CSX 5 Evansville to Chicago

CSX5_dvd

Producer: Green Frog

Timeframe: 1990s

Locations: Evansville to Chicago

Length: 1 hour

Source: Rob McCormack

I’m Volume 5 the CSX route is followed from the yard at Evansville, Indiana to the Chicago area. Mirroring the real world, there isn’t a whole lot to see in-between. Figured it would roll this way. The extended time spent in Evansville, tips their hand. Endpoints!!

vlcsnap-2019-11-19-17h25m59s585The production standards are the same as the previous volumes. A couple of improvements. There is a route map! The script is a better one. On/off narration. Chapter Search. Narrated by Bob Carrera. Enviornmental soundtrack. Also, available on the CSX Special set.

vlcsnap-2019-11-19-16h35m48s056Return to a single Videographer. Rob McCormack. Improvements in the visuals, as well. Solid and consistent. The show opens in Henderson. Just long enough to leave town. Here, crossing the Ohio River.

vlcsnap-2019-11-19-16h37m39s346Doesn’t this resemble a Model Railroad kit?

vlcsnap-2019-11-19-16h47m33s729There are outstanding night scenes around the Evansville engine servicing facility. Very well lit. Top notch video capture!

vlcsnap-2019-11-19-17h05m06s288A cornucopia of additional railroads make this an interesting show. Soo Line, Norfolk Southern, with Toledo, Peoria and Western, as well.

vlcsnap-2019-11-19-16h54m10s104The journey North towards Chicago is every bit as unremarkable, as one would expect. Not much to do, or see. They seem aware of this reality. Small towns are covered, as succinctly as possible. Decent trains along the way.

vlcsnap-2019-11-19-17h00m03s429Here is an Indiana highlight. An old coaling tower, still stands. CSX 7801, C40-8W.

vlcsnap-2019-11-19-17h04m46s761Danville has a small engine facility. A GP30 in a hard to find, early CSX scheme.

vlcsnap-2019-11-19-17h11m16s238Things quickly pickup in the Illinois half. Gilman, is a traditional Illinois Central hotspot. Didn’t know that IC E8s came in gray!

vlcsnap-2019-11-19-17h11m56s950Chicago and North Western #8523. A GE  C40-8, leads an Electromotive locomotive.

vlcsnap-2019-11-19-17h08m17s414Several locomotives in Pre-Merger paint. The Family Lines General Electric has seen better days.

vlcsnap-2019-11-19-17h13m19s115Of all things. Who would expect a Green Bay & Western with a Kankakee, Beaverville and Southern? Alcos to boot!

vlcsnap-2019-11-19-17h10m54s500Amtrak has several appearances.

vlcsnap-2019-11-19-17h16m31s575You know you hit Chicago, when it gets cloudy, and the weather turns bad. CSX C40-8W, at Crete. Bet it was on a weekend. Why? It always seemed to rain or snow then!!

vlcsnap-2019-11-19-17h19m24s093The variety, picks up around the Chicago vicinity. The Southside is this CSX Gateway. An Elgin, Joliet and Eastern SD40-2, leads a Duluth Missabe and Iron Range unit.

vlcsnap-2019-11-19-17h27m31s375Barr Yard, was the former Chessie System (B&O) classification yard.

vlcsnap-2019-11-19-17h26m41s378Thornton Junction is a Southside hotspot. Indiana Harbor Belt, a common sight, in that part of town.

vlcsnap-2019-11-19-17h24m27s827A freshly repainted Canadian National GP40, nee GT. This leads a lash-up, of Grand Trunk power. Note the Operation Lifesaver GP38, in the second spot.

vlcsnap-2019-11-19-17h28m21s417Dolton, another hotspot. Instead of the ubiquitous road power. Let’s see some Union Pacific switchers!

vlcsnap-2019-11-19-17h17m39s967Not a caboose, anywhere. So, we close a CSX Engineer waving, from this SD40-2. Which tells the story of a wave. Hello or Good-Bye?

CSX 5 Evansville to Chicago.

A worthy addition to the series. The use of the better end points, define this show. Train variety is excellent. Solid entry for CSX series.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

CSX 4 Louisville to Cincinnati

CSX4_dvd

Producer: Green Frog

Timeframe: 1990s

Locations: Louisville to Cincinnati

Length: 59 minutes

Sources: Steve Neff, Rob McCormack

Volume 4 has scenic territory. Short route mileage and a high percentage of curvature. A former L&N mainline. This is a key artery ,with many curves and grades. Nice variety of power in this show.

