AL&M NRHS Passenger Special
Here are some video clips from a trip made in 1994 to an AL&M passenger train excursion. The train ride would be a round trip between Crossett, AR and Monroe, LA on Georgia Pacific;s newly acquired Arkansas Louisiana and Mississippi.
First is a quick video clip taken of a five-unit locomotive consist laying over at the KCS Vicksburg Yard on September 30, 1994 - KCS GP40 4759, KCS GP40 4763, KCS GP40 4781, KCS GP40 4760, and MSRC GP10 1043 idle away - Video by C.M.Palmieri.
Next we catch KCS Train No. 30 as it hustles through Mound, LA - KCS GP40-2 4799, KCS GP40 4749, HATX GP38-2 202, and KCS GP38-2 4014 lead 117 cars - Video by Patricia Palmieri - 9-30-1994.
On Saturday October 1, 1994 Russell Tedder and the AL&M railroad hosted a passenger special powered by two spotless green-and-white GP28 locomotives. This was a round trip from Crossett, AR to Monroe, LA and back. Three freight cars were picked up at Bastrop, LA on the return trip making it a mixed train at the end of the day! There were several photo run-bys and cab ride opportunities. Video by Patricia Palmieri and Christopher Palmieri.
On Sunday October 2, 1994 the KCS (Former MidSouth Rail) Freight Yard in Vicksburg, MS was a busy place! There were 19 locomotives on the property with hostlers and yard jobs keeping busy! Video by Patricia Palmieri.
KCS train No. 29 climbs out of Vicksburg, MS - KCS GP40 4755, KCS GP40 4770, KCS GP40-2 4798, KCS GP40 4753, and MSRC GP10 1048 blast out of the tunnel and into the famous Kudzu-lined cut with 137 cars on Sunday, October 2, 1994 - Video by Patricia Palmieri.
The final video of the trip was during a stop on the way home to catch southbound Illinois Central Memphis, TN to Baton Rouge, LA train MEBR as it rolls through McComb, MS with IC SD40-2 6129, IC SD40-2 6148, and 64 cars - 10-02-1994 - Video by Patricia Palmieri.
IC 1021 and IC 1025 Make Their Debut
It has been awhile since I uploaded a model railroad video to YouTube. Recently my new IC SD70s were delivered to Greg McComas' Michigan Interstate (MCIS) for a test run. The locomotives performed very well!
This break-in run was recorded for YouTube upload. I decided to immerse the viewer with the sights and sounds of these models, so I chose a random montage format with multiple runby scenes. The video is linked below:
With regards to detail, paint, prime mover sound, and motor control these locomotives score very high marks! The epic fails are the Athearn standard light bulbs and the extremely poor Tsunami horn files. Both of these locomotives are equipped with Nathan P-5 horns and the decoders were set to the P-5 recording. The sound is nothing like the LokSound P-5 unfortunately.
Despite these flaws the overall effect is outstanding. I plan to add the other two numbers to the fleet in short order.
There are a number of videos on YouTube of the prototypes, mostly in the post-CN time period. A few are linked below to provide some perspective:
Below is the shot used for the YouTube Thumbnail in my video:
Video Digitized - Illinois Central Action at Brookhaven
Nick Huth and I spent this day on the Illinois Central in Mississippi. I think the mission was to photograph the paper mill at Ferguson, which we did.
The day ended with a visit to Brookhaven, MS which is where, once upon a time, the East-West Mississippi Central crossed the IC mainline. We were rewarded with some great IC action.
First up was train JANA switching in the yard with IC SD40A 6013, IC SD40 6052 (Ex GM&O 902), and IC SD40-2 6111. JANA was the Jackson to Natchez turn and is seen on the return leg of its trip back to Jackson. The train kept the same symbol in both directions. Of interest is a large block of modified pulpwood flats on this train.
Next we catch southbound intermodal train I-01 with IC GP40's 3119, 3106, and 3134 in charge. There is a large block of manifest fill traffic ahead of the intermodal traffic. I think it was pretty common for manifest to fillout tonnage capacity on this train.
