Florida Railroad trains video on DVD late 1980's
This is a home made DVD with 7 scenes from 1987-88. The videos where originally shot on VHS tape using a Panasonic PK-751 camera and it's companion recorder. This was a two unit rig with the camera and the recorder as separate unites connected by a large cable. These huge machines were among the first video cameras designed for home use. The camera had a "vidicon" tube notorious for streaking in low light situations. The video-audio material was edited and transferred to a DVD+R and is not the professional movie type DVD with copyguard and a thick layer of protective plastic like you would find commercial movies on so you will be able to make a back up. It does play well on all the different DVD machines I have tried it on and we have had no problems with the one's sold so far. The camera was not mounted on a tripod and there is some camera shake from the amateur photographer. Because of the vidicon tube there is some color distortion especially in low light situations. On the positive side these video's are really vintage if you consider 20 years ago to be old. While there were a lot of still & slide, 16mm and 8mm scenes shot during this period, the small high quality video cameras of today were not yet available. There is no narration but each scene has a title indicating location and date. There is also no annoying music, the sound is all natural, including bells & whistles, revving engines and two way radio chatter. The audio is mono but very clear. This is our second DVD, with "RAIL VIDEO DVD, SEABOARD COAST LINE, FLORIDA 1982" being the first.
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Jacksonville January 4, 1987
Cloudy, misty and very cold weather for this segment. To set the scene, about 20 seconds of an SW style switcher shot from the car. Then it's on to some freight action with a lashup of three units in family lines gray. Numbers (I believe) 5866, 5807, 5840 pull a mixed train of mostly truck trailers on what I believe is the line from Folkston into Moncrief yard. The bay window caboose on the end is in family line colors and is I think numbered SBD016823. Sorry I can't tell the model number of these diesels for you. Next up a glancing shot of engines 5893 and 5884 in Seaboard family lines gray with yellow and orange trim. This short piece fades into another short one of SW type switcher 1239 on the move engine light south end of Moncrief yard. This short scene dissolves into NS engine's 7047 & 7000 and a third unidentified engine running long hood forward, blowing for a crossing and the 7047 still in ex Southern paint. Next we visit the Jacksonville Amtrak station where aluminum looking racks are being pushed about near a mail car on a train pointed southward. In very low light. we pan north and view the trains consist as well as stationary Amtrak car 6599. We watch as the southbound pulls out with a mix of heritage and newer equipment. As the guys on the platform continue to struggle with the metal racks mentioned earlier, SW type switcher number 1212 approaches from the south. Nice close-up of this beauty in family line colors with windshield wipers working and easily pulling a long cut of truck trailer cars. Run time 9:53
Baldwin, Florida January 4, 1987
Cloudy, misty and very cold weather continues. We are at the diamonds of the ex SAL from from Callahan to Wildwood crossing the ex SAL line from Jacksonville to Tallahassee. Just to the south is Baldwin yard. Approaching from the north with family lines gray with yellow and orange trim, is engine # 1922 in the lead followed by #4707. We get a partial glance of the tower located on the southwest quadrant of the diamond. The cameraman has no idea that by 2007 all traces of this tower would be gone. The telephoto shot shows the signals and lead tracks into Baldwin yard under the interstate overpass. Another shot of the tower along with the "Baldwin generator house". All these structures are gone now. Not the most exciting scene from the program and there is little light to work with but it's a train on a track in Florida in 1988. Run time 4:25
Tampa January 11, 1987
On a very windy cold day our scene opens with a couple large buildings on premises. First engine seen is SW type CXT # 1171 pushing some hopper cars. The camera zooms out to reveal an assortment of engines, a road slug and some in the older black with yellow trim and others in family lines gray with yellow and orange trim. A lash up of 8 units passes in front of the camera, we miss the first two, including the slug but pick out the numbers 1968, 1984, 388, 1908, 1980 and 1987on the other six. Engine 5755 may have been in the lead of this group, but is quickly blocked from view by a hopper car being pushed by # 1171. A crew member gives a forward wave to engine 1908 which passes # 388 on another track as these engines are sorted out on different tracks. SW type engine 1171 re-appears and pulls by. Next we get a close up of the cab as he's pushing. # 1987 and 1980 are seen moving in the opposite direction as a crew member lines a switch for a move in the forward direction, 1980 couples with 388 as 1171 passes in front of those engines with two crew members riding the cars. Next scene involves the uncoupling and kicking of cars, most of the sound for this segment is from the string northwest winds. Engines 1987, 1980, 388 & 1984 all pass in review wearing SCL black paint with yellow and white trim. Engine 1171 does a farewell run by in front of road slug #5203 to end this segment with a run time of 7 minutes 38 seconds.
Orlando February 12, 1987 Vanna White & Pat Sajak on the Wheel Of Fortune Limited
Our scene opens with people waving signs and wearing paper hats, it's not a protest but a rather large welcoming committee for Pat Sajak and Vanna white. This whistle stop tour of the eastern US promoted by NBC and the local affiliate WESH has drawn a large crowd. We hear the short toots of the train whistle and a single Amtrak P unit number 313 pulling two cars, one that looks like coach followed by a special car with a rear platform. As the train stops a camera crew is on the platform taking pictures of the crowd. We hear canned wheel of fortune music and Pat Sajak is introduced as CSX engine 1956 still in SCL back and white paint pulls in on another track from the north. We get a close up of the engine and the crew viewing the festivities later. Because of the crowd with their signs and bobbing heads wearing the paper Amtrak hats and blocking the view of the camera, extensive editing was done so we could get the best shots of Pat and Vanna. This does compromise the continuity of the audio some what and we miss Pat's introduction of old what's her name (Vanna) by Pat. By the camera man holding the camera with both hands over his head we are treated to a few choice views of the hosts. One of the city commissioners presents the celebrities with the key to Orlando. Two long toots from the engine, the camera crews join the game show hosts on the platform and the train departs. Run time 5:05.
