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

 

 

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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

Today’s Chicago Railroads

TCR-DVD

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.

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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.

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

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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!

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As the sign says. To The Trains…

Alco C424 of Chicago Belt Railway.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Old, beater CNW geeps are seen here.

Grand Trunk , Chessie, IHB, Amtrak too.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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CR 5032 is next to get the wave at Brighton.

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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.

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

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Grand Trunk near Hayford Junction.

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

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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.

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Chicago Short Line is another rare find.

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

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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

The Pennsylvania Collection combo

PENNSY-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1850- 1960s

Locations: system

Length: 2 hours 9 minutes

Sources: Bill Warrick (The Standard Railroad…) The Pennsylvania RR (Collection)

These two shows were originally Interurban Press productions. Combined for a DVD release by Pentrex. This is on a single factory pressed disc.

This review will look at each program individually. A combined rating upon the conclusion.

A Chapter Menu with the two shows and previews. Sub divided into a detailed Chapter Menu per show.

The Standard Railroad of the World

Locations: Altoona Shops, Penn Station, Enola Yard, Bay Jct., Broad St. Station, Strasbourg RR,

Length: 59 minutes

The Company line states that a Bill Warrick spent years putting this show together. He covers; Steam, Diesel and Traction. Major locations of interest. A major snowstorm in 1958. Comprehensive coverage in under an hour.

Films are in mostly black and white. There is a large amount of color, as well.

Narrated and dubbed soundtrack with train audio. Matter of fact, classroom delivery. PBS style going back to 1830 historical.

vlcsnap-2019-03-31-11h27m37s186Lincoln’s funeral train. A still photographs. Warrick used multiple forms of media to do this show. 

vlcsnap-2019-03-31-11h30m23s063Horseshoe Curve is an obvious must have.

vlcsnap-2019-03-31-11h32m33s422Altoona shops constructed locomotives and tested them. They did much more.

The Johnstown flood is recounted.

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Penn station received a detailed visit.

vlcsnap-2019-03-31-11h37m14s683Long Island electric locomotive. A Pennsylvania owned subsidiary.

DT&I along with Henry Ford, are one of the interesting subjects discussed.

vlcsnap-2019-03-31-11h41m37s995Rockville Bridge. Looks fantastic in any era. 

Broad Street Station gets some attention.

Enola Yard is enormous. After viewing the Collection, certain sources will be obvious.

The Sandusky coal mining film. A silent reel with music, and old time words. Charming!

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Pennsylvania Marine operation at new York harbor.

Chicago Union Station is briefly visited.

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Notice the sidearms carried by the mail clerks.

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Steam classes are compared. K4.

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Mountain helpers.

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M1

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GG1 class are shown extensively.

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Electric trolley system was paralyzed in a 1958 snowstorm. This was in Washington DC.

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Not much in the way of a caboose to see. Here is one from a mini film.

The Pennsylvania Railroad Collection

Pennsylvania RR promotional films. They released their own programs. These often tooted how modern and safe the railroad was to travel or ship freight. All are black and white films.

Progress on the Rails.

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Railroad modernization is the 1st film. Demonstrates safety equipment. Automatic brake stop. There are more.

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Dragging equipment. Roadbed maintenance. Ballast cleaner train. Rail detector car.

Tunnel elimination. Rock cut at Stubenville, Ohio.

Ticket counter with new automation.

New locomotive  car and construction.

__________________________________

Wheels of Steel

GG1 show that is about 13 minutes long

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Hostler with maintenance in the morning.

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Track maintenance gangs and equipment.

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The train travels from Penn Station to Washington, DC. Cab Ride action.

______________________________________

Opening A New Frontier

This one is from 1955. Runs about 13 minutes.

This one begins in 1850. Stagecoach days. General Railroad background.

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Automobile and trucks. Roads are choked! Railroads can take trucks off the roads.

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Piggyback transport.  Truc Trains.

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A trailer move is followed from a Chicago origin. It gets a 2nd morning delivery in New York City. Pennsylvania Railroad piggyback service.

vlcsnap-2019-03-31-13h21m02s020This was early TOFC. A little different in execution. They demonstrate. Great little film for the time. Best of the lot.

_________________________________________

Clear Track Ahead!

1956 production.About 28 minutes.

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Again, goes back to a horse drawn wagon. How slow transport was to get someplace

This one plays like an early Lassie. A short drama at the start. No dog.

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Film is shaky. Expected better quality. This appears to have been used as the main film for others of this period.

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Transition to modern railroad innovations. Some scenes are recycled in another films. It does seem the complete version. The quality here is less. Enola Yard again.

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A T1 engine will pull a passenger train. You will ride this train. Jim is the friendly Engineer.

Segues into construction of locomotives and railroad cars. Altoona Shops again.

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Tower visits include fascinating Electrified Territory. Just a bit different for Electric.

___________________________________________

The Standard Railroad of the World.

A well thought out documentary. Delivered in a PBS style presentation. Many forms of multimedia are employed to present a historical show on Pennsylvania Railroad. The better of the two programs here.

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The Pennsylvania Railroad Collection

A compilation of vintage Pennsylvania films. These are better than average for the decade. Many others are overly dramatic and corny to watch now.

The major concern is the lower quality of the longest running main film. Clear Track Ahead! One would think that Pentrex would have sourced a nice copy. Bummer!

An interesting set overall. Good historical overview. A deduction, for the one shaky film inclusion. Dissappointing, for a high caliber Company, like Pentrex.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Covered Wagons of the Cascade

Covered-Wagons-of-the-Cascade--CWC-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1970s

Locations: Portland, Chicago, Washington state

Length: 48 minutes

Source: Nick Muff

Burlington Northern F units are the stars of the show. Washington state. Operating in the forests. Near the Canadian border. At the end of their heyday. In the 1970s.

The rest of this program fills out the agenda. Covered wagons vis-a-vis: E-units. Albeit a few Chicago blink and you will miss them! Also, a little bit at Portland station.

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Nice restoration of color 8mm film. The post production work makes a huge difference! No comparison to unrestored 8mm collections. Very good to near exellent view quality.

A chapter menu. Minimal effectiveness. Sort is for the 2 terminals and Washington.

Original audio recordings by the Cinematographer. These begin with a primitive cassette, player recorder. Many kids owned one back in the 1970s. Me too.

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You will immediately become aware of the  benefits for dubbing. The early tracks are weak. Notice the narrator speaking right over those.

Fortunately, the soundtrack significantly improves. Yet, there are some instances where some alternative would have better.

vlcsnap-2019-03-10-10h19m20s620Portland in June 1971 had some interesting units. That BN F is in passenger, hockey stick paint!

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We move onward to the meat and potatoes. Washington state is where the early Electromotive units are operating. This will include some GP9 and brethern.

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The F7 units were often seen leading.

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Our Cameramen was probably a friendly guy. He received an invitation to ride. Checkout the local tavern!

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Pure F unit lash-ups can still be seen.

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As can a chicken wire F3B!

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Model Railroaders, will find a healthy supply of potential models and consist examples.

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Many freight cars are shown as the trains roll by. We are near the Canadian border. Hence, many CP Rail.

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Life’s not perfect. Stuck with a GP9 leading! If things only got this bad. Ha! Even this is a winner.

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Canadian Pacific is the local interchange partner. A trio of geeps. Check the old paint scheme, on the middle unit.

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One has to appreciate the caboose being included on each train. As it should be!

Anyone with an interest in vintage F7 units or Burlington Northern should enjoy this show. Professional production. A little weak on some of the audio, that keep it from a higher rating. No worries. Get it for the film.

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars