Today’s Chicago Railroads


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.


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.


There is a detailed, Chapter Menu. A master map, with nearly 2 dozen locations. Many close-up maps, as needed. Highly organized.


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!


As the sign says. To The Trains…

Alco C424 of Chicago Belt Railway.


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.


State Line Tower is far south. Norfolk Southern and CSX. Illinois – Indiana line.


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.


Blue Island has always been one of the best hotspots. Many roads move through here.


Chessie System, now CSX, with a long lash-up of light locomotives. Barr Yard is nearby, not visited. Blue Island action.


Dolton Jct. is very popular now. Easy to access, for railfans. CSX, Conrail and more.


More.. A grimy Missouri Pacific pair, trundle through Dolton.


McCook Crossing, features the busy Santa Fe Mainline. Multiple ATSF, trains passby. Willow Springs is next. Pre UPS days there.


The details of the trackage at McCook. Everyone seemed to exercise trackage rights, on the Indiana Harbor Belt!


Old, beater CNW geeps are seen here.

Grand Trunk , Chessie, IHB, Amtrak too.


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.


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.


The Burlington Northern Racetrack is a must see on any Chicago visit.


BN executive F units appear at Clyde yard in Cicero. You never know what shows up!


Hawthorne yard, has Belt Tower . This is visited inside. A former Illinois Central structure. Chicago Central was here. This structure, is gone now.


Brighton Park has a full – on stop. Rare, a Switchtender with a shanty. A GT transfer caboose, hits the diamonds.


Illinois Central SW14s on their ex: GM&O trackage. Note the unusual, hip cab roofs.


CR 5032 is next to get the wave at Brighton.


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.


The engine house and Bensenville yard run right along a public road.


Grand Trunk near Hayford Junction.


Hegewisch still has electric interurban service. Chicago South Shore Line.


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.


Chicago Short Line is another rare find.


Many of the trains, still employ a caboose. The Indiana Harbor Belt used these home built transfer ones for many years.


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


Santa Fe’s Mohave Mainline


Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1992

Locations: Needles to Barstow

Length: 75 minutes

 Santa Fe’s California desert crossing. The Mohave sub is 120 miles. Needles to Barstow. Mountain vistas, ghost towns, and the Mohave desert. Santa Fe trains speed across this division.

David Drui with his comfortable narrative. Smooth as glass. A well written script to match.


Pentrex, with their professionals in the production areas. Everyone has done a fine job!

A Chapter Menu is detailed for easy access throughout. Bonus previews too.


Plentiful map usage and some elevations, as well. On-screen graphics, coupled with train identification.


Lighting creates dramatic effects.


Jumps out to Needles. Working the way back. Seligman sub crosses the Colorado River to Needles.


7449 and a crew change point. Train 189. This move gets chased. TOFC.


Quality train is a, Dallas to Barstow move.


Train 885 at Danby. Passes by Miner shacks from the 1880s.


Arizona and California Railroad interchange. MRL unit is field testing.


This warbonnet gets beautifully filmed, on a grade.


Siberia has the best name. Klondike had the best screenshot.


Ash Hill is a high vantage point.


Higher? You bet!


Ghost towns do exist in the Mohave.


Progressive maps are good.


Troy Lake is a dry lake. #114 is shown, because it’s cool.


Union Pacific shows up to get on the Santa Fe main. Check that Soo Line, far from home!


Amtrak’s Desert Wind at Barstow.


Train 338 arrives at the Eastern end of Barstow Yard.


The Mohave is presented in an interesting fashion. An intelligent mixture of trains and local history, keep viewers attention. The fast pace and relaxing intervals, are perfect. Top notch videography really tops it off.

Excellent train program for all.

Rating: 5 Stars



Western Rails


Producer: Greg Scholl

Timeframe: 1994-97

Locations: CA, CO, IA, KS, NM, WY

Length: One hour

Source: Greg Scholl

A tour of various locations in the Western States. Sweeping across the Plains to California. Many railroads are viewed. Various cameos are additional. All combined into this show. Unique viewpoints on numerous shots. There are a cornucopia of scenes.

