The Illinois Central:1990-1991


Producer: Mary R. McPherson

Timeframe: 1990-1991

Locations: Centralia, DuQuoin, Rust Jct., Carbondale, more

Length: 1 hour 55 minutes

Sources: George Redmond and Kurt I. Jensen

The Heritage Series. Illinois Central:1990-1991. End of the Paducah Geep Era.

Last of 4 volumes about the Illinois Central, in the Heritage Series. This by Diverging Clear Productions. Mary McPherson is the Producer. Long program. Highlights only.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h15m45s008Obviously, the last stand for those old warhorse GP9 rebuilds, of various incarnations. From Orange and White Illinois Central,  later Illinois Central Gulf. The final survivors,  were mostly black repaints.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-20h12m51s263A single DVD-R, in a Slimline case. No Chapter Menu. No maps. Plenty of on-screen graphics. Full narration by Mary McPherson. Very informative. Train symbols, locations and railroad history/ operations. 


The Heritage Series. These are niche videos. Mainly filmed by George Redmond. Good with his camera. Age isn’t favorable to vintage videotapes. The subject matter is what makes these desirable.

Amateur shot videos. Produced and released by this Independent label. Mary has come a long way on this release. Restoration work. It looks better. Sharp editing, plays smoother. Balanced audio. Improvements in all areas!

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-16h28m48s781Some rare territory is included in this show. The Bluford division, aka the Edgewood Cut-Off. Oddly enough, this is not where those old geeps are to be found.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h04m37s442This show is dominated by second generation power. GP38 and GP40 engines. SD40 units. Also, those odd SD20 locomotives. 

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h23m33s443Of course there are: GP8, GP10 and GP11 units. Although, not in quantity, until later. So be patient. A rare GP35 in black, that was a Gulf, Mobile & Ohio unit appears.


The first half is in the Bluford division. Shot in 1990. Plenty of inclement, wintery weather. The bridge viewpoint, is overused for too many head-on views of oncoming trains. Perhaps, a little editing could have been useful here.


Color balance is very good overall. Nothing weird. Brightness issues, in the first half. Videography is very good. Historical value, not modern viewing standards.

Trains look good on a large, HDTV. Backgrounds can look artificial, occasionally. Nothing to worry about. No deal breakers. A clean train picture, seems have been the goal.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-16h28m30s240Illinois Central was always known for hauling coal. Still, a main commodity.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h12m08s651The second half moves the show to: Centralia, Carbondale and DuQuion. Additional Southern Illinois towns. Better weather conditions. Much improved picture. Superior composition. Shot in 1991. Almost like watching two different shows. Grain train shown above. The other huge commodity on Illinois Central.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-16h38m58s102The entire program is well paced. It moves along quickly. Smooth edits. Audio is natural sound. Good balance of levels.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h24m30s709There are multiple pacing sequences. Different locomotives are featured. All are good.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-20h16m26s595Not a bunch of offline power. Norfolk Southern has it’s normal traffic, via Centralia.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-19h32m42s079There are quite a few Amtrak trains. Mary is an expert on Amtrak. She is an Amtrak Conductor! Has worked The City of New Orleans for years. I bet a trip on her train is major fun! Great sense of humor!!

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h07m28s169Those old geeps are already getting scarce! Hard to find in the lead, on long lash-ups.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h21m34s916Easier to find, on switching, or small local trains.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-19h45m17s964Black paint on newly acquired, ex: Burlington Northern SD-40-2 engines. This was the end, for the venerable Paducah Geep rebuilds.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-19h29m46s282Still see some cabooses in service. Orange was always my favorite. That light gray looked like, no one could agree on a really good color. Like beige carpet.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-16h29m11s200Heritage Series. Illinois Central:1990-1991. End of the Paducah Geep Era. A good collection of what is now, historical video. Probably, could have gotten the same thrill, in an edit. It does get somewhat repetitive. Still, a must have for Illinois Central fans. Overall, a well done volume in the series.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars


Rails New York Metro


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



CSX 2 Chattanooga to Nashville


Producer: Green Frog

Timeframe: early 1990s

Locations: Chattanooga, Cowan, Stephenson, Nashville, more

Length: 1 hour

Sources: Rob McCormack, Charlie Brown

Green Frog ups their game in CSX 2. Scenic Tennessee and Alabama territories. They include a mountain grade, Cab Ride. Visit a hump yard. See some sights, along the former L&N route.