Finally train JAFE shows up with IC SD40-2s 6144, 6157, and 6121. This is a Jackson, MS to Ferguson, MS manifest train which pulls into the yard to make a pick up en-route. The final scenes of it switching are on the tight curve which connects with the former Mississippi Central.
Vicksburg Video Found
Lately I have been spending my time going through my collection of VHS tapes. Going through them, converting them to a digital format, editing, and publishing them is very time consuming.
While my primary venue for sharing my videos is my YouTube channel, I have begun sharing simpler clips to my father's FaceBook page. For those of you on FaceBook the below button will take you to his page. Send a join request if you are not already on a member of his page!
The below clip was taken on April 3, 1993 in Vicksburg, MS. Since myself, my father, and my brother are visible in some of the edited out footage, I am certain that the videographer is my mother! The sights and sounds of the MidSouth era in Vicksburg are long gone!
The stars of this video are MSRC GP10 1082, MSRC GP9 9002, MSRC GP10 1028, and MSRC GP18 1801 - power for an eastbound freight.
CSX NO&M Sub Part I - Mobile, AL to Pascagoula, MS
I took a week of vacation while my wife and daughter took a girls trip to the East Coast. During this vacation I made a trip with my uncle Joe Scorsone to a storage unit where he had been saving a number of VHS tapes that I took in 1997 and 1998 when I was working for Amtrak as an intern out of New Orleans, LA.
My internship with Amtrak was probably one of the most fun jobs I ever had, though also one of the least paying. I was assigned to work for the Manager of Safety for the Amtrak Gulf Coast Business Group. Among other things I was trained as an Operation Lifesaver Level II presenter and went all over the system presenting to professional drivers, driver's education classes, and other groups.
Target areas would be where we had a high number of "near miss" incidents and actual collisions. To make the presentations relevant to each audience I would make several trips on the head end of trains in the area with a video camera rolling. Edited tapes showing locations recognizable to the audience from this perspective were quite powerful.
The videos were taken with a Panasonic VHS camera bought by my grandfather, Michele Palmieri. My uncle and I purchased all of the VHS tapes used for these projects so all of the tapes remained in our possession.
Unfortunately, I did video one collision with a vehicle during this exercise. It was a fatality involving Train No. 20 and a Mazda MX3 north of Hattiesburg, MS. This incident and a near miss with an LPG tank truck on the return trip shaped my decision not enter train service with Amtrak as a career choice. Train Dispatching is done from a much more stable environment!
There are probably 200 video tapes that we pried from storage. With the passage of time many of the videos have captured things that have significantly changed. Four of the videos were taken from the head-end of Amtrak train No. 1, the Sunset Limited, between Cantonment, FL and New Orleans, LA.
These tapes are valuable to me since passenger service on this route was discontinued due to damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and has not returned to date. I have decided to add to my list of many projects the editing of these videos for publishing to YouTube as Meridian Speedway Productions.
The first cab ride video has been uploaded to YouTube. It is "CSX NO&M Subdivision Part I - Mobile, AL to Pascagoula, MS." This was filmed on the above mentioned Sunset Limited trip on December 21, 1997. Amtrak P40-8 826 was the lead unit. Tragically, the 826 was destroyed in a collision with a truck carrying steel beams at Bourbonnais, Illinois on March 15, 1999. On this date the 826 was the lead unit on train No. 59, the southbound City of New Orleans. 11 passengers were killed in this incident.
On a more positive note it was refreshing to hear the familiar voice of CSX train dispatcher Jerry Lachaussee at the beginning of the video as we are navigating Mobile, AL. I added some notes including Mile Post locations for reference as the video progresses. Below is the link to my first YouTube cab ride video:
Stay tuned for CSX NO&M Part II - Pascagoula, MS to Bay St. Louis, MS. For this leg we will change trains. Our vantage point will be from Amtrak F40PH 270 on the very last run of train No. 23, the Gulf Coast Limited.
I also found the below video on YouTube. It is collection of new clips documenting the tragedy at Bourbonnais.
Please remember when crossing railroad tracks to expect a train at any time and in any direction.
Hattiesburg, MS to Evanston, MS - 1995
I made a trip with Kurt Nastasi on March 11, 1995 to southern Mississippi in search of a DEGX coal train. This trip was one experience that has inspired my ProtoFreelanced Meridian Speedway concept.