Auto train leaves Sanford New Year's Eve 1987
Shot on a cloudy day our scene opens with an idling AutoTrain about to leave Stanford. The camera's location is just south of the state road 46 overpass and looking south. We see the switchman in place ready to line the switch from the Sanford AutoTrain facility to the high iron. The train, led by three smoking P style engines, is on a curved piece of track giving us a nice overall view of the train. We get a close-up shot of the trainmen and his walkie talkie acknowledging the conductor's permission from the dispatcher to open up the switch. Lead engine Amtrak 717 passes with a friendly wave and a bottle of water for the switchman. The train passes by with an assortment of equipment including new Amtrak cars, domes, vintage heritage rolling stock and auto racks. As the last of the autoracks winds it way to the mainline, we hear a conversation with the crew of AutoTrain 52 and a southbound freight train. The freight train warns the crew, be careful to night, they are throwing rocks and there is glass all over the cab. Our switchman, with a shot of him lining and locking the switch, radio's train No. 52 that he is on the high iron. The camera pans north and we see the headlights of the southbound freight with CSXT engine 5909 in the lead. At this point the damage to the windshield is apparent. As the train rounds the curve we catch a glimpse of the engines pulling through some empty flatcars. Brakes are applied, the train stops, and we see the caboose on the end. As the train starts moving again we get a nice view of family lines caboose number 11073, with it's SCL/L&N logo. As the train rounds the corner, we hear the fading radio's and whistles in the distance. This may have been train number 179
Jacksonville March 24, 1988
Nice, clear spring day as CSX # 5828 and two trailing units in Seaboard System paint, rounds the bend on what I think is the ACL line south from Orlando and Tampa into Moncrief yard. This is a really long train of mostly loaded TrailerTrain cars and through some of the empties we get a view of the Jacksonville skyline. We use a few dissolves here since there is not much variety of cars in this long train. As the TrailerTrain clears we see CSXT engine # 5784 head south on another track running long hood forward. The next scene shows two crews members riding the end of an open hopper car being pushed over the diamonds of what I think is the ACL line to Tampa. The camera pans to the small yard with some other hoppers where this train is headed. CSXT engine # 5784 is doing the pushing and we run out of tape just as the engine approaches the diamond. Run time just short of 5 minutes.
Auburndale, Amtrak passengers trains from Tampa and Miami combine 12/3/1988
Are we saving the best for last or are the scenes sorted in order by date? A beautiful sunny day with plenty of light for the camera. Not sure if the Miami sub divisions tracks (the old SAL) from Auburndale to Coleman had been severed by this date but we are treated to CSX engine 6374 still in family line colors approach the diamond over the old ACL running light. Nice sounding horn echoes off the nearby buildings. In the next scene we see the Amtrak train from Miami with engine 369 approach the area and a crew member from the engines aligns the switch. The train passes in front of the camera. Unfortunately this scene is back lighted and while panning the train an obnoxious stop sign gets in the way. We soon recover, get a better shot, and watch the train come to a stop under the highway bridge. It's apparent this was a crew change point from the number of personnel emerging from the engines with luggage as seen in the next shot. We get a couple of close shots of Amtrak engine 369 while the train is stopped. Next the camera is looking south down the ACL line from Orlando towards Tampa and we see men wearing white outfits. As I recall these are disposable outfits to protect them from the grease and grime. The train from Tampa approaches and stops and the men in white go to work uncoupling the engine and a baggage car. This engine stops just short of the track with the train from Miami and turns out it's headlight. Amtrak 395 becomes a bee hive of activity with crew members disembarking and the men in white checking couplers. This would make a good operation life saver video when you see how small these men look in front of this huge engine. Engine 369 from Miami moves forward, stops and has it's train uncoupled. We are treated here to a close up view of the men in white tugging at the cables. Engine 369, now light moves forward and clears the switch to the track from Tampa. Now engine 369 backs up and is connected to 395 from Tampa. The actual join of the engines is not see since there is a baggage car in the way, nice shot of the engineer in the cab though. With combined engines and a baggage car coupled, the train moved forward over the switch and back down the line to the Miami connection to be joined with the train from Miami. The trains are joined with feathers touch by these professionals using hand signals. Our men in white again connect all the necessary cables. With a "lets go" the train pulls forward, nice view here of the entire consist from Miami. After the trains clears the switch it back down the old ACL to connect to the train from Tampa. Not wanting to interfere with the crew and since the Tampa train is about a quarter mile down the track, we dispense with the final coupling operations. Two short blasts from the horn and we are heading north up the old ALC toward Orlando and Jacksonville, nice views of the engineer and entire consist, a very long train. As the train fades into the distance so doesn't this segment which runs 19 minutes 30 seconds.
Click here for some scenes from RAIL VIDEO DVD, SEABOARD COAST LINE, FLORIDA 1982. Or click a picture for a larger image
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