Classic Steam of the ’20s to the ’40s

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Producer: Green Frog

Timeframe: 1920s-1940s

Locations: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Chicago, Kansas City, more.

Length: 1 hour

Sources: Frank W. Schlegel, Vince Ryan, Jack Alexander

A smorgasbord of films. Spanning 4 decades. Some rare and not so rare, steam locomotives. A Collection of: black and white, plus a little color film. Eastern Railroads mainly. Everything is worthwhile.

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See: Delaware and Hudson, New York Central, Lackawanna, Central of New Jersey and Frisco (above). Also, Pennsylvania  Erie, Wabash, Rahway Valley, B&O, and much more. Steam, Electric and several early diesels.

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Frog DVD-R. Nothing extra. Plays straight through. The Milwaukee Road Hiawatha. Nice runby…in Milwaukee!

The show is narrated by Dan Chandler.  Script is good. Fine work on the dubbed trains.

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Camerawork varies by source. As does the visual quality. Majority is fine. About what an experienced Railfan would expect, from a wide ranging assortment. Good on the big screen.

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There is way too much to cover the whole show. Highlights of this fine program. New York Central, Empire Star Express. Two steam pushers on the rear. The show’s gem!

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Reading Crusader at Dunellen, New Jersey.

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Camelback is a strange looking steam engine. It hauls a fantrip out on to the Long Branch.

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Turns around, the yard in Bay Head Jct. A joint CNJ and PRR. So, Pennsylvania power is there with K4s. Compare the access the people had, in those days. More PRR is seen, in their home state.

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A 1936 fantrip over the former, Ulster and Delaware. This one required a double header with a pusher, and ran two sections!  The New York Central ten wheelers were added to the head end. Former U&D power. Depart Kingston.

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Oneonta roundhouse on D&H was destination.

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Check the size of the people against this Lackawanna locomotive.

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Steam and Electric. New York Central. Harmon, NY.

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The big surprise is at Pennsylvania’s Enola Yard. Before retarders were used, brakeman manually controlled the cars, from the hump. Dangerous work in the winter. Unbelievable by today’s safety!

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The Alton. Street running! How rare is this?

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Middletown and Union, has a face, only a mother could love. Come closer..

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Venerable, Boston and Maine Mogul type.

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Rock Island at St. Louis.

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Erie passes with it’s train.

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Indiana Railroad was a large, Electric Interurban. Ran streetcars and freight.

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Delaware and Hudson Northern type. Plenty of D&H is within.

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Springfield Terminal in it’s original incarnation. Take a trolley. Quite a difference, from later SD45s in grey paint!

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A Lackawanna Milk Train, really harkens back to an earlier era.

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A Chicago, Burlington and Quincy sits in a huge yard. Burlington Route, was a road that ran steam late, on the Colorado and Southern.

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This is a cornucopia of steam era scenes. Here, the ice bunker reefers are loaded at the Chicago Stockyards. South Shore Electric cars to the right.

There are even bonus shots. City pan views (Philadelphia), street scenes, humoungous Chicago stockyards. A well thought-out production. Packs a bunch, into a fast moving one hour program.

Also available on the, Trains around New York and New Jersey – collection.

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Closing caboose is a Wabash.

Green Frog has a must see show, for any fans of steam era Railroading. The black and white film, adds to the vintage feel. Fascinating and varied visit to the past.

Rating: 5 Stars

The Fifties Express

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Producer: William Brown

Timeframe: 1950s

Locations: USA, Canada

Length: 52 minutes

Source: Irving E. August

Irving August is a notable railroad Cinematographer, from the 1950s. This impressive all color collection, is a wide ranging one. Covering a variety of lines, in the United States, and Canada.

Steam and early diesel. Electrified lines. Freight and passenger trains. An ore hauler. A tourist line.vlcsnap-2019-05-31-17h24m31s999

Mr. August filmed in high quality 16mm! A mixture of music, and train sounds. No additional extras.

Rege Cordic is the familiar voice on WB Video. He does a professional job.

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At under an hour, the pace is fast. Some of the edits are abrupt. Given the limitations of the period equipment. He probably ran out of film. For the rarity, it is a wash. Rather see those trains.

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Each railroad is billboarded. The corresponding footage is then shown. The earliest date quoted is 1950.