Narrator, is the familiar voice of Greg Hingsbergen. He always does a fine job.


Natural audio on a live soundtrack. The only issues, are some loud levels on freeway traffic.


Pro level videography. All production aspects are professional. Tight edits. A well paced program. Greg always has an appreciation for nature. A good amount for balance. No extra charge!


A detailed Chapter Menu is included. A generous Preview section. This with a detailed Menu, as well. Split into American and Canadian preview lists.

There are minor maps. Just enough to orient the audience. Good enough.


Kansas City Southern, in an intriguing view. Burlington, Iowa. Mississippi River.


Santa Fe warbonnets, with Union Pacific passenger cars. Topeka, Kansas. See the show, for more details on this scene.

vlcsnap-2019-03-27-10h51m37s581There is much variety in this show. Former Rio Grande Potash branch, near Moab, Utah.


Santa Fe Southern. Lamy, New Mexico.

vlcsnap-2019-03-27-10h39m11s606Enjoy these two for one scenes! A BNSF train waits at Dotsero, Colorado. While the Union Pacific moves up the Tennessee Pass route. Nice sequence.

vlcsnap-2019-03-27-10h36m11s013The Southwest Chief. Amtrak fans, will get serviced, more than once, in Western Rails. 

vlcsnap-2019-03-27-10h48m27s336Southern Pacific meet in Utah. May 94.

vlcsnap-2019-03-27-10h52m25s063Burlington Northern. Sheridan, Wyoming. A crew change point.


SD70MAC engines with a long coal train.


Columbia River Gorge. This is an extended Chapter. Burlington Northern on the one side. Georgeous area.


Union Pacific rails on the other. One of several scenic highlights!


California is next on the journey. Southern Pacific’s Coast Line. Trains in scenery, type of cinematography. Spectacular views here!


Tehachapi Loop gets a brief visit in 1995. Southern Pacific with a GP60. Two pushers on the rear. Unusual, to see a GP60 lead versus SD class locomotives.


Western Rails

An interesting compilation, that delivers on the advertised. This whirlwind tour should contain, something for everyone. A favorite Railroad, or a location. Likely, more than one. Perhaps, viewers may find new interests.

This is a fine train program. Compact and action packed! Great cinematography. Excellent for: Railfans, Model Railroaders and the family.

Rating: 5 Stars



Santa Fe’s New Mexico Mainline Combo


Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1994

Locations: Clovis and Gallup subs

Length: 3 hours

Extra value is always appreciated, on these two for one, releases from Pentrex. A grand tour of the Santa Fe Railway in New Mexico. This was filmed after, the return to red and silver warbonnets.

Clovis subdivision. Begins at the Texas state line. Texico, New Mexico. The show shall proceed westbound. Concluding at the Arizona border.



Lone Star Junction is our jumping off point. Typical mid 1990s intermodal trains.


Clovis to Belen in this Volume. Maps are provided to outline the territory.

Familiar voice of David Drui on narration. High quality script. On screen graphics.

All of the expected Pentrex departments hitting on all cylinders. Total professionals.

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-13h06m23s046Action… GP35R 2804 is still in service at Clovis Yard. An intermodal moves through on the outer track. While a double stack departs.

Old box cars used by farmers for storage.


Attractive ATSF stations are still standing. This one at Vaughn, appears in vintage film.


Notice how smart Pentrex is at spicing up what could be boring, repetitive trains. The intermodals just are not very interesting. So they interject; horses, jet, a fire…

Good. It isn’t just myself yawning. How many double stacks and JB Hunt TOFC trains can one stand?

Even in 1994. They knew. A waste of gas!  Go find a town. Onward boys…


Here is a bridge. Crossing the Pecos River. The pinnacle of the first half!


More drudgery. I do not like the Clovis sub, so far. Repetitious and nothing interesting to view. Perhaps, the weakest sub on Santa Fe for a show. At least, in this modern era.


They get some fine shots at Willard. A large, open curve in the desert topography.


The jump ahead to Belen Yard. Perhaps, so no one turns off this dragging show! We then backtrack to Mountainair station. The end of this tour.


