Big "E" Newsletter
Big “E” Productions
P.O. BOX 75
GREENLAND, NH 03840
Our DVDs show the whole train!
Our web page is at www.trainvideos.com, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
800-832-1228 or 603-430-3055 Visa, MasterCard, AMEX or Discover Card Orders Accepted.
Frequency – irregular Issue #175 December, 2021
May all of you have a great Christmas and a better New Year.
Remember, our DVDs make great Christmas gifts for the railfan in your family. This Newsletter begins our 30th year of producing train videos. As long as both my wife and I are in good health we intend to continue selling old videos and hope to do a few programs a year. We will not be attending the Big Train Show in West Springfield, Massachusetts in January of 2022.
No new programs this month. I had hoped to show the results of precision scheduled railroading or PSR on railroads in the West by doing some videotaping this fall but I am now undergoing physical therapy for a “bum” shoulder – a torn or pinched rotator cuff. I will travel to Illinois in January to see two granddaughters play basketball, one playing College ball, and might do some videotaping then in the South. Three mile long trains and 40,000 ton unit trains are now common all across the country and it is becoming increasingly obvious that on some railroads the P and S are oxymorons. As a retired scientist please get vaccinated if you haven’t done so. Eleven of our 6 “kids”, 16 grandkids and significant others have gotten the virus but no one has ended up in the hospital. We hope that all of you are safe and haven’t lost any family member or friend to the virus and don’t have any “long haulers” in the family. Our next newsletter will likely be around June of 2022. If we do get out to videotape by then it should contain a new release.
No other train video producer shows and explains railroading like we do and our catalogue includes programs on fallen flags ATSF, SP, BN, CNW, IC, Wisconsin Central, and Conrail. Our newest program is “PSR on CSX’s Chicago Line in Northern Indiana”, part of our look at PSR on eastern railroads. This is our 49th program 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 around half – 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. 321 programs are available in DVD (49 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, BN, SP, CNW. IC, Wisconsin Central, and Conrail. Our shipping and handling charge on 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. You can reach us by email at email@example.com or on our webpage at www.trainvideos.com.
Our newest video is “PSR on CSX’s Chicago Line in Northern Indiana”. In June of 1999 the face of railroading in the East changed overnight. It has now been over twenty years since CSX and Norfolk Southern split up Conrail and began operating their respective shares. And after Hunter Harrison’s arrival at CSX in early 2017 with his precision scheduled railroading or PSR, railroad operations on CSX have undergone the most significant change since the Conrail split. Trains have grown much longer, distributed power is now common on all of CSX’s main lines, seven of CSX’s twelve hump classification yards have had their humps closed, and the track has been removed in some of these yards. One can even see three mile long, two hundred and fifty car trains at many places throughout the CSX system. And, as the viewer will see, the train count is down considerably since before Harrison’s arrival. This program shows the changes in operations on CSX’s busiest main line - the Chicago Line – on their Garrett Subdivision in northern Indiana in October of 2019. There have many changes since our last look at this busy line across northern Indiana in 2010. And Canadian Pacific still runs a pair of Montreal or Toronto to Chicago intermodal trains across northern Indiana on CSX’s Garrett Sub. “PSR on CSX’s Chicago Line in Northern Indiana” is 1 hour and 34 minutes in length. Both the Blu-ray and DVD versions sell for $34.95 plus $5.00 for S&H.
Another recent release is “PSR on NS’s Premier Corridor in Northern Indiana”. Several years ago Norfolk Southern began referring to its line to Chicago from northern New Jersey, Philadelphia and Baltimore as the Premier Corridor – the busiest line for freight traffic in the eastern half of the United States and the most important freight corridor on the entire NS system. And this includes their former New York Central Chicago Line from Cleveland to Chicago. This video shows the trains and operations on NS’s Chicago Line in northern Indiana, east of Elkhart, for over thirty-six hours in October of 2019. Norfolk Southern recently implemented their version of precision scheduled railroading called their Top-21 plan system-wide on their manifest trains. And the changes on this line due to PSR are significant - the biggest operational changes since the breakup of Conrail. PSR on NS’s Premier Corridor has resulted in fewer but longer trains and the first regular use of distributed power in over thirty-five years on this line. In June of 1999 the face of railroading in the East changed overnight. It has now been over twenty years since CSX and Norfolk Southern split up Conrail and began operating their respective shares. NS has greatly increased their share of intermodal traffic between the East Coast and Chicago versus CSX. This program shows the changes on NS’s Premier Corridor since our last look at NS’s Chicago line east of Toledo in 2014. And, in addition to Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited, Canadian Pacific’s trains between Chicago and Detroit also utilize this busy and at times congested line between Butler and Chicago. “PSR on NS’s Premier Corridor in Northern Indiana” is a two DVD set and is 3 hours and 15 minutes in length. Both the Blu-ray and DVD versions sell for $44.95 plus $5.00 for S&H.