During this time the Daniel Electric Generation power plant near Escatawpa, Mississippi was doing a test burn of Powder River, WY coal being delivered via the Burlington Northern to the Illinois Central at Memphis, TN. The Illinois Central handed the trains off to the Mississippi Export Railroad at Evanston, Mississippi for the final leg of the journey.
Our expedition began in Hattiesburg, Mississippi where we saw some action on both the Norfolk Southern and the Illinois Central. We chased Illinois Central train JAMO southward to Evanton. This train was running with three locomotives facing long-hood-forward because the lead unit (the only forward facing unit) derailed at Hattiesburg.
We became aware that the Mississippi Export would be delivering coal train UEVME-11 to the Illinois Central at Evanston tha evening so we set up there. Sure enough, emerging from the south Mississippi woods was an empty coal train powered by three Burlington Northern C30-7s and a Burlington Northern SD40-2!
While BN powered coal trains were common in many parts of the country, this was an oddity in southern Mississippi. The Powder River test-burn was short lived and the utility switched back to its Coloroado source with trains coming into Memphis via a DRGW/SP/UP routing.
We managed to get one more train at Evanston. All IC powered UMOKM-11 with five locomotives wearing the "Death-Star" scheme pulled into Evanston at last light.
Please enjoy this glimpse into the past on the Illinois Central Beaumont District!
KCS, IC, MSRC, SP, Amtrak - Action Around Jackson!
My latest video upload to YouTube is a treasure-trove of footage from a time and location relevant to the Proto-Freelanced railroad this site is devoted to. On August 14, 1996 I made a trip to Jackson, MS with Bill Lang. I do not recall what the motivation was for the trip, however, the footage is excellent and I am pleased to have found this video after so many years!
The video starts of with a meet of two KCS locals on the Meridian Subdivision at Brandon, MS. Both engineers put on quite a show with their horn technique!
Next we see some IC action in Jackson, MS with train MOJA and then the Hazlehurst Turn arriving. The Hazlehurst Turn meets southbound Daniels Electric Generating Plant (DEGX) coal train with three SP AC4400CW's running elephant style. We chase this train southward on the IC Beaumont District for several excellent run-bys in the Mississippi forest.
Back to the KCS, we see train No. 30 arriving at High Oak Yard with six geeps. We observe the crew yard this train with many lumber related cars characteristic of the region.
Next we watch a couple of trains on the IC depart Southward from North Jackson Yard. The crew on the leading IC train realize that they are not next through the Switchtender Shack and the crew plugs the train as a KCS transfer with three MidSouth GP10s trundles past.
The action continues with Amtrak Train No. 58, the Northbound City of New Orleans followed by scenes of several more trains passing by the IC Switchtender Shack.
Enjoy this travel back in time to location and era that was fascinating to me!
New Video Uploaded to YouTube
The latest of my Meridian Speedway Productions videos to be uploaded to YouTube is a 24-minute trip down Memory Lane from 1992. This video was taken on a 3-day road trip from New Orleans, LA to Monroe, LA via Vicksburg, MS to ride an NRHS excursion train on the former Arkansas and Louisiana Missouri Railroad from Monroe, LA to Crossett, AR and back.
The Arkansas and Louisiana Missouri (A&LM) railroad was taken over by Georgia Pacific in September 1991. Georgia Pacific renamed the railroad the Arkansas Louisiana and Mississippi (A&LM). This change occurred prior to the shooting of this video, however, both the NW2 locomotive and the caboose retained their original A&LM markings at the time of the video so they are referred to as A&LM in the video captions.
This video contains footage along the route of my Proto-Freelanced Meridian Speedway and contains some scenes taken in Vicksburg, MS which is going to be the setting of the Model Railroad I will be building soon. I am very excited to have found this footage and now have it available on-line for viewing!
Meridian Speedway Productions Introduction Clip - 8 Seconds
I put some effort into creating a decent introduction to every Meridian Speedway Productions YouTube video post. Using the few features of Adobe Premiere Elements 11 that I have taught myself, I think it packs a punch!