Chattanooga, Tennessee. That railroad bridge that crosses the interstate.


Usual Green Frog DVD-R.C Chapter Search. This one has a glance, at a map. No on-screen graphics. Although, the narrative has everything covered.


Videography is ace. Camera angles are varied. Imagery is clear, even on the modern, big screen.


Audio is enviornmental. Levels are well balanced. Professional production, as one would expect from the Frog


As with the other volumes, that I have seen. Some highlight locations are key. Cumberland Mountain is the major point, in this show. Radner Yard in Nashville, is another.vlcsnap-2019-11-06-11h17m05s455

Two bridges in Alabama, appear early in the route to Nashville. Both, CSX plus Norfolk Southern cross on these.


By coincidence, a Norfolk Southern crossed the other bridge. Union Pacific in the lash-up of these mid-train helpers.


Creative viewpoints are becoming a Hallmark of the CSX series. This one, from inside a diminutive steam engine display.


Predecessor paint is within. Here is one, in Baltimore and Ohio blue.


Checkout another. Seaboard System here. Note those curves on the train.


At Cowan. The start of the run over Cumberland Mountain begins. Twisting and turning tracks are as challenging, as any mountain grade crossings.


Even on a television screen. This trackage looks intimidating. Blind curves, sheet rock walls and twisting tracks.


The original tunnel is 150 years old. Yes, we get it both ways!


 three ways. The Cab Ride is out and back.


The Radner Yard at Nashville is huge.


Views from both the towers. These SD40-2 units assemble their trains.


A second viewpoint. The SW1500 goes to retrieve more cars. The ex: Seaboard Coast Line… a little bonus!


No caboose to close. This auto rack is not tipping over. Rather, travelling on a super-elevated curve. Looks awesome.

CSX 2 Chattanooga to Nashville. Green Frog, has improved upon the first volume. A good tour of the advertised route.  This one has included, that mountain Cab Ride! A winner!

Rating: 5 Stars


CSX 1 Atlanta to Chattanooga


Producer: Green Frog

Timeframe: early 1990s

Locations: Atlanta, Marietta, Dalton, Kennesaw, Chattanooga, more.

Length: 1 hour

Source: Rob McCormack, John M. Koch

This is the first in an extensive series on CSX Transportation. These volumes are focused geographically. Atlanta, Georgia to Chattanooga, Tennessee is here. The era in which the railroad was filmed, still has some unrepainted, predecessor CSX locomotives.


Green Frog DVD-R. Chapter Search, as is typical with the Frog. No maps. There are on-screen graphics. Don Chandler performs the narrative. He has a lively voice.

Also, available in a large Green Frog multi set, CSX Special.


Videography is professional level. Editing is regular, high quality Green Frog. As is the audio. Enviornmental soundtrack. Well done. Everything in it’s place. Looks good on the big screen.


This script includes good historical background. That is a fine bonus. Civil War battles were fought around the areas. Adds much interest.


The Western and Atlantic Railroad owns this trackage. CSX leases it!


Check these Family Lines, that have not been repainted. A B&O loco, brings up the rear.


Howell Tower is an Atlanta hotspot. CSX and Norfolk Southern meet there. Many trains are viewed at Howell. Including a CSX move, that waits for the whole board to clear!


Amtrak does show up, with The Southern.


Norfolk Southern has busy mainline trackage through the vicinity. Dalton, GA. is a well known hotspot, with both railroads.


Low angle shots look great on the waiting NS locomotives.


Tunnel Mountain, that tunnel was constructed in 1923. That Chessie System 4447, sports old paint.


Shortline, Georgia Northeastern still operates some EMD GP9 and GP18 units. Slow orders, on tight, urban tracks.


CSX continues towards Chattanooga. Although, not much of that mileage is shown. Rather, several locations are featured. Seriously, they should have included some maps.