Abo Canyon with 7 bridges, in 5 1/2 miles. The scenic highlights are here. Moutainous desert terrain provides a dramatic setting for the freights.


Older FP45 locomotives appear on several moves in the canyon. Note how deftly Pentrex regulates the wind noise. Many producers fail in this area.


Clovis sub. An uneccassary show, except for the single golden nugget. Abo Canyon makes this program. Keep in mind, that it only is one chapter. The remainder is: Pentrex cameramen creating a proverbial silk purse from a sow’s ear.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars


Gallup sub: Volume 2

Single DVD



We start at Belen Yard. Picks up right where the first Volume geographically concluded. This part of New Mexico does contain better scenery. Follow the railroad to the Arizona State line in 1994.


Obviously, the Clovis sub doesn’t stand well on it’s own. Hence, a value oriented, double release makes sense.


Dalies is a photogenic natural. Has some traditional accoutraments. Signal bridge and water tank. Set the stage for great photos and film.


Amtrak Southwest Chief makes several appearances.


This Phoenix to Belen move. A low priority return freight is chased. 3065 + 6386. ATVR bonus FYI: these  are a GE B30-7 and an EMD GP20.


Lee Ranch sib. Escalante Western SD40 trio operate unit coal for a power plant.


Red Rocks provides a dramatic backdrop. Not too mention, this interesting lash-up.


South Guam starts some of the striking bluffs New Mexico is known for.


Zuni has the natural gas plant.


Gallup Yard is a busy place.


Arizona State line marks the end of this Volume.


Gallup sub is the clear pick of the two volumes. Fine show, for a modern era.

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars


As a Two for One combo release. Buyers are doing fine. Purchase it for the Gallup sub. Consider the Clovis sub as a bonus. Find a good price. That’s the ticket.

Rating: 4 Stars


The Joint Line


Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1990s

Locations: CO.

Length: 85 minutes

A mutually operated Colorado line. Highlights include: Denver, Castle Rock, Palmer Lake and Pueblo. Filmed over a 4 year period. The mid 90’s.

This show has four main railroads. Burlington Northern, Santa Fe, Southern Pacific and Rio Grande.

The expected Pentrex standard of excellence is here. Everything is proper and as it should be. Early map reference outlines what constitutes The Joint Line. A detailed Chapter Menu. Preview section.

Balanced and intelligent narration. It backs off, to let the viewer observe and listen to some trains. Nicely done.


Burlington Northern is the dominant player here. Mainly due to extensive coal trains. Cascade Green fans will be very pleased.


Santa Fe has plenty on tap. Fresh red and silver warbonnets abound! Blue and yellow scheme, too.


Southern Pacific was releasing speed lettered repaints, on fresh rebuilds. Plus, a smattering of Cotton Belt units.


Denver and Rio Grande Western. Now, that’s a different picture. Grimy for the most part. Road numbers are often tough to read.


A colorful assortment of run through power. Conrail, Kansas City Southern, LMX, Norfolk Southern, Soo Line, Union Pacific and more!


Let’s look at some Kansas City Southern. A white ghost is buried in the consist.

Pentrex delves into the long history of The Joint Line. Effective usage of old photos. They certainly go the extra mile.


Colorado has varied scenery. This line begins with the small cityscape, of South Denver.


Obligatory Amtrak image. Here you go.


Onward, we take a long look around The Joint. Arid high country.


Pretty lakeside vista at Palmer Lake.


What a gorgeous town to watch trains.


Surprise snowstorm encountered due to elevation.


Coal is always a big commodity. More BN.


Handy lesson on Pusher/ Helper service!


An old Santa Fe bridge gets busy.


Santa Fe ran a hot intermodal Quality train.


Burlington Northern was highlighted with their new SD70MAC locomotives.


Southern Pacific is shown with an old GP9. Check that Kodachrome paint!


BN was still using a contraption called a caboose!

The Joint Line.

An exceptional visit to this scenic Colorado rail line. Nice additions, with history and a few older train moves. Expert cinematography and production.

Four classic railroads. A great area with scenery and history. This one is a no brainer.

Rating: 5 Stars