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                                                               Big “E” Productions

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     Frequency – four times a year                                Issue #162                           December, 2017


May all of you have a great Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Remember, our DVDs make great Christmas gifts for the railfan in your family.  This begins our 26th year of producing train videos.  As long as both I and my wife are in good health I intend to continue.  I am just having too much fun but it is not getting easier.  We do plan to reduce the number of programs per year to between five and seven.  We have sixteen grandkids to follow and the next generation is just beginning.  New this month are the two final programs from our Texas trip on UP’s busy Sunset Route just west of San Antonio and a program that covers three of BNSF’s lines into South Texas.  These are our 33rd and 34th programs to be released in both Blu-ray and in regular DVD.  You need to specify what type of DVD you are ordering with programs available in both DVD and Blu-ray.  All of our DVD’s have chapters and menus and the 139 newest ones – everything videotaped from 2004 on plus a few programs from 2003 - have a choice of being watched with narration and without narration by using the menu or audio and language buttons on your DVD player controller.  306 programs are available in DVD (34 in Blu-ray) and all are listed in the flyers.  No other train video producer shows and explains railroading like we do and our catalogue includes programs on fallen flags ATSF, SP, Wisconsin Central, and Conrail.  Our shipping and handling charge on repeat orders remains $5.00 with no charge on orders over $100.  We offer year-round discounts on large orders.  See flyers for details.  These discounts are available only by mail and phone.  If you have questions and get our answering machine, please leave your name and number and we will call you back as soon as possible.  We are also on the internet at


Our new Texas programs are “Union Pacific’s Del Rio Subdivision” and “BNSF South Texas Mains”.  The Sunset Route between Los Angeles and New Orleans was the Southern Pacific’s most important route out of California, and recently this line has been the recipient of considerable investment by its current owner, Union Pacific.  This program shows all the trains for over twenty-four hours on the storied Sunset Route in West Texas between Uvalde and Hondo on UP’s Del Rio Subdivision in May of 2017.  Uvalde is ninety-two miles west of San Antonio and forty miles east of Spofford where UP’s Eagle Pass subdivision that connects with Mexican railroad Ferromex diverges from the main.  Thus we were able to catch not only the trains headed to and from El Paso but also the UP and BNSF trains bound for Ferromex at Eagle Pass.  BNSF has overhead rights on UP between several connections east of San Antonio and Eagle Pass.  And today there are more trains to and from Ferromex at Eagle Pass than there are between Spofford and El Paso, with many of these trains powered by UP’s newest locomotives.  In some months more rail cars cross the border at Eagle Pass than at Laredo although Laredo still has more rail traffic into the city due much intermodal being trucked across the border.  “Union Pacific’s Del Rio Subdivision” is 81 minutes in length.  Both the Blu-ray and DVD versions sell for $32.95 plus $5.00 for shipping and handling.  “BNSF South Texas Mains” shows at least twenty-four hours of action on all three of BNSF’s main lines into south Texas – the former Burlington-Rock Island now known as BNSF’s Houston Subdivision, videotaped south of Teague, the former Santa Fe Fort Worth to Texas main, videotaped north of Temple, and the former Santa Fe Temple to Clovis line, seen northwest of Temple.  This gives a comprehensive look at all of BNSF’s traffic lanes into and out of south Texas.  BNSF has partial directional running on these lines.  A surfeit of southbounds take the former Burlington-Rock Island line or Houston sub between Fort Worth and Houston, especially manifest trains returning empties to the Texas Gulf Coast chemical plants, while more northbound manifests than southbound ones run via Temple and the Fort Worth sub to Fort Worth and beyond.  Some Powder River Basin bound empty coal trains take the Lampasas sub to Lubbock and then north to Amarillo where they join the normal coal route to the Powder River Basin while loads take the other two lines directly to power plants located on or near them.  The same is true for grain trains with more southbound loaded ones taking the Houston sub than empties.  “BNSF South Texas Mains” is a two disk set and is two hours and 36 minutes long.  Both the Blu-ray and DVD versions sell for $40.95 plus $5.00 for S&H.


