Conrail Memories of Big Blue

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Producer: Mary McPherson

Timeframe: 1985 – 1991

Locations: Effingham, St. Elmo, Teutopolis, Mt. Vernon, Smithboro

Length: 1 hour 55 minutes

Source: George Redmond

Another Conrail entry in The Heritage Series. Running on former Pennsylvania and Missouri Pacific lines. Big blue was busy in Southern Illinois!

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h09m03s763George Redmond video. Shot beginning in 1985. The quality is a little rough early. It improves as the timeline progresses. Those are some color issues. Picture quality is very good, for video. Sound is live audio.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h41m47s451This A is a single DVD-R. Chapter Menu,No which is pictured and numbered. Zero maps. Plenty of on-screen, location graphics. Mary McPherson narrates in an as needed basis. Plenty of space to hear the trains operate.

Early action begins in Salem, 1985.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h05m07s975Effingham in 1986 & 1987. Much more from this location in this show, various years.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h40m45s092Teutopolis has high speed trains.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h27m53s081Mount Vernon, in 1988. Conrail 3374 is on the point. This on Union Pacific rails.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h35m06s032Mary is a unique Producer. She often has an element of humor or straight up fun. In this show, a collage of Conrail pacing sequences are a gas!

Shot around Teutopolis. The trains operate at road speeds. They are every bit as enjoyable to listen to, as to watch.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h36m04s500A GP30 2213 is in the middle, on this eastbound move.

A quick break. Return to additional pacing. A pair of SD 50.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h42m36s784A quad of GP15 are a rare catch on the main! Noisy bunch, that remind us of sets of vintage GP9s.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h53m50s739This action, is almost as much fun, as a Lionel train running around a Christmas tree!

In 1989 now. Pacing With a GP40 leading an SD50.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h12m13s674CR 6273 with a hot piggyback.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h35m36s510Train INNL. Indy to North Little Rock behind 3375. At Benton.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h07m20s684The latter half drags off and becomes repetitive. Solid blue lash-ups of trains at the same locations. Effingham again. Union Pacific interchange is shown for a moment.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h51m20s209The common intermodal traffic, is also unexciting.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h46m53s085St. Elmo is frequently shown.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-13h19m37s882Finally, a change. Smithboro, Illinois. Here is the Conrail St. Louis line, at the BN crossing.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h33m44s484Again, back to Effingham area.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h24m16s600Compared to the somewhat similar, Conrail St. Loo to Horseshoe. Recommend this one for the better title. No, just kidding! Recommend this one, for higher video quality. Plus, the pacing action. The Illinois sections, cover about the same territory.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-13h33m32s696This show delivers a big bellyful of Conrail. No doubt about it. Fans of the Big Blue will be satisfied, at the near 2 hour length. Little deviation from the home road. For the rest, it may run too long. No scenic highlights. Already mentioned, is the repetitive nature.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h02m37s563This is a good show. As is often the case with Diverging Clear. Less would be more, to my tastes. So, bump the rating up, if you like.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conrail St. Loo to Horseshoe

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Producer: Mary McPherson

Locations: Smithboro, St. Elmo, Effingham, Horseshoe Curve…

Timeframe: 1990-94

Length: 1 hour 57 minutes

Source: George Redmond

This Heritage Series features Conrail. The former Pennsylvania St. Louis line. Southern Illinois locations. Teleports over to more interesting Allegheny Mountains. Horseshoe Curve is the main feature, on the second half.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-12h46m03s801George Redmond had hundreds of hours of video footage. Good camera skills. A key source for specialized interests. If early to mid 1990s fits your bag. Even if you just like Horseshoe Curve, and who doesn’t? This is likely, worth a look.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h13m03s112A single DVD-R. Slimline case. Better than average, a highly detailed Chapter Menu. No maps, which are not needed. Plenty of on-screen graphics.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h56m20s252Natural, Enviornmental audio soundtrack. Good levels. Plenty of space, to hear the locomotives working. Mary McPherson performs the sparse narrative.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-12h28m20s871Smithboro, Il, is at a crossing, with the Burlington Northern in 1990.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-12h54m40s177St. Elmo, is a Conrail interchange point. Road traffic moves through, as well.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-12h40m19s281Symbol KVPI comes off the Union Pacific Rails. Going to Pittsburgh from Kingsville, Texas.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-12h57m20s067NYDAZ at St Elmo with 6727 over to Union Pacific. New York to Dallas.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h17m33s640Effingham is a traditional Illinois hotspot. Illinois Central and Pennsylvania original railroads.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h26m13s258Winter of 93 at Effingham. Station is at left.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-12h42m46s458A look at some boxcars. Going to St. Louis.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h34m06s478A C30-7 is paced East of Teutopolis.