The DVD-R has on/ off narration. Chapter Search. No maps or on-screen graphics. Production values consistent with the series. Dan Chandler Narration is a basic one. Locations and train symbols, mainly.

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The videography is inconsistent. Too tight to the tracks,on too many scenes. Makes trainwatching frustrating. However, other scenes are normal. Digital master has a good image on a 4K screen.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-11h32m27s960Where’s those maps? Calling out these little towns are useless. Need a reference point. Norfolk Southern tracks crossover the CSX line here.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-11h19m01s530Grand Trunk was probably running through from their Ohio lines. The narrative never addresses, where all of the GT units are coming from.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-11h36m05s890The top heavy 10 locomotive lash-ups are likely, power balancing moves. Again, the script is lacking a bit. Besides that, it would be better, to see the actual locomotives!

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-10h44m46s585LaGrange, Kentucky is famous for street running. A little more distance from the camera would be an improvement. As with the caboose scene, at the end of the review. Compare, with the following shot below…

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-10h46m42s251Opposite side of the street. Better perspective. One can now see the train.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-11h29m51s305The narrative mentions, that there are 16 more trestles. They supposedly, get big and better. A couple are seen.

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Richardson Trestle.

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Yankee Tunnel sees some action. That face is butt ugly. This shot is the one.

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See the BQ23-7? Notice that it appears to have been permently converted to a B unit. It would have been interesting to hear about it. Not just… The 1st wide cab. By the way…CSX had done just that! Also, Same as a regular B23-7, except the larger cab. Q stands for Quarters. (Armchair Narration)

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-11h28m39s355Twisting trackage is very visible in this scene.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-11h00m20s639A hard to find, early CSX paint scheme. These usual suspects are also found, in pre-merger paint. Family Lines, Seaboard System and Chessie System.

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CSX 4 Louisville to Cincinnati. Another entry in this long series. Good scenery and locomotive assortment, are the strong points. Camera leaves room for improvement, as mentioned. Still, a pretty good show.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Griffith, Indiana

DVD-or-Blu-ray-Griffith-Indiana-Pentrex

Producer: Jonathan Quinley

Timeframe: Dec, 2016 to Sept, 2018

Location: Griffith, Indiana

Length: 2 hours 20 minutes

Source: Jonathan Quinley

Griffith is a hot spot . The interlocking trackage is  located near Chicago. Six miles, from the Illinois and Indiana State line. Once, one of the busiest interlockings in the world. There are still about 45 daily trains here.

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C Vision has footage from 2 years. That was 2016 until 2018. CSX ran a daily train until 2018. Here are some highlights…

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December 2016 is the beginning of this timeline. According to the Chapter Menu.

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This single DVD-R has a detailed Chapter Menu. On/ Off narration. Detailed vicinity map is included, of the trackage.

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The on-screen graphics are super detailed. Every single train move has this much information.

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Picture looks great on a modern 55″ screen. Sound quality is awesome, via the sound bar. The levels are full. Turn the volume up and trains seem to be coming into the room!

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Don Grant is the narrator.  The script is a light one. Natural train sounds are the main sounds.

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Pretty good variety of roadnames on the non CN locomotives. These BC Rail units make an appearance on the lead.

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Too bad in this modern era. We get, Oh your Momma didn’t pay enough attention to you. So, now you graffiti train cars. Punks!

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The Videographer has a fine set of skills. He gets variations, from a limited area and on the ground. Camera is tripod mounted, with zero movement.

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Canadian National is the star in this show. The mixture of local and road trains equate to older and new power.

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Although Illinois Central was consumed. Some black IC units can still be found. Sharp editing, gives viewers choice views of the train consists, without having to sit through entire trains.

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Once common Grand Trunk blue engines are working locals. Such as these GP38’s.

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CSX still was active at Griffith, with a regular move. Y123 is this train.

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BNSF rolls some run through power by the camera.

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Some night scenes are interspersed. Elgin, Joliet& Eastern locomotive here. They formerly owned some of these tracks.

vlcsnap-2019-10-10-20h19m45s553Action is predominantly mixed freight. Preferable to constant, boring unit  trains and double stack traffic. Check this Bessemer & Lake Erie trailing unit.