New three months ago was “Union Pacific’s Texas Chemical Coast Mains” and “CSX’s S&NA North Subdivision”.  Refineries and chemical plants along the Texas Gulf Coast stretching from Orange, Texas on the Louisiana border to Kingsville, just below Corpus Christi produce over two-thirds of the country’s petrochemical output.  The railroad heart of Texas’s Chemical Coast is the two rail lines that run between Houston and Beaumont, a distance of eighty five miles.  This program shows over 24 hours of action on both of those lines in late April and early May of 2017 – first the former Missouri Pacific line, now UP’s Beaumont Subdivision, and then the former Southern Pacific line, now UP’s Houston sub, west of Dayton.  Kansas City Southern and BNSF trains have overhead rights on these lines stemming from conditions in the UP-SP merger.  Train movements on the Beaumont sub are nearly always eastbound including Amtrak’s Sunset Limited.  While movements on UP’s Houston sub are predominately westbound, the directionality is complicated by trains running both ways from Englewood and Settgast Yards to Dayton where both BNSF and UP have yards.  These trains are on this video.  “Union Pacific’s Texas Chemical Coast Mains” is a two disk set and is two hours and thirty-nine minutes in length.  Both the Blu-ray and DVD versions sell for $40.95 plus $5.00 for S&H.  “CSX’s S&NA North Subdivision” shows over 24 hours of action on the former Louisville and Nashville, now CSX, S&NA North Subdivision which runs from Nashville, Tennessee to Birmingham Alabama, a distance of 205 miles.  Trains were videotaped south of Nashville between Cornersville and Dellrose in hilly south-central Tennessee.  This is CSX’s busiest north-south traffic lane.  At the time that these trains were videotaped in late April of 2017 CSX was a couple of months into the Hunter Harrison era where dramatic changes in train operations were taking place with many hump classification yards and intermodal terminals being closed and trains combined into 10,000 foot monsters.  “CSX’s S&NA North Subdivision” is 61 minutes in length.  Both the Blu-ray and DVD versions sell for $30.95 plus $5.00 for S&H.


New six months ago was “The Transcon in Illinois” and “BNSF’s Twin Cities to Fargo Mains”.  If you want to see the greatest show in freight railroading in this country, head to the former Santa Fe, now BNSF, main line between Chicago and Los Angeles known as the Transcon.  West of Galesburg in central Illinois where we videotaped, the line once known as “the Airline” is nearly straight as an arrow as it crosses the Galesburg Plain and heads down an undulating grade into the Mississippi River Valley.  Trains then thunder along the Mississippi River for twelve miles to Niota where the great bridge over the Mississippi to Fort Madison is located.  This video shows over 24 hours use this line also, a condition of the Burlington Northern – Santa Fe merger.  “The Transcon in Illinois” is a two disk set and is two hours and forty minutes in length.   Both the Blu-ray and DVD versions sell for $40.95 plus $5.00 for shipping and handling.  “BNSF’s Twin Cities to Fargo Mains” takes a look at the two BNSF main lines between the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the adjacent cities of Moorhead, Minnesota and Fargo, North Dakota in September of 2016.  First, we will show trains on BNSF’s former Northern Pacific Staples Sub around New York Mills and Perham, Minnesota.  Perham in 65 miles east of Dilworth and 175 miles west of Northtown, BNSF’s primary classification yard in the Twin Cities.  Then we will cover the trains on the former Great Northern Twin Cities to Fargo main between the outskirts of Breckenridge, Minnesota and Benson.  Breckenridge is forty-eight miles railroad east of Fargo.  These two lines handle all of BNSF’s Northern Transcon traffic between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest and are part of BNSF’s northern coal corridor and are also the eastern outlet for crude oil from the Bakken Shale oil field in North Dakota.  “BNSF’s Twin Cities to Fargo of action on the one-time Santa Fe Illinois Division between Ormonde, thirteen miles west of Galesburg, and Fort Madison in October of 2016.  And some Union Pacific trains between Chicago and the Southwest or Southern California Mains” is a two disk set and is two hours and ten minutes in length.   Both the Blu-ray and DVD versions sell for $36.95 plus $5.00 for S&H.


