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Big "E" Newsletter

                                                                   Big “E” Productions

P.O. BOX 75


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Frequency – four times a year                            Issue #164                                           June, 2018


Our Big Summer Sale is now on – Buy 3, get 1 free.  Ends 8/31/18.

The big news this month is that our summer sale is on.  Buy 3 DVD’s and get 1 free.  Two or three DVD sets count as one.  There is no restriction on the cost of the free DVD, so this can be quite a deal.  The most expensive DVD is free!  Order as many times or as many programs as you would like.  This 4 for 3 sale ends 8/31/18.  Other discount offers cannot be used with this sale.  This is your best opportunity to replace your favorite VHS tapes with DVD’s or buy early Christmas presents!  We now have 309 programs available in DVD.  This is the only newsletter that will announce this sale!

This newsletter is several weeks late.  I was gone the whole month of May videotaping trains in the Pacific Northwest and western Canada, visiting grandkids in Illinois, and riding the Rocky Mountaineer with my wife from Banff to Vancouver.  If you can afford this ride it is one of the most incredible train rides in the world.  And the aptly named Mountain sub which is part of the trip is the most difficult crew district for freight trains to operate on this continent in my opinion.  I was also behind due to spending two weeks in Illinois watching the Stockton, Illinois girls basketball team win the regional and sectional tournaments.  They went on to finish second out of nearly 280 schools in their class in the state tournament – the furthest the Stockton girls had ever gone.  One of our sixteen grandkids was on that team.  I wouldn’t have missed that for anything.  New this month is “The Trains of Northern New England 2018” – our first visit to this part of the country since 2009.  These is our 37th 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 nearly 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.  309 programs are available in DVD (37 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


“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.  It shows what has become of the Maine Central and Boston and Maine railroads that once were the bastions of railroading in northern New England and also what became of the Bangor and Aroostook, Central Vermont, Rutland, and Canadian National and Canadian Pacific lines in northern New England.  It is a sequel to our highly acclaimed programs showing the trains of northern New England in 1997, 2000, 2004 and 2009.  This program also shows how the railroads of northern New England are coping with the decline in the paper industry in the past decade.  And Pan Am still has an eclectic mix of power including a group of “new” units – twenty-seven to twenty-nine-year-old GEs which are replacing even older EMDs.  “The Trains of Northern New England 2018” is two hours and 4 minutes in length.  Both the Blu-ray and DVD versions sell for $34.95 plus $5.00 for S&H.


New three months ago was “NS former Southern Railway North Carolina Main” and “CSX I-95 Corridor in the Carolinas”“NS former Southern Railway North Carolina Main” shows over twenty-four hours of action in August of 2017 on one of the more historic main lines in the southeastern United States – the former Southern Railway, now Norfolk Southern, Washington to Atlanta main line just south of the Virginia border.  Although today almost all of the traffic on this line runs via Hagerstown, Maryland, not through Washington, D. C., Norfolk Southern’s Piedmont Division Main today sees more tonnage than ever before in its storied history thanks to the acquisition of part of Conrail including ownership of the Hagerstown to Harrisburg Line.  This acquisition has greatly increased traffic on this line since our last look in 1998.  As you will see, the Piedmont region of North Carolina is far from level, and there are few straight sections of track in this rolling country between the coastal plain and the Blue Ridge that was once home to many textile, furniture and tobacco related businesses, few of which remain.  This line carries all of NS’s traffic between the Northeast and the Southeast.  “NS former Southern Railway North Carolina Main” is 68 minutes in length.  Both the Blu-ray and DVD versions sell for $30.95 plus $5.00 for S&H.  The former Atlantic Coast Line main from Richmond, Virginia, to Jacksonville, Florida, has always been the busiest and fastest route for both passenger and freight trains between the Northeast and Florida.  Nicknamed “The Speedway” in ACL days for its one-time one hundred mile-an-hour limit for passenger trains, and later the “A” Line for its ACL heritage, this once double tracked line is CSX’s and Amtrak’s main line from the Northeast to Florida and is best known today as the I-95 Corridor for the interstate highway that it parallels.  This program first shows over twenty-four hours of action in August of 2017 around Ridgeland, South Carolina, thirty-two miles north of Savannah Georgia and then daytime action at Pembroke, North Carolina where CSX’s I-95 Corridor crosses their line from Hamlet to Wilmington.  And all of this action takes place five months after the late Hunter Harrison took over CSX and drastically changed the railroad’s operations, closing eight of twelve hump classification yards including Hamlet and running fewer but longer trains.  Unfortunately, four months after our visit to CSX’s I-95 Corridor, Hunter Harrison suddenly died.  Two of his protégé’s are now running the railroad.  “CSX I-95 Corridor Carolina Mains” is 61 minutes in length.  Both the Blu-ray and DVD versions sell for $30.95 plus $5.00 for S&H.


Released six months ago was “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 24 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.  “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 nine 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 85 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.  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.  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.  “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.


Other recent releases that can be watched with and without narration and are available in both Blu-ray and DVD include “The Transcon in Illinois”, “BNSF’s Twin Cities to Fargo Mains”, “The Alaska Railroad”, “BNSF at Perry, Oklahoma”, “Norfolk Southern’s former D&H – a Phoenix Rising”, “UP’s Historic Council Bluffs to Gibbon Main”, and “Union Pacific’s Marysville Subdivision.  “The Transcon in Illinois” shows over 24 hours of action on the one-time Santa Fe Illinois Division between Ormonde, 13 miles west of Galesburg, and Fort Madison in October of 2016 and includes Union Pacific overhead rights trains also.  “BNSF’s Twin Cities to Fargo Mains” takes a 24 hour 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.  “The Alaska Railroad” 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.   “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 Dakota.  “BNSF’s 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.


Our next release in late August should be two programs from our trip to the Pacific Northwest.

                                                   Dick and Barb Eisfeller