The station displays some creativity, from the Videographer.


BIG era freight cars are clean. My own term. I like it… Before Idiots Graffitied.


A marked change in the terrain. This is Chattanooga. A few minutes to the show’s conclusion.


Bringing it back home. CSX shares some rails and such in this area.


Hitless on a caboose. No worries. Close with this steam engine, at Tennessee Valley Museum.

CSX 1. Atlanta to Chattanooga. An excellent look at CSX and some Norfolk Southern. The main focus is on the Atlanta vicinity. This show runs so smoothly, it is a fine one to view. Even if it may not match travel expectations.

They do mention, that the next volume will begin in Chattanooga. So, perhaps a slight tease in the title. I bet they have improvements. Which brings us, to the bottom line.

Smart production has elevated, a less interesting era of Railroading, into a higher level of entertainment. Creative filming and some interesting scriptwork, have done the job. Would have liked more coverage of the route mileage, and a map. Still, a satisfying show on CSX!

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars


New York Railroading in 1998


Producer: Green Frog

Timeframe: 1998

Locations: Poughkeepsie, Marlboro, Campbell Hall, Iona, more.

Length: 89 minutes

Source: William D. Sternitzke, William E. Sternitzke

A general tour of New York area circa 1998. Many locations. No narrative. Conrail is still intact. A show of, basically mindless runbys.

Chapter Search. Motion Menu. No maps. Switchable on-screen graphics. Default is off. Dolby Audio, with natural sounds.


Videography is predominantly standard 3/4 views. Shot trackside. Clear images, although rather pedestrian. Several scenes are shot differently. The second Videographer perhaps.

Did not play this on the big screen. Looked very clean on the laptop. Audio was fine.

vlcsnap-2019-11-02-15h05m44s857Watched it, with and without the location graphics. Without any point of reference. Maps for example. The train symbols and locations, are meaningless. Little upstate towns. Who knows where these places are?


Poughkeepsie, sure that is widely known.

vlcsnap-2019-11-02-15h07m17s367An NJ Transit at a nameless tunnel. Yawn.


Here is an Amtrak. Unknown private cars.


This show requires narration.

Riverline, Haverstraw. Now, there is a name! What about this place? Ugh!

I do believe they mean, The River Line. Yes, that works better. Hudson Line. River Line. So, it is a place called Haverstraw, on the River Line. Ok.

Now, some Union Pacific locomotives do appear on the River Line.

vlcsnap-2019-11-02-13h57m40s236The Poughkeepsie Bridge is in the background. About the only recognizable scenes, are at Poughkeepsie. Here we have a Conrail business train. Doing what?

vlcsnap-2019-11-02-15h01m01s657 I was really looking forward to reviewing this release. Part of the fun, is learning about the different areas. Didn’t learn much. Extremely disappointed.


Susquehanna eases past some derailed freight cars. A CP Rail unit trails. Not enough additional information. The graphics offer a few tidbits. Old HJ. What’s that? Susquehanna at Greycourt, Hudson Secondary. Never heard of Greycourt. Where does the Hudson Secondary run? Some time is spent here. Revisited later on. This show is annoying.


A Conrail train at Suffern. A yard there or lineside industry? Who knows. I do know, that it is, Buffalo to Oak Island. I did learn that this town (never heard of it) is in New York.

vlcsnap-2019-11-02-14h57m58s221Poughkeepsie station. FL-9s. I know more, but they are not talking…


What about this operation? Even a brief ride on this switcher is given.


These empty flatcars summarize, how I rate this show. Not much meat on the bone. Too bad. However, I viewed the, Green Frog, Rails New York Metro. A review is forthcoming. Check that one, for a traditional, narrated show. Similar material. Better show!

Also available in the, Trains around New York and New Jersey set.

This is a wasted opportunity. The visuals are fine. The lack of much additional information, torpedoes this release. Probably fine for the locals.

Please. Spare me any comments, with after the fact details. This show is over. Move on.

Not recommended.

Suggestion. Narrate it.

Rating: 2 1/2 Stars