 

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h36m19s951Altoona at Alto Tower is next! Year is 1994.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h40m10s882Arrival at Horseshoe Curve! High expectations, for this world famous location. A word of wisdom. To avoid disappointment in all things, keep expectations low.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h48m18s187There are a few issues, with this lengthy chapter. Murphy’s law seemed to be in effect. First, some issues could have been minimized, via editing. Simply, eliminating some of the problems. Amtrak Broadway Limited is seen. Also, a rare Roadrailer.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h48m54s842No one is God. Weather is sometimes not conducive to shooting outdoor video. If one chooses to record, the producer may edit. A little rain or fog is usually acceptable. People travel long and far. 

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h57m48s348 A viewer should not have to suffer eye strain for 15 or 20 minutes. Unreasonable! Put it in a bonus section, if one doesn’t have the strength to cut it out.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-14h35m00s097Another issue here is a super annoying workman. Now, he is merely doing his work. Unfortunately, it is in direct conflict, with enjoyable listening, at Horseshoe Curve. What is the offense? A loud weedwacker! Fairly close to the video camera. The microphone picks it up efficiently. Here, the producer could have deleted these audio sections, in favor of anything else.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-14h43m23s489So, the total is: foggy and rainy, or plenty of weedwacker noise. The Conrail trains are out in force. It could have been presented better. Hence, Amateur level reality.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h46m27s695The Illinois half of the show is consistent, with most of the George Redmond videos. It does have a better overall appearance. The Horseshoe Curve with it’s issues, are the decision maker for this release. Despite the technical issues, it is still has, solid Conrail action. If that floats your boat. You should be fairly satisfied.

Rating: 3 Stars

 

 

Kansas City Diesel Power Review

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Producer: Charles Smiley

Timeframe: 1996- 2000

Locations: KC, Olathe, Bonner Springs, Holliday, more

Length: 1 hour 52 minutes

Source: David Defendorf

Kansas City is second only to Chicago, for America’s railroad capital. A cornucopia of this era’s railroads pass through this area. This program focuses upon the diesel power. Viewers will not be put to sleep watching unit trains.

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A single silver, factory pressed DVD. These are manufactured at the same facilities, as used by some Hollywood companies. ChapterMenu is numbered. Plentiful, are the on-screen graphics.

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Custom made maps, a CSP standard. Details vary by requirements. Predecessor roads, locating junctions or suburbs. He makes  frequent use of various maps.

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Video quality is excellent. All of it has been digitally restored. The imagery is top shelf.

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Audio is very lively! These trains do sound off. Birds in fields are heard clearly. A few too many crossing bell scenes, but does move on.

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Charles does the narrative. He is much quieter, than usual. So, for those who feel that he talks too much. Here is your show!

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This almost 2 hour show extends beyond Kansas City limits. We visit hotspots and some rural looking places.

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The Bottoms is recognizable, as the old City section of KC. This scene and below, have details for Model Railroaders. Take note!

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Santa Fe Crossing is a classic location. Tower is visible in background. Modified GP7u locomotives, were still in daily service. Not bad, for Electromotive 1953 built diesels.

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Some additional hotspots, such as Olathe, Kansas. Very busy location.

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The Highline Bridge is unusual. An interesting place.

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Soo Line reached Kansas City, as well.

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The setup at Bonner Springs, yields a bunch of close-up trains. Apparently, a Dash 8 is loading too much fuel.

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A Chicago and North Western pair, passes by the camera.

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Kansas City Southern is a railroad that was based here for decades.

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Gateway Western is a relative newcomer.

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Even more action, with Conrail power.

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Norfolk Southern appears, with various trains.

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BNSF brings up different possibilities.

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It is mainly a Western Railroad show. Which brings up the question. What is the railroad that you think of, when Kansas City is mentioned?

vlcsnap-2019-11-29-17h38m07s252Rare find, is this Department of Defense caboose.

Kansas City Diesel Power Review.

Charles certainly delivers on the advertised. A trainload of diesel power! The large assortment of: locomotives, locations and railroads, keep it interesting. Definitive overview of the Kansas City area.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

CSX 6 Pittsburgh to Willard

CSX6_dvd

Producer: Green Frog

Timeframe: 1990s

Locations: Pittsburgh, Akron, Willard

Length: 58 minutes

Source: Rob McCormack

CSX 6 leaps over to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The riverfronts and cityscape, are the setting for the initial round of trains. Pretty fall colors and wet weather will follow us Eastbound. The destination being the traditional hotspot of Willard, Ohio. A key facility dating back to B&O days. About 200 miles.

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This sixth volume in the comprehensive CSX series by Green Frog. Consistent production as the previous installments. Highly competent, Rob McCormack is the Videographer. Bob Carrera performs the professional narrative. A decent script.