Other releases that are part of our series on PSR in the East are “CSX Indianapolis Line Subdivision, a.k.a the Bee Line”, “Norfolk Southern’s former Wabash Lafayette District” and “Norfolk Southern at Bellevue, Ohio”. The new CSX video shows over 24 hours of action on CSX’s former Conrail and New York Central line between Cleveland and Indianapolis around Union City on the Ohio – Indiana border in October of 2019. This line carries all of CSX’s traffic from the East Coast and upper Midwest to Indianapolis and East St. Louis. Recently, most automotive traffic from the East for Louisville was re-routed via Indianapolis and the Louisville and Indiana Railroad to Louisville, instead of taking the congested “Short Line” from Cincinnati to Louisville. Beginning in early 2017 when Hunter Harrison arrived at CSX, there have been dramatic changes in operations as many hump classification yards were closed and trains combined or discontinued. The result has been fewer but longer trains that will be on display in this video. This line is known today as the Bee Line, as in honeybee, ostensibly because it runs in a relatively straight line between Cleveland and Indianapolis. But the original nickname was only the letter B, referring to the Indianapolis and Bellefontaine and Bellefontaine and Indiana railroads who met at what would become Union City in 1853. “CSX Indianapolis Line Subdivision, a.k.a the Bee Line” is one hour and 21 minutes in length. Both the Blu-ray and DVD versions sell for $32.95 plus $5.00 for S&H. Another recent program is “Norfolk Southern’s former Wabash Lafayette District”. NS recently implemented precision scheduled railroading system-wide on their manifest trains. This video shows the trains and operations on NS’s Lafayette District west of Lafayette, Indiana for over 24 hours in October of 2019. PSR on this Detroit and Fort Wayne to Decatur, Illinois traffic lane has resulted in fewer but longer trains and the first use of distributed power in nearly fifty years on this line. Where we videotaped, this superbly engineered, high-speed former Wabash line constructed over one 160 years ago follows the Wabash River mostly near the top of the valley and then crosses the Wabash at Attica, Indiana where we spent the night. Trains from Detroit, Fort Wayne, Bellevue, southwest of Cleveland, the Southeast via Muncie and Frankfort, Indiana, and the East Coast take this line to Decatur and to the major rail centers and connections at St. Louis, and Kansas City. This line hosts an eclectic mix of manifest, intermodal, auto and unit trains along with the last remaining RoadRailers. Although there are fewer auto parts through here than there was before the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, this line still sees nearly solid trains of auto parts cars and continues to deserve the moniker – automotive artery. “Norfolk Southern’s former Wabash Lafayette District” is 1 hour and 27 minutes in length. Both the Blu-ray and DVD versions sell for $34.95 plus $5.00 for S&H. Railroad Town U. S. A. There used to be many small cities and towns spread throughout the Midwest with that nickname. Today, with fewer manifest cars to be classified, fewer shops with modern diesels, and fewer crew change points with longer crew districts, many former railroad towns are now just pass through places, and some of these former railroad towns have even lost their railroad. Not so with Bellevue in north central Ohio, southwest of Cleveland. With the completion of the near doubling of size of their huge classification yard northeast of town in 2015, now known as Moorman Yard, Norfolk Southern in Bellevue is busier than ever. Five NS lines run into Bellevue plus the Wheeling and Lake Erie and there still is a locomotive shop there in addition to the eighty track classification yard. And there is even a railfan platform west of the yard near downtown Bellevue, thanks to the hard work of the nearby Mad River and NKP Museum and the Kemper family. This program shows twenty-four hours of action at or near the Kemper Rail Park railfan platform on the lines to Fort Wayne, Columbus and Toledo in April of 2019. “Norfolk Southern at Bellevue, Ohio” is a three disk set and is four hours and 32 minutes in length. Both the Blu-ray and DVD versions sell for $50.95 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 “CSX Nashville to Louisville and Evansville Mains”, “CN’s former Illinois Central Chicago Subdivision”, “Canadian Pacific’s Shuswap Subdivision”, “CN’s Edmonton to Jasper Main west of Edson, AB”, “BNSF & UP Tacoma – Portland Joint Line”, “BNSF in the Columbia River Gorge”, “Union Pacific in the Blue Mountains” and “The Trains of Northern New England 2018”. “CSX Nashville to Louisville and Evansville Mains” shows 24 hours of action in April of 2019 on CSX’s Nashville to Louisville and then twenty-four hours on their Nashville to Evansville main lines just south of the cities of Portland and Springfield, Tennessee, forty-two and thirty miles north of Nashville respectively. “CN’s former Illinois Central Chicago Subdivision” shows over 24 hours of action in October of 2018 on the Canadian National’s historic, former Illinois Central main line south of Chicago. “Canadian Pacific’s Shuswap Subdivision” shows over twenty-four hours of action between Revelstoke and Notch Hill, BC in May of 2018. This includes the spectacular passage through Eagle Pass just west of Revelstoke and the long climb for heavy westbound unit trains up Notch Hill on the new, low grade line which includes a spectacular horseshoe curve. “CN’s Edmonton to Jasper Main west of Edson, AB” shows the trains and operations on Canadian National’s transcontinental main line west of Edmonton, Alberta on their Edson Subdivision between Edson and Hinton. The tonnage on this line has grown more than fifty percent in the last decade. “BNSF & UP Tacoma – Portland Joint Line” shows over 24 hours of action on the BNSF and UP Tacoma to Portland Joint Line between Napavine and Kelso, WA in May of 2018. The number of unit coal, grain, and crude oil trains on this line seems to increase each year. “BNSF in the Columbia River Gorge” shows over 24 hours of BNSF and Amtrak action in the scenic heart of the Columbia River Gorge, both sides of Bingen, WA on BNSF’s Fallbridge Subdivision in May of 2018. “Union Pacific in the Blue Mountains” shows over 24 hours of ear-splitting action on the two percent grades of UP’s La Grande subdivision in the Blue Mountains of northeast Oregon in May of 2018. “The Trains of Northern New England 2018” covers the trains and operations on all of the regional railroads - New England Central, Central Maine and Quebec, the Saint Lawrence and Atlantic, Vermont Rail System and the largest, Pan Am Railways, in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine in the spring of 2018.
When we are able to videotape in 2022, the focus will be on changes on the western roads due to PSR.
Dick and Barb Eisfeller