There is even more! Here are some highlights. Figure that it was probably the best of his own feels. More or less.

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Canadian National is west of Montreal.

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Boston and Maine. Pacific power on locals.

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New Haven is chased on a fantrip.

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Baltimore and Ohio. Action packed. Plenty of trains here Steam and diesel.

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Western Maryland, is using steam and diesels. Mid-train helpers and pushers.

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Milwaukee Road Little Joe electric locomotives, in rarely seen paint.

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New York Central has several trains.

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Nickel Plate Road, shared the right of way with New York Central, in Westfield, Ohio. Number 748 is one of the Berkshire class.

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Norfolk and Western, is one of the longest chapters. Although, there are no designated chapters, on a menu. Focus on the behemoth Y-6 class. The 600 series passenger locomotives are seen.

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An unusual scene. N&W work train in a backup move.

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Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range. Another extensive visit. Yellowstone’s, for certain.

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Canadian Pacific receives lengthy attention around scenic Kicking Horse Pass. Including some footage from a passenger car.

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Northern Pacific steam is hard to find. Irving has some here.

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Caboose on Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range. The majority of cabooses were shades of red. These are standouts!

The Fifties Express

An Express tour seeing over a dozen railroads in the fabulous 1950’s. A fine presentation. Suitable for family viewing.

Rating: 5 Stars

Milwaukee Road in the Midwest Volume 1



MLW1

Producer: C Vision

Timeframe:1977- 1986

Locations: IA,MO,MN,WI

Length:80 minutes

Source: Fred Crissey

Fred Crissey on the Milwaukee Road in the 1970s and 80s. He travels into; Iowa, Minnesota, Missiouri and Wisconsin. Branchlines galore.

All color, 8mm film. Original condition. Pretty clean for the most part. You will notice little specks throughout. Some occasional camera shake.

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The color balance, is basically maintained. Orange is a tricky color to begin with. Not perfect film. The 1986 has several scenes, just a bit off. The rest is fine.

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Full narration. Good script, that has plenty of information. There is a detailed Chapter Menu. On screen graphics, with locations.

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Maps are included and frequently used. Lucky for us. This program does bounce around. In an interesting fashion.

No train sounds. A musical soundtrack. Predominant, adult contemporary with guitar and piano featured. Well chosen.

The show structure is similar to the Chicago and Northwestern series. Which is good!

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 A couple of hard to find items. SW1 engines in local service. Operating F units.

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The SW1 stable was concentrated on a weight restriction line in Minnesota. Fred was there in 1977. This is some rare film. Fine chapter that follows a local.

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GP20 action is viewed in Iowa. The units with nose mounted number boards, are rebuilt from GP 9 units. They run to Mason City yard here.

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Savanna, Illinois and Sabula, Iowa. The Missipsippi River is in between. A rare Fairbanks Morse switches the yard. That black car. Looks like a 1979 Pontiac Sunbird. My late Brother had one.

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Back at the bridge. A GP30, leads some F units across the Missipsippi River.

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Some road trains, pass through the show. Milwaukee Road #2052 is an EMD GP40.

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Milwaukee F units were operating from Savanna. Fred gives chase to several F trains.

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Burlington Northern, at a Savanna junction.

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Street running at Bellvue Iowa and Lansing, Michigan.

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A 1986 segment. Kansas City, Missouri to Ottumwa, Iowa. Randolph.

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This is post Soo Line merger. Some on CNW Spine Line at Randolph. Bandit paint appears.

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Return to 1978. Local to Darlington, Wisconsin. Rock on the rough roadbed, while aboard SD9 #518. The rails are nearly weed covered. You may begin to feel seasick here!

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Spend a day shift with, the local.

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In 1978. Rebuild SD10 #555 is on a an extended chase. Very detailed narrative keeps things interesting. As the local travels carefully,over the light rail and rough roadbed.

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The 555 traverses a scenic area. It’s lightweight footprint and 1800 horsepower, a perfect match for the job.

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This is a fine look at vintage Milwaukee Road in rural settings. Nicely put together. It plays well. While, jumping locations and years.

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Compared to a pair of similar Chicago and Northwestern shows by C. Vision. This one offers tighter shots. The snail’s pace of those locals, would give good setup times!

Viewers will come away with an understanding, of 1970s Milwaukee Road branchlines. Why, even with plenty of business, a given line was abandoned.