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Seems to be a mid-1990s era. Plentiful, General Electric 3rd generation locomotives.

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Pittsburgh scenes are mostly panoramic. Visit is brief.

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At Rochester, a former P&LE bridge crosses the Ohio River.

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CSX 9000 rounds a tight curve at Cuyahoga Falls.

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BPZ400 at West Pittsburg for Buffalo and Pittsburgh. Using Rochester and Southern 101 and 103. New Castle Yard.

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The abandoned Pittsburgh and Lake Erie facility, a striking contrast to the busy CSX mainline.

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Chessie System power leads a short train. Viewed from inside SF Tower. Quick visit inside.

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Akron, Ohio has a Conrail train passing over this CSX switching move at AY Tower.

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At Kent, Ohio. This waterfall steals the spotlight.

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Chessie System paint can be found on a rock train.

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Autumn at a rural road in Sullivan, Ohio.

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Greenwich Jct. crossing Conrail.

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Unit Coal is plentiful. This train seen from SF Tower.

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Amtrak test train, with a cabbage unit.

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Was expecting to see more of the facilities, at Willard, Ohio. Maybe, his access was restricted. Little more than a yard lead. This local waits to leave.

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Engine 163 departs J Tower at Willard, Ohio.

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Another CSX move, on a yard lead, entering at Willard.

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Several cabooses in this show. None in a perfect picture pose. This shot will suffice.

CSX 6. Pittsburgh to Willard.

A well filmed trip. Contemporary railroading isn’t the most thrilling. The show is nicely done. Does contain some really good scenes. Bump it up, if you are a CSX fan. A fine volume to have.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

Rails New York Metro

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Producer: Green Frog

Timeframe: 1996- 99

Locations: Hudson River, Long Island, Southern Tier, Susquehanna, NJ, more.

Length: 57 minutes

Source: Rich Kugel

An overview of the New York area, before the Conrail split. Extra coverage of additional railroads that provide variety. Locations extend outward. Hudson River and Long Island. Southern Tier, and more.

DVD-R. Standard Frog Chapter Search. Professional production throughout. No maps. This release has not been remastered. Hence, images appear slightly soft on a larger HDTV screen. Colors and balance are fine. Do not expect current viewing standards. Show is very watchable.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h25m37s106The trains appear in chronological order. Begins in the year 1996. Fast paced show!

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h58m01s916Rich Kugel, is the Green Frog Videographer. He has a fantastic eye for composition!

Bob Carrera, with a classic narrative. Good script. No maps, or on-screen graphics. Also available in the set, Trains around New York and New Jersey- collection.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h26m37s725Conrail is the star of this show. Fort Montgomery, New York. Many fine scenes in this program. Let’s have a sample…

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h55m58s401Susquehanna,also has a strong presence. Hawthorne, New Jersey.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h29m27s807New York Metro North. FL9 and Genesis locomotives operate, along the Hudson River. Garrison, NY. That Metro North never could create an attractive paint scheme.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h28m31s254However, New Haven surely did have some classic livery! They did revive this paint job.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h32m12s290Chesapeake and Ohio #614. This makes several appearances. A choice scene at Otisville Tunnel.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h50m38s830 An ice storm creates memorable scenes.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h48m54s012This is the Millrift River bridge. Constructed in 1868, by the Erie Railroad. Connects New York state to Pennsylvania.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-16h22m34s351 In 1999, the Long Island Railroad was going to soon replace aging equipment. Alco FA is used as a power pack. Not a locomotive.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-16h01m31s171Let’s pickup more Long Island Railroad at Nassau Tower. This is located at Mineola. Good showing of some LIRR equipment.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h45m22s623Moodna Viaduct is a definite scenic highlight. This NJ Transit is but one, of some trains crossing here.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h42m42s679Brand new BNSF General Electrics. They pause for a crew change. NJ Transit going to New York. Hint… These BNSF units get chased!

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h44m15s436Norfolk Southern makes random appearances.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-16h26m47s995Amtrak is also shown, by the Hudson. Also, several Electric motors, in New Jersey.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-16h18m00s978Susquehanna GP18, acts as a helper on a Sparta Hill move.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-16h12m49s869Conrail train that is 2 miles long! This view from a Mountain, along the Hudson River.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-16h37m38s562After that whirlwind. What happened to Conrail? Why, they are now CSX!

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-16h38m33s984Give it up. All in now. Where’s those dress blues???

Rails New York Metro. Green Frog has a show that hits the advertised, very nicely. Action oriented and loaded with variety. The near one hour show passes quickly. That is the hallmark of an enjoyable program.

Rating: 4 Stars