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Many are transfer freights. Others are far flung moves. Those graphics are interesting to read!

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Almost forgot you Union Pacific fans… No, it is not a UP move.

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The change of seasons adds to the appeal. Look close, it is an Illinois Central SD.

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Some of the power sets rumble the floor, as they approach! This show is fun.

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Norfolk Southern shows up, as well. An NS rebuild here.

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Griffith, Indiana is wall to wall freight trains. Enjoyable trainwatching for those who like this era. Has a definite trackside feel. Enough variation, in spite of what may seem to be limited, by location and era. This show is simply, a good time!

Rating: 5 Stars

 

 

Michigan & 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

 

Into the ’90’s GT-2

s-l300

Producer: Todd Miller

Timeframe: 1993- 94

Locations: Battle Creek to Port Huron

Length: 2 hours

Source: Todd Miller, Dale Devene, Paul Geiger

The official description is a stretch. I was deciding, between this and GT-1. Both at two hours. This GT-2, had a few things going in its favor. I chose this, based on the advertised inclusions.

Steam, 1980s footage and Battle Creek. Does it include those items? Barely!

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You get several scenes of steam. A couple of scenes that is the 1980s. A few minutes total.

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Major GT yard at Battle Creek. I expected this to be a show highlight. Wait for it… A single aerial flyover!

Not a good start. There is more. Getting ahead of the review.

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The show is narrated by Todd Miller. He seemed to be self sufficient. His Videography is pretty good overall.

His post production work has good points. There are other areas needing help.

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The good. Maps are included in the program. Timely referenced. On screen graphics, with locations and milepost.

Weak are the lighting. Some scenes need the brightness lowered. Early on, this is annoying on the 1994 video. It settles down. No Chapter Menu.

vlcsnap-2019-05-26-08h11m23s180Another area is the audio. Edit the volume on some of these crossing gate scenes. Fortunately, locations are included that are away from crossing gates.

Worst issue is the DVD transfer!

Ever wonder what it would be like to see your old worn out VHS tape on a DVD? Step right in.

Constant, roll and flutter is a distraction. A couple of sections, I thought the tape was being eaten! Only to remember, this is on a disc.

The former 2 tape set, is loaded with flaws. Wonder, why they could not have sourced a set of tapes in better condition?

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Now, after all these issues. The actual show, is a decent visit to the Grand Trunk.

The beginning is at the throat of Battle Creek Yard. A train exiting the area. Program travels towards Canada.

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Durand is one of two extended show highlights. This visit overstays a little bit.

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A long lash-up at Durand.

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A connecting line provides some relief. Central Michigan. The sound of these General Electric locomotives, is a sweet symphony!

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Unexpected, is the amount of online grain elevators.

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At Flint, the famous Grand Funk bridge.

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Canadian Pacific rolls through the territory.

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 Not mentioned in the narrative. Several Amtrak trains, are joint USA and Canadian. Hence, the Via locomotives and Amtrak coaches.

vlcsnap-2019-05-26-08h14m15s559Getting far north at Tappan. This freight has it’s destination at Burlington Northern’s Clyde Yard. BN also is seen earlier,with coal.

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CSX appears with intersecting trackage and various moves. Again with their yard and action at Port Huron.

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Port Huron contains another extended segment. A fascinating look at those: yard, ferry and tunnel operations!

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This GP15 looks dwarfed by the auto racks. Too tall for the current tunnel. They need the river ferry. Three Railroads operate ferries here.

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Focused discussion of yard operation. Details given a detailed look. Plenty of Canadian National movement here.

vlcsnap-2019-05-26-08h46m33s365Canadian National power muscles out of the tunnel beneath the Saint Clair River. Note the construction equipment, building the new tunnel.

 

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The single GT caboose on a train. This from the 1980s freight, constituting one half of that feature.

Into the ’90’s GT-2.

The description fails to deliver on the advertised. A reasonable expectation would be more time on the items, I brought up.

The VHS transfer quality is a dog. Seems like, better tapes could have been applied.

I would have chosen Volume One. Had this been described more accurately.

It is still a good show overall. Lower rating for the sloppy source and transfer.

Rating: 3 Stars