The former Chicago, Burlington & Quincy line from Centralia to Metropolis, Illinois, was always a coal line. For much of its history, the coal moved on the line was mined locally and shipped to locations to the north and west. With the advent of clean air legislation and the boom of low sulfur coal from the Powder River Basin, that flow of coal reversed.
This program features Burlington Northern action on the line between 1986 and 1991, with U30C, C30-7 and SD40-2 locomotives as the main power moving western coal to Joppa, Illinois, and Paducah, Kentucky. Oakway SD60s, GP30s, GP35s, GP40s, a GP20 and an SD9 are also seen. In addition to coal trains, manifest freights and intermodal trains are also seen. Cabooses are seen on most trains, including one still painted for the CB&Q. Trains are seen in all seasons, including snow scenes and fall colors.
In addition to scenes filmed at Centralia, other locations include Cravat Hill, Woodlawn, Boulder, Shattuc and Smithboro. Considerable time is also spent on Goreville Hill, the stretch of former Chicago & Eastern Illinois (now Union Pacific) between Neilson and West Vienna which includes the grade from Neilson to Goreville.