After making the Meridian Speedway Productions introduction. I was disappointed to discover that the .prel files used by Adobe Premier Elements cannot be brought directly into future .prel projects. This means that the saved .mpeg of the intro has to be introduced to future Adobe Premier Elements projects as the .mpeg which, once saved as part of the next project, loses considerable quality. Shame on you Adobe!
This post is intended to serve as a reference for myself to quickly rebuild the intro for future video projects. Perhaps some of you may find it to be of interest a well.
Below is an .mpeg of the basic intro:
The intro contains eight main elements, seven video and one audio, to blend what is basically two frames. The first frame is the image that I used for the Channel Art on my YouTube channel. The second image is the Black-and-White brushed image which I had previously used for the simple introduction on my past YouTube uploads.
The below image shows how the layout for the above intro looks in Adobe Premiere Elements.
For the below reference guide, I will start at the bottom of the above image with the "Audio 1" line and work my way up through "Video 1" through "Video 4".
The Audio for this introduction is from the video I posted in my last New Orleans Trains video upload of Amtrak F40PH 207 on train No. 58 at Central Avenue. This was recorded on August 3, 1991. I believe I will be able to import this adjusted sound file from the above .mpeg without any noticeable loss in sound quality. The audio file will serve as the foundation for rebuilding the introduction with each video. In subequend videos I plan to substitute this file with a sound bite from each respective video.
There is only one audio file which extends for the entire duration of the intro from 00;00 to 08;04.
If needed the audio keys are as follows:
The "Video 1" layer consists of two elements. First is the 2560x1440 full Channel Art .jpg file. The second element is the .jpg black-and-white image I had been using for my video intro.
The Channel Art image begins at 00;00 and ends at 02;02 with no key frame edits. The second image begins at 02;02 and ends at 08;04, also with no key frame edits.
The "Video 2" layer also consists of two elements. First is a T&GN logo .png file. Second is the narrow Channel Art file. Both of these items will be animated across the screen.
The T&GN logo, like the Channel Art image in the Video 1 layer, begins at 00;00 and ends at 02;02. This logo provides animation at the very beginning of the each video, immediately alterting the viewer that the video is playing. The animation is a straight line movement from left to right across the top of the introduction Channel Art image. As the logo moves across the screen it also increases in size, symbolizing an approaching locomotive headlight. This effect fits nicely with a locomotive horn in the accompanying audio track.
There are two key frames for the T&GN logo element:
The Narrow Channel Art file serves to blend the two elements of the Video 1 layer. As those two elements transition, the narrow channel art file maintains the location of the same graphics in the first element and then quickly becomes animated in a "Check-Mark" pattern, getting smaller and more translucent as it moves toward disappearing from the top of the screen. This element extends from 02;02 to 04;06.
There are nine key frames for the Narrow Channel Art image:
"Video 3" contains two elements. Both are text elements. The first one is not animated, the second one is.
The first element in the Video 3 layer is the video classification. This will either read "Prototype Railroad Video" or "Model Railroad Video" and will remain constant from 00;00 to 02;02. Additional categories may be added going forward. In addition the following definitions apply:
Font: Myriad Pro
Style: Myriad Water 30
Red: 245 Green: 245 Blue: 45
The second element in the Video 3 layer is the text "MERIDIAN SPEEDWAY PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS:" which has an animated arrival coinciding with the departure of the Narrow Channel Art on the Video 2 layer. This element runs from 03;04 to 08;04.
Font: Myriad Pro
Style: Myriad Water 30
Red: 245 Green: 245 Blue: 45
There are also eight key frames in this text element:
The "Video 4" layer only contains one element - an animated text component:
This element compliments the above text box, but has a different position coordinate and font size. The position of this element is fixed. This feature runs from 03;13 to 08;04
Font: Myriad Pro
Style: Myriad Water 30
Red: 245 Green: 245 Blue: 45
Yes, all of this goes into the first eight seconds of each Meridian Speedway Productions video! It does seem tedious, however, with these notes and some level of proficiency with Adobe Premiere Elements the process does go very quickly...
Mississippi Railway & Transportation Museum Excursion - 1989
The twelfth Meridian Speedway Production video has been uploaded to YouTube today. This video I took when I was 13! Perhaps the experience in my youth played a role in my fascination with railroading among southern pine trees!
