Michigan and Ohio Railroads in the late 1970’s

MORDVD

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.

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A detailed Chapter Menu. On screen location graphics.

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

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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.

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

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A scene of Street running in Ironton.

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Fred also shows trains, in context.

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He could do the mood shots too!

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

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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. 

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

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Conrail paint is beginning to be seen.

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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.

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

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Chessie System steam suddenly appears!

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

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Ann Arbor is visited.

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

Remember , the rarities in this show.

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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!

 

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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

 

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Great American Circus and Show Trains

CIRCUS-DVD.jpg

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1999

Locations: many

Length: 1 hour 20 minutes

The Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus moves by rail, via two trains. An antique Circus World Museum is hauled on a train to Milwaukee, WI.

James E. Strates transports a huge Carnival on the railroad. America’s last one to this. Operating along the Eastern Seaboard. I had never heard of Strates.

Each train has a unique history. In fact, Circus history is as fascinating as Railroad. They run parallel, when they had common goals. Moving the shows.

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A detailed Chapter Menu is provided. Very handy to navigate through the material.

Full narration by David Drui. Well scripted. Fine soundtrack. Enviornmental audio with all the sounds needed for a great show.

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Circus World Museum. Located in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Has it’s own fine historical base. A premier collection of antique circus wagons. Fred Dahlinger Jr. gives the history.

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The wagons are loaded in the traditional, Circus Style. Using horse teams and vintage D2 Caterpillars. One at a time.

Older fans will know, this was formerly moved by Chicago and Northwestern.

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Wisconsin and Southern E9 units pull the super colorful train to Milwaukee.

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A train chase, is a one of a kind.

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The full on parade features live animals in the wagons.

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America, is a steam powered Calliope. Rare musical sounds, to pair with this rare wagon.

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Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey. Blue train. One of the two, Ringling touring units.

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Over 300 people live on the Circus train.

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Elephants are featured. 

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Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey. Red train. This one is shown in greater detail. As far as the on/ off process.

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Modern equipment. Same process.

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James E. Strates Shows. Orlando FL.

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Perhaps, anti-climatic following the Greatest Show on Earth. Strates has a worthwhile story. Began as a wrestling show, by a group of Greeks. Leave the remainder of this intriguing tale for the show.

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The large Carnival has some huge equipment to transport. Rail provides the best solution. Jimmy Strates has excellent personal experience and details.

 

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 Lengthy train moves the goods from site to site. Although his employees room on the train. They differ from the Circus trains. His employees travel via the highways.

vlcsnap-2019-05-18-15h22m18s632Pentrex has a short musical video short. Showcases the James Strates show. Seen at the end of this show. Anderson, SC.

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Great American Circus and Show Trains

Here is an outstanding program of Circus and a Carnival trains. The progression from early history to current usage, leads any viewer to be able to understand the transportation aspect of moving the show.

The old techniques, as demonstrated by Circus World are time proven. Similarities to modern loading are readily apparent.

The inclusion of, actual events add much interest to any viewer. Vintage museum loading with horse teams. The Milwaukee parade. Animals with Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Brothers Circus. James E. Strates Carnival video. Excellent!

Perfect show for family viewing!

Rating: 5 Stars

Illinois Junctions

GSIJ_212x300

Producer: Greg Scholl

Timeframe: 2003

Locations: Watseka, Gilman, Tolono, Sidney, Tuscola

Length: 2 hours

Sources: Greg Scholl, Lee Jarrett

 

Five hot spots located in Central Illinois. Crossing trackage is the key. Maximum train action. Some names are familiar. Gilman, is a well known location, from Illinois Central days. Others, might be new.

Chapter Menu. Accessible via the five locations.

Narrated by Greg Higgensberger. Script is on the basic end. Lightly narrated. Favors train sounds. Enough detail to maintain interest and basic information.

Watseka

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Alco used as switcher.

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Canadian National travels through the town.

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CSX move with a former Conrail on the lead.

Gilman

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All locations include a map. Gilman.

vlcsnap-2019-05-05-08h13m56s225Known for Illinois Central. That paint can still be seen here!

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Canadian National has taken over.

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Rail America has interchange business.

Tolono

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Not much here. Except a bunch of trains! Norfolk Southern dominates.

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Union Pacific on the crossing.

Sidney. Singular, with this old Wabash bridge.

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A former Wabash line. Norfolk Southern runs many trains here.

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Several Union Pacific moves underneath.

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The second camera is minimal throughout. Only shows for the last train at Sidney. Breaks the monotony.

Tuscola

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Another busy place. CSX has a former B&O route.

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Amtrak has a crew change point.

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Union Pacific also appears on the other tracks.

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A busy show, at the featured hot spots. Smooth running production. Feels strange, with only Illinois Central as a traditional roadname, on these lines. Amtrak, as well.

That is indicative of changing times. Canadian National, Norfolk Southern and Rail America, a part of that changing face.

If you like this modern era. An enjoyable two hours at these locations.

