagle Mills Yard.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-16h01m26s503Appleton Yard,  former New York Central, Alco RS32 locomotives. Now working for Chicago and North Western.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-16h13m49s650The Green Bay and Western gets a single train. Street chase at Green Bay, Wisconsin. Yes, this Engineer hollers at  careless driver! No, you can’t hear him. 

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-16h00m06s201Not a caboose to be found in this show. Let’s begin to  close, with this shot of our lively host. Nice work, Jim and Marc!

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Alcos, Iron Ore and More! The Diesels of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Delivers on the promised locomotives. Good visual and audio presentation. Video flaws are too much for ignoring. Very good show, with the hard to find power in service, on the Upper Peninsula and Green Bay area.

Rating: 4 Stars

Classic Chicago and North Western Vol 2

CNW2

Producer: CVP

Timeframe: 1977- 88

Locations: Iowa, Minn., Wisc.,NE, Glen Ellyn, Escanaba…

Length: 98 minutes

Source: Fred Crissey

This middle Volume follows the CNW in the Midwest via Fred Crissey’s movie camera. Predominantly a rural show. Some lines have since been abandoned. A long Chapter of steamer 1385 from a 1986 outing is included. Also, the big Alco Century locomotives appear.

Typical of the other C Vision and Fred Crissey programs. All color 8mm film. Musical background soundtrack. Switchable on/ off at the menu.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-15h00m51s246A basic narrative. Generally, it offers locations. On-screen graphics denote similar information. Sometimes, a specific year is mentioned. A few line details.

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Films are original condition in appearance. Clean overall, with good color balance. Handheld camera. Steady for the most part.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h42m44s553Quite a bit of the first half is shot with some distance from the camera. The only real concern with most Fred Crissey film collections. Though, not a deal breaker by any means.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-15h03m15s594Several overview maps. Simple, but effective. Here, is a really handy one!

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-15h30m36s371He doesn’t train chase as extensively, as some other times. Save the 1385. This results in a better program.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h28m20s385Many trains are fronted by SD40 or even SD45 units. Those SD40s were ubiquitous, at the time. Lake Crystal, MN.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-15h18m44s765Union Pacific or Conrail trailing power are not uncommon. Run through units, as the Union Pacific pair. An occasional Milwaukee Road, as well.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h46m07s177Semaphore signal territories. Fred often has the trains, split the signal locations. Baldwin, Wisconsin. Keep a sharp eye out!

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h49m12s761CNW at Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h29m18s877Although harder to find. Other engine classes work the lines. Left in some extra graphics, for additional information.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h52m25s299Knapp Hill with a steep grade.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h34m31s116First gen EMD units at Pig’s Eye Yard, amoung the interesting equipment.

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GP50s lead a hot TOFC train. Near Glen Ellyn, Ill. at Deadman’s Curve.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h26m05s655Other railroads seen operating trains. Milwaukee Road and Burlington Northern.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h24m38s430Observe this hard to find, EMD cow and calf set!

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h29m49s620Back on the main. A GP30 lash-up with a set out car of fertilizer.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-15h26m34s379At the Kate Shelly bridge. A CNW locomotive, leads Amtrak’s California Zephyr, which was detoured.

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CNW 808 leads a GP30 pair on a ballast train in Iowa. I believe the heavy green stripe painted, were ex: Chicago Great Western units.

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Major bridges throughout the program. Blair, Nebraska shown here.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h20m11s351Escanaba, Michigan to Green Bay,Wisconsin.  The Alco C628 locomotives in ore car service. Former Norfolk and Western power here. Behemoth diesels that are seen in multiple unit lash-ups.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-15h14m46s542A Century pair on a general freight gets chased to Green Bay. The 6709 leads.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h29m57s093Volume 2. A rural looking CNW. A wide ranging show. It gives an interesting look at branch, and mainline action.

Wide variety of freight trains. The 1385 is alright. The big Centuries are a quick bonus. A strong entry in this three volume series.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

 

The Best of Soo Volume 2

Best-of-SOO-Volume-2-After-the

Producer: CVP

Timeframe: 1986- 89

Locations: Minneapolis

Length:100 minutes

Source: Bob Rivard

This Second volume continues with the Milwaukee Road merger. Raises the interest level, with a greater assortment  of equipment. Videography has also improved over the course of time.

Visual quality is markedly improved versus volume one. Picture is in the very good range,overall. A good transfer to the DVD format.

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Audio is enviornmental, plus radio chatter. The scanner traffic explains several situations!

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On-screen graphics denote: dates, locations and pertinent information. Everything ties together.

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There is a pic only Chapter Menu. No maps. I would have preferred some maps. Not knowing; Shoreham Hill from Humboldt Yard etc…

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The Milwaukee Road power is still merger fresh at the beginning. Factory paint in the lash-ups. Later, the bandit paint begins to appear.

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Chicago and Northwestern locomotives make a few appearances. As does, Burlington Northern.

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Clean GP30 units are easy to find at first.

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Surprisingly, some GP7/9 units are still in service. Although, zero F units are seen.

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Much of this show was shot in winter.

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The pairing of the merger roads becomes more frequent, as the years pass. Milwaukee bandits replace the factory paint.

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Pushers are commonplace on Shoreham Hill. Soo Line 2126 received an emergency radio call. To hustle over, and shove on a stalled freight. A boxcar in tow, the 2126 renders assistance.

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See a grounded Soo caboose #85  get rerailed.

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At first glance, this appears to be a solid Milwaukee Road lash-ups. Check the middle unit..

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Humboldt Yard.

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This program is wall to wall action! Many freight cars are viewed, as the trains roll past the camera.

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Electromotive GP30 had a distinctive cab and roofline. It was all about muscle in the 1960s. The designers at EMD sure gave it the look!

vlcsnap-2019-07-09-13h38m15s868Milwaukee Road gives plenty of variety.

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A Bandit shot for comparison.

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Both Railroads supply their cabooses. Milwaukee Road with their Bay window models.

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Hey! It’s still a Soo Line show.

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Soo Line wide vision style.

The Best of Soo Vol. 2

A diverse locomotive fleet is the key to an enhanced Soo Line volume. Volume 2 is improved in every area. It is a fast moving show. The lack of a formal narrative, keeps it in the realm of Railfans, and Model Railroaders.

Quite an enjoyable look, at vintage Soo/ Milwaukee trains around Minneapolis. Hands down, the best of the two volumes!

Rating: 4 Stars

 

 

Kansas City Rails

KCRAILS-DVD

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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