Enjoy a ride on a Mississippi Railway and Transportation Museum excursion train north out of Columbia, MS on long-abandoned Columbia and Sliver Creek rails. This train consists of MRTM Alco S-2 No. 7, IC Baggage/RPO 1879, Southern coach 1002, and L&N Coach/Observation 1880 (originally L&N 42345).
The MRTM equipment arrived in Columbia, MS on 6-4-1989 with the 2-8-0 and the Alco each pulling separate trains of MRTM equipment. It is believed this was the only time the 2-8-0 steamed in Columbia because the flue time expired a few days after arrival. The Alco pulled excursions that summer until the membership "voted" to sell the equipment to the Waccamaw Coast Line Railroad at a meeting held in one of the coaches at Columbia on 4-28-90. It was also announced that the steamer had already been sold "to pay debts."
The equipment was indeed sold to Waccama except the Southern coach 1002 which is now displayed in disrepair at the museum next to the old L&A depot at Winnfield, LA.
MRTM's first activity was a publicity excursion on the Port Bienville RR behind the PBRR 45-ton GE held on 4-28-84. This was reportedly the first passenger train on the PBRR, ever. The steamer arrived (purchased from Birmingham Rail) and was dedicated on 6-16-84. A special guest was Tom Moore, retired president of the Clinchfield RR, who had promoted the restoration of the little 4-6-0 used for excursions on that road in the early 1970s. The 2-8-0 #203 powered the excursion trains until the organization decided to move to Meridian where greater things were hoped for. The 2-8-0 left Port Bienville on 6-3-1989 with all equipment and a loaned Mississippi Export RR caboose. The trip was slow because of the heavy train and poor coal. The train spent the night in Mobile and (with better coal) proceeded up the Gulf & Mississippi to Meridian, where it arrived in the middle of the night 6-4-89. Most of the equipment was left at the old GM&O Whistler shops, just north of Mobile, and the train consisted of the steamer and two or so coaches on the G&M.
The equipment went into storage in downtown Meridian and some work was done on the cars. The hoped-for new home (and track to run on) fell through and a new home was located in Columbia. The equipment went via MidSouth and ICGRR to the CLSL connection at Silver Creek, as mentioned above. The rods were taken off the 2-8-0 for the trip, then re-installed at Silver Creek so the train could be pulled into Columbia with a live engine. This was about the only time that the steamer was hot in Columbia.
The north end of the Columbia & Silver Creek was Silver Creek. The CLSL connected with the Mississippi Central. The track (at the time of this excursion) continued east from Silver Creek into Hattiesburg. Some or all of this is now a hiking trail. The track still exists to the west, to the papermill at Ferguson, Miss. and ultimately to the CN main line at Brookhaven. The MSC track still exists from Brookhaven to Natchez, now the Natchez Railway. I believe all of the CLSL track is gone.
BN, CNW, and UP on the Orin Line - 1990
For most of the summers during my high school and college years I managed to scam at least one trip to visit the Powder River Basin in Wyoming. Here is where the newest and biggest power of the western railroads could be found powering coal trains. Coal trains were almost completely absent from railroading in New Orleans at the time so that was also a huge draw for me.
I pulled a 1 hour and 16 minute clip off of a VHS tape and whittled it down to just over 25 minutes edited. Below is the upload to YouTube:
I am quite pleased with this video and am glad the images will now see the light of day! The stars are a number of C40-8s from the CNW's first order. I am a big fan! The lengthy pace scene with CNW 8507 in the lead is a treasure of raw Dash-8 sound!
There is also quite a bit of good Dash-7 sound in this video.
It looks like I was shooting slides as well on this trip. A few of them have already been scanned and posted on-line:
Channel Art and 10th Upload
Up until now my YouTube Channel was pretty much a low-priority novelty. Yesterday however, as I uploaded my 10th video with a whole vault of material in the time capsule for future releases, I decided it was time to polish up the appearance of the site. This meant it was time to create the Channel Art for the page header!
YouTube specifies that the optimum file size for channel art is 2560x1440 pixels. This is a very large file from which only a narrow strip in the middle appears in the Channel Header. Looking around YouTube, most people have a photo of some sort which is severely cropped. While the overall effect is generally very nice, I wanted a little more control over the space.
