Thursday, March 24, 2016

Video Review: Canadian National's Western Manitoba Mains

I recently received a copy of Big E Production's "Canadian National's Western Manitoba Mains" DVD set, and I'd like to review it.

The two DVDs cover sections of CN's two western Manitoba main lines: the CN Rivers subdivision near Miniota, and the CN Togo subdivision between Dutton Siding and Roblin, MB. The Rivers subdivision is on the first DVD and part of the second, with the Togo footage on the remainder of the second DVD.

Big E advertises "no more mindless runbys" meaning that they show the entire train. When you start the DVD you are given the choice of two audio tracks - just the train sounds, or train sounds accompanied by narration. I watched the narrated version as I personally feel that watching a DVD of just trains going by is a bit boring.

The narration really adds value to the DVD. There are details on each train, including train symbols, origin and destination, and some comments on the consist. The narration also covers the history of the line and interesting features of the area. I thought it was excellent.

Big E usually shows 24 hours of action in a location and this DVD did the same. I believe there were about a dozen trains each way on the Rivers subdivision and only a few each way on the Togo - they were lucky to see a couple of diverted trains. Since it was shot over 24 hours, many of the trains were shot at night.

The power on the trains wasn't exceptional - mostly CN units with a few BC Rail units of various colours, one black Illinois Central "death star" unit, blue IC 2459, and the VIA Rail Canadian.

I have a couple of negative things to say about the DVDs. First off, the weather wasn't great so there are mostly gray skies in the DVDs.

The larger negative I would say is that the choice of locations wasn't great. The majority were shot at rural crossings and there's nothing really to say "prairie" in the shots. I definitely would have liked to see some grain elevators or the nearby Uno trestle.

I enjoyed watching the DVDs and I would recommend them to anyone who wanted to see a typical day on CN's western main lines in Manitoba (Big E web site).

Disclaimer: Dick Eisfeller, the big "E", had asked me for a few details about the area to provide background material for the DVDs, and in thanks he sent me the two-disc set. He didn't ask me to write a review, nor am I receiving any compensation for writing this review, but I decided to write a review because I like writing reviews.


Sean Rogowsky said...

Great review Steve. I had a look at the Big "E" site and see it's also available in Blu-ray. They also have a CP Western MB video too. Unfortunately the pricing kills it for me. $40USD and $30USD is just too much to be spending on videos like that these days. I really wish there was a $10 each digital download version of each.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Hi Sean, I agree that a digital download would be a great option! I'll mention it to him.