Still, a good program for those who prefer the good old days. Enough variety and plenty of action.

Rating: 4 Stars

Chicagoland Tower Views

MOICTVD_209x300

Producer: Michael Pirelli

Timeframe: 1999- 2000

Locations: Southside + Indiana

Length: 63 minutes

Source: Machines of Iron

Take a tour of 13 Chicago area Railroad towers. These are mainly inside visits. Southside area. All the way down to Hammond, IN.  These old towers, amoung the last ones operating.

Each tower has a map with trackage. An exterior view of the structure. Shots of the boards and levers.

Brighton Park shows all, except a train.

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A Chapter Menu is provided. A choice of on/ off narration. Smooth edits. Well paced.

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Too much to cover. Some highlights…

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Camerawork is steady. Some views are negatively affected by dirty windows. These units are going to Willow Springs.

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This local with ; Grand Trunk and Canadian National power. Rolls on former: Gulf, Mobile & Ohio trackage, to nearby Glenn Yard.

The narrative is limited. Rich Melvin does a fine job. Script is fine overall.

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State Line Tower, with some complicated trackage.

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Amtrak 305 to St Louis, at Corwith.

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Corwith Tower is an original Santa Fe. Serves BNSF here.

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Part of the board inside of Corwith.

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Blue Island Junction is an all time, classic hotspot. One of Chicago’s busiest!

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Wisconsin Central travels through Blue Island Junction.

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Blue Island. Iowa Interstate departs the old Rock Island, Burr Oak Yard. Vermont Street.

vlcsnap-2019-04-24-16h26m05s719State Line Tower has a long history. Once had over 200 levers! An original hotspot.

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A CSX locomotive leads through, Dolton. This location is action packed!!

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Indiana Harbor Belt had purchased some ex: Illinois Central Gulf SD20 rebuilds.

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Ash Street takes the cake, for a small tower. It is electrically operated. Chicago River is nearby.

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Conrail paint still appears, as at Calumet Tower. East Chicago. SD40-2 on a light move.

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This Norfolk Southern on a light engine move is at State Line Tower. On former N&W trackage.

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The video is shot well. Consider the premise. Tower views. Obstructed views. Not an easy task.

Metra locomotives sure are ugly! Gresham.

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Canadian Pacific with Soo Line, at Blue Island Crossing.

vlcsnap-2019-04-24-14h32m55s483Plenty of action at Hohman Tower.

vlcsnap-2019-04-24-14h30m19s794Hohman Avenue crosses into Hammond, Indiana. An Indiana Harbor Belt transfer run to and from Gibson Yard. Hohman Tower is now closed.

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A rare drawbridge operation is seen.

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Viewers get a chance to tour some of the last operating towers in the Chicagoland area. An interesting trip, which includes some locations that are uncommon.

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A worthy addition to any train video collection. Just a bit different!

Rating: 5 Stars

 

Pittsburgh Line Blues

PLCON-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1990s

Locations: Conway Yard, Conpit Jct, Altoona, Horseshoe Curve, Allegheny Tunnel…

Length: 90 minutes

A Farewell to Conrail. This subtitle describes a final tour of The Pittsburgh Line. Conway to Altoona. Late 1990’s. While still, under the Conrail flag.

David Drui with his usual pro class narrative. Pentrex high quality production.

A detailed Chapter Menu, will result in easy navigation.

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Conrail was in great shape here. Shiny paint. A solid, clean physical plant. No longer, the gritty struggling entity that occupied this same area, years ago.

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Although a highly scenic rail line. The Pentrex creative energy seemed lower. Yes, they get those hard to reach shots. No tower visits or that going the extra mile. No cab rides, for another example.

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Excellent work as far as, filming the trains.

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Reference maps are helpful. Everything is identified.

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Conway Yard is the beginning.

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Standardized traffic and a modern locomotive fleet. Conrail has become a successful railroad! At the same time, less variety and interest, trackside.

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Conpit Jct. has a striking background. Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian, is one of several Amtrak moves seen in this show.

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Conrail Business Train comes into view.

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An expected highlight. Horseshoe Curve, is disappointing. Overgrown foliage, masks the former panoramic views.

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Alto Tower has this unusual viewpoint by Pentrex. It is a light engine move.

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This Oak Island to Pittsburgh, freight interjects some run through power.

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Our narrator perks up! Almost a solid lash-up of GP38 engines, front and back. Hard times for the railfan…

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The videographers still come up with those difficult shots. This, a long telephoto.

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Allegheny Tunnel has been modernized.

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Updated power, that has the railroad looking forward to the future.

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A restored caboose above the Allegheny Tunnel, is the only one shown.

Pittsburgh Line Blues

Another well done Pentrex show. This one doesn’t scale the heights of their top releases. Part of it is, the less interesting time period. Part is the feel, of a paint by the numbers production.

Perhaps they were a little less enthusiastic by this time, as well. It is still a very good show. Not outstanding.

Rating: 4 Stars