Great American Short Lines and Regionals DVD

Item #16111

America has more than 500 short line railroads from coast to coast! They are personality and character galore, where you can find antique locomotives, unorthodox operating practices, and colorful railroaders.

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In Great American Short Lines and Regionals DVD, you will get an exclusive overview of short line railroads with the American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association, the industry trade group, and industry experts like the president of the American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association and Trains columnist Bill Stephens.

We will visit interesting short lines including:

Iowa Traction, America’s last electric freight line.
SMS Rail Lines, home of the largest collection of Baldwin diesels still in use.
Rock Island, an iconic Midwestern railroad reborn as a Mississippi short line.
Reading & Northern, a Northeastern regional powerhouse.
• Everett Railroad, Wisconsin & Southern, Delaware-Lackawanna, Western New York & Pennsylvania, and Pickens.
• Plus quick shots of 30+ short lines and regionals.


Approximate running time: 90 minutes


I’ve always been interested in and enjoyed visiting short line railroads because their management seems to be very friendly, and typically their operating ideas are fascinating and different than on major railroads. In addition, their operations can be more accessible to railfans.

In this 60-minute DVD, you’ll "gain access to” a number of major players in the short line railroad business. There are some 600 short lines and smaller regional lines, and it’s said one of every five cars on the rails today starts its journey on a short line. This railroad diversity is very engrossing to observe, and this DVD certainly provides good operating footage and behind the-scene details of lines such as the Iowa Traction system which uses 50 lb. rail, has 3.4 miles of track, and moves 2,000 freight cars annually. Only two men are needed to operate trains. The 24-mile Everett RR in central Pennsylvania operates three diesels, carries paper industry products and also operates a tourist railroad business.

The 63-mile-long Rock RR (formerly part of the Illinois Central system) stores freight cars and operates 63 miles of trackage in the Mississippi Delta, handling 7,000 cars annually. The Genesee & Wyoming owns 122 shortline and regional railroads that operate under a corporate banner. One of their railroads, the Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern uses GP-38s and SD40s, and the company has put $80 million into the system to restore its trackage to the best operating condition. 

There are many more short lines and regionals featured in this DVD, including WATCO, which owns 46 short lines, there’s the 28-mile-long Pickens RR operating over former CSX and Norfolk Southern trackage, and the energetic and progressive SMS Lines operating 25 miles and hauling 13,000 cars annually. It features Alcos, Baldwins, and even a 1952 Alco steam locomotive.

You’ll see lots of action from many short line and regional railroads, and you’ll also get behind-the-scenes information about how they operate. 

—By Don Heimburger, Heimburger House Publishing Co. 

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