So, the total viewing experience is better. Therefore, a higher rating. Both series have very worthwhile material. Most fans of the Granger roads will enjoy both.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

 

The Heritage Collection, Volume 1

Empire Builder Cover.indd

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1940 – 1950s

Locations: USA

Length: 1 hour 35 minutes

Five vintage films from the 1940s and ’50s. Professionally produced by the Railroad organizations of the time. Most, if not all of these have circulated. Convenient to have a group on a single DVD.

A detailed Chapter Menu breaks them down by the five movie titles.  A Play All option, as well.

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These shall be reviewed by individual title. All are narrated. Full color films.

A roll up and combined rating upon completion.

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Burlington Route FT set. One of the myriad of rarities.

On The Track 

AAR short film of 1950s era. Dudley Productions.  A shared theme of America produces, and ships by rail. Wide variety of railroads passby the camera.  

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There are a number of famous landmarks. Prosperous, post war America. There are similar films made during this time.

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Covers much subject matter in about 15 minutes. Historical look back into time. Heavy industry is one focus.

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Plenty of early diesels. F and E units dominate. A few odd, Alco and Baldwin units. Several steam locomotives.

 

Life – Line of the Nation

Another Carl Dudley Production. Don McNamara has the narrator credit.

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An earlier film. Deals with World War 2. The valuable role of US railroads to move the military. The industry to manufacture equipment.

C&O 1490 is shown above.

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Hence, a National defense theme. Milwaukee Road box cab electrics.

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Get busy identifying what you see in all of these shows. Look closely…

Florida East Coast!

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Milwaukee Road Hiawatha. Nice runby!

Runs about 20 minutes. Plenty of steam.

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Rare, New York Central Empire State Express.

Early diesels in small numbers here.

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The might of the US industrial complex, to support the war effort. Cooperation amoung the railroads to move everything.

The responsibility of the railroads to keep the peace time America rolling.

 

225,000 Mile Proving Ground

A 1958 produced, Association of American Railroads. Dudley Pictures.

The Headline Story of Railroad Research.

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The subtitle sums up where this movie short is going. These old films do like to emphasize just how well they are doing!

This Union Pacific Turbine, is the future.

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The science of Railroading. Metallurgy, as in more durable rail is one subject. Freight car design and uniform improvements.

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Improved refrigerator equipment. Santa Fe.

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Modern hump yard.

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Modern signaling for reliable train movements. Great Northern.

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Boxcars are constantly improved.

America’s 225,000 rail miles are the proving ground for so much technology.

Suffice it to say, A Chicago headquarters, was at the forefront, of the leading edge.

Railroads and National Defense

Dudley Pictures. Korean War era.

America: with natural resources, industrial might and a strong military. Ready to meet any challenge. Transportation is the key.

 

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This short is packed with early diesels!

Missouri – Kansas – Texas E units. MKT.

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This one reassures the public, that our railroads are more than ready to move the military.vlcsnap-2019-04-28-20h15m48s775

By now, you will notice the recycling of some footage. Remember, the producers were doing these films separately. They would have never dreamed of a single DVD!

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Seaboard train

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Buses move troops to the trains. Going to embarkation areas.

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Runs about 12 minutes. Many of the same trains seen previously. Like this Monon.

In a way, seen one, seen them all with these old short films. They vary somewhat. Yet, are quite similar.

Mainline USA

Also an AAR release from the 1950s. Dudley Pictures. Gilmore is this narrator.

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Probably the best of this collection. Many diesels. Pennsylvania Baldwin Sharks.

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Rock Island TA.

Again with the greatest America.

Same recycled footage. Much new and additional film.

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This one contains the largest selection of diesels. Western Maryland trio, in fireball paint scheme.

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Baltimore and Ohio F7A.

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Advances, such as truck trailers on flatcars.

Runs about 20 minutes.

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The Heritage Collection, Volume 1

Pentrex has delivered on the advertised. These vintage short films are of a historical nature. Repeat scenes, no extra charge!

Years ago, many old train films were difficult to obtain. Much has surfaced over the decades. There are still some rare birds. Although, only a quick glimpse of each.

Overall, an authentic period collection. Has trains, and much more. One viewpoint of American life. May or may not, be of interest.

Rating: 3 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