I decided I wanted a film strip to be the main focus of my Channel Art with various images contained therein. Using PowerPoint I built the filmstrip art and then experimented with the sizing, uploading it several times, until I had the filmstrip art positioned and sized in the 2560x1440 pixel file correctly to where YouTube would crop it to my liking. The image above is the full 2560x1440 pixel image with the art in the final position. Below is a larger version of just the art:
Most of the middle six images within the film strip will be displayed on the various devices capable of viewing YouTube. I decided to add a photo extending from each end of the film strip to give a sense of infinity to the image as it is cropped differently for viewing on different devices, i.e. Smart Phone, Desk Top Computer, Tablet, Laptop, etc.
For design inspiration I dusted off a roll of film and examined a negative strip. I mimicked the basic writing on the very top and bottom bands with PowerPoint text boxes. The font I chose was CordiaUPC 10pt with a slightly gold color. While not an exact match for the markings on a Kodak negative, I think it is close enough to create the intended effect.
The images were strategically chosen to convey the mix of Model and Prototype videos that will be uploaded to my YouTube site.
I also put a link to this blog directly in the header. It will be interesting to see how much traffic YouTube drives to this site as both mature over the years to come.
As for the 10th video - I found a few gems photographed back home in New Orleans on August 3, 1991. The hi-light of the day was one of only two prototype F69PH-AC locomotives, AMTK 451, leading the Amtrak Sunset Limited up the Huey P. Long Bridge. Our perch for the shot was the top floor of the Elmwood Medical Center Parking Garage. This location provided a spectacular vantage point for train activity on this impressive bridge.
If you have not already viewed this video, check out the link below!
Be sure to Subscribe!
KCS GP30s Remembered
My latest VHS Video to YouTube upload is a gem--the final departure of KCS GP30s from the New Orleans area railroad scene. During the 1980's any dayllight visit to the KCS West Yard diesel shop would find a trio of KCS GP30's laying over between nocturnal runs of the Baton Rouge Turn. An additional GP30 or two were commonly on-hand as well. On August 3, 1990 that changed forever and I was lucky enough to record the event.
The KCS bought 20 GP30s during 1962-63, and the last of these were taken out of service in 1990. In their final years of operation, six of these were assigned to the diesel shop in New Orleans. Three were used on the nightly turn to Baton Rouge, one each was used at Norco and Gramercy, and one was kept as a spare.
In late July and early August 1990, four GP40s were assigned to New Orleans, and the GP30s were moved to Shreveport. GP30s 4103, 4109 and 4115 left on Saturday 28 July, while the 4112, 4106 and 4113 went out for the last time on Friday 3 August. Here are the last three units leaving New Orleans on their final run. This was intermodal train No. 10 with SD60s 723 and 716, 38 cars and caboose 309.
The 4106 and 4113 were sold to the Indiana & Ohio as their 83 and 84, while the 4112 went to the Southeast Kansas Railroad and kept its same number.
June 2, 1991 - EsPee Action Uploaded to YouTube
Today's YouTube upload provides a look at activity on the Southern Pacific in Lake Charles, LA on June 12, 1991.
Three trains star beginning with eastbound Houston to New Orleans/CSX train HOCXM accelerating out of the east end of town with three CSXT GP40s: 6245, 6794, and 6717.
During the beginning of this clip we can hear the train dispatcher giving the second train, SP 7338 west, DTC authority in blocks Westlake through Sabine. So we head west and catch SP SD40R 7338 and SP B30-7 7869 rolling towards Westlake with Avondale, LA to Strang, TX train AVSRM - the classic Nathan P3 horn sounding great!
Finally we head back into town to see a pair of SP SW1500's, 2498 and 2662, crossing over the main track and pulling into town with interchange traffic from the Union Pacific. This set ends with some pacing action!
Amtrak Train No. 1 - VHS to YouTube
I uploaded another VHS clip from the past to YouTube today. There are not many videos on-line of the long-gone Amtrak P30CH locomotives in action. Here we can see two of them leading Amtrak train No. 1, the Westbound Sunset Limited, through Lake Charles, LA in June of 1991.