New nine months ago was our epic video on the Alaska Railroad.  The Alaska Railroad bills itself as “the last full-service railroad in North America”.  27 percent of its revenues are from passengers.  Its passenger car fleet is easily the most eclectic in the country.  Its freight operations are unique also.  This program shows the trains and traffic including all scheduled passenger and freight trains on the Alaska Railroad between the ports of Seward and Whittier and Fairbanks in late August and September of 2016.  “The Alaska Railroad” is 79 minutes in length and both the Blu-ray and DVD versions are $32.95 plus $5.00 for S&H.


Other recent releases that can be watched with and without narration and are available in both Blu-ray and DVD include “BNSF at Perry, Oklahoma”, “Norfolk Southern’s former D&H – a Phoenix Rising”, “UP’s Historic Council Bluffs to Gibbon Main”, “Union Pacific’s Marysville Subdivision”, “CN and CP Montreal to Toronto Mains”, “CN around Nakina in Northern Ontario”, “Canadian National’s Western Manitoba Mains“, Canadian Pacific’s Western Manitoba Mains”, and “CSX’s ex-New York Central Rochester Sub”“BNSF at Perry, Oklahoma” shows over 24 hours of action in April of 2016 at Perry, Oklahoma, where two important BNSF main lines run side by side through town – the north-south former Santa Fe, Kansas City to Fort Worth and Galveston line and the east-west former Frisco and later Burlington Northern Tulsa to Avard line.  “Norfolk Southern’s former D&H – a Phoenix Rising”, shows over 24 hours of action on the former 2nd subdivision of the Delaware and Hudson, now Norfolk Southern, between Delanson, New York where the now truncated Albany main joins the main line and Belden tunnel, 16 miles from Binghamton, in July of 2016.  “UP’s Historic Council Bluffs to Gibbon Main” shows over twenty-four hours of action on UP’s Columbus and Kearney Subdivisions on both sides of Grand Island in April of 2016.  This is one of the busiest and best known rail lines in this country.  “Union Pacific’s Marysville Subdivision” shows over twenty-four hours of fast paced action on UP’s still busy Marysville Subdivision both sides of Fairbury, Nebraska in April of 2016.  These last two programs together show the traffic on UP’s Triple Track Main west of Gibbon and the comparison of today’s trains to that in our last visit there in 2010 is quite interesting.  “CN and CP Montreal to Toronto Mains” shows at least twenty-four hours of action on the two busiest rail lines for freight and Via Rail passenger trains in eastern Canada - the Canadian National and Via Corridor between Montreal and Toronto and Canadian Pacific’s Belleville Subdivision, part of their Montreal to Toronto main line, in October of 2015.  “CN around Nakina in Northern Ontario” shows over 24 hours of action on the CN transcontinental main line at the end of the highway system around Nakina in northern Ontario, part of CN’s Caramat Subdivision that runs across the Canadian Shield in Northern Ontario.  “Canadian National’s Western Manitoba Mains” shows the trains and operations in October of 2015 on both of Canadian National’s main lines in western Manitoba – the transcontinental main line through Rivers and around Dauphin on CN’s secondary main line known as their Prairie North Line that diverges from the main line at Portage La Prairie, just west of Winnipeg, including some of the longest trains on this continent.  “Canadian Pacific’s Western Manitoba Mains” shows the trains and operations on both of Canadian Pacific’s main lines in western Manitoba – the transcontinental main line west of Brandon and west of Minnedosa on their North Line that diverges from the main at Portage La Prairie, just west of Winnipeg in October of 2015.  “CSX’s ex-New York Central Rochester Sub” shows over 24 hours of fast paced action in July of 2015 on the former New York Central, nee Penn Central and Conrail water level route west of Rochester, New York between the junction with the former West Shore Railroad bypass around Rochester at Chili and South Byron, just east of Batavia on Bergen Hill, part of CSX’s Rochester Subdivision that extends from Rochester to Buffalo.


Our next releases in late February will be programs on the NS and CSX main lines in the Carolinas.

                                                   Dick and Barb Eisfeller