Covered Wagons of the Cascade

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F Units and E Units, commonly known as Covered Wagons, were standard power in the 1950s & 60s. By the 1970s, age was catching up to these classic units and their numbers began to dwindle. See them again in Covered Wagons of the Cascade!

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F Units and E Units, commonly known as Covered Wagons, were very much standard power in the 1950s & 60s. By the 1970s, age was catching up to these classic units and their sheer numbers began to dwindle as railroads either rebuilt them into switchers or retired them from service altogether.

By the 1980s if you could catch any Covered Wagons in operation, you would probably seize the opportunity to capture them on film as their days were definitely numbered. Pentrex has assembled a collection of movie films shot by a railfan in the 1970’s & early 80’s who expected these first generation diesels to come full-circle at any time. An added treat was that these films were recorded using the actual sound as the trains passed.

In this all-color DVD, we will get an all-too-brief look at activity from Portland Union Station and Chicago when Amtrak was young.

A more extensive collection of films were made in Washington along the Burlington Northern between the Seattle area and Sumas, along the Canadian border. Trains 143 and 144 ran daily between those 2 points and even in the early 80’s often had F7s for power. Much of Washington’s beautiful countryside is evident as we see F Units passing forests, meadows, and impressive bridges as long strings of mixed freight is hauled in the northwestern part of the state. We even caught a cab ride for part of the way!

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1 review for Covered Wagons of the Cascade

  1. rickyfreni

    In this vintage diesel program, it starts with a brief montage of Burlington Northern colors, then there is also the southern pacific and the CB&Q. Plus a cab ride with a freight. Not to mention a look at the CB&Q boxcar. The main portion starts with a map of Portland Oregon, in June of 1971 which is exactly a month before Amtrak’s debut. Train 11 The northbound coast daylight arrives with a solid brace of scarlet and gray Southern pacific F7s. The lead unit is 6456, followed by B units 8109, 8296, and 8303. Note the man on the right side of the screen putting on his jacket. Back when Amtrak made its debut, there were mismatched engines and coaches that were nicknamed: the rainbow train. (A reference to Empire builders to Milwaukee and Early Amtrak across Wisconsin). One of the baggage carts are blocked by the Pilar’s. The 6456 cuts off and switches to the other track to the roundhouse for service. As the SP power comes back, a Seattle to Portland train arrives with Burlington E8A number 9953 on the point. Note the northern pacific baggage car and the blue great northern coach in tow. Later on, BN f unit 9756 couples up to the train and heads for Seattle. The extra power is from the SP&S. Traveling across the nation, a visit to Chicago was made beginning with Amtrak’s empire builder led by BN E8 number 9943 in December of 1972 leaving union station. The 2 B units are from the great northern. Next the eastbound arrives with a CB&Q E8 and a pair of orange and black units. A quick overhead shot of the westbound 2 car commuter train with a CB&Q unit. Back in the northwest, it’s 1981 and 1982, and BN was popular for trains 143 and 144. The first train shows 143 leaving Sedro Woolley Southbound that is led by f unit 732. Another train is shown, this time it is powered by a pair of GP9s and F7 number 844 (which is a reference to the Union Pacific steam locomotive). Here it negotiates a sharp curve across fair haven avenue as it heads for Burlington. Next, a difference train 143 is shown as it has a quartet of F units as it heads for the scaget river bridge. Note the cameraman’s finger on the left side of the screen. As night falls, train 143 passes by the Mt Vernon station. Moving into the cab of F7 number 720, there is some switching to be done at Burlington. Then the photographer enjoys the ride to sedro Woolley. The diesel parallels US highway 20 as it Is still down the line to its destination. The western terminus for the US highway is at Newport Oregon, while the eastern terminus is in Boston. Just like interstate 90, but at different cities and a different western terminus. The photographer’s wife is seen pacing the train, followed by the unidentified cameraman taking the throttle. Having to cross us highway 9, puget sound and baker river railway 4-6-0 number 2 is on display. The train is leaving Great Northern tracks, as it switches on to Northern pacific property. While the diesel makes some slow orders at the junction, the sharp bend has been the site Of many derailments. Back on the ground, BN 720 heads for Sumas, as it highballs out of town. The 720 is carrying B unit 847, A pair of GP9s numbers 1875 and 1850, and F unit 840. Back in Burlington, a ton of power crosses fair haven avenue by the hotel. The first is F units 730, 704, 844 (Not the Union Pacific steamer and the GP30), and GP9 number 1859. The second train is F unit 738, And a Quartet Of GP9s number 1882, 1900, 1873, and 1922. A perfect A-B-B-A Quartet of F units run parallel to highway 20. The lead unit is 728, Followed by B units 843, 753, and F unit 730. Next an A-A-B-A is shown led by 704, 706, B unit 725, and 838. Some of the cars on the freight came from the ore dock. From the ground at sedro Woolley, the freight crosses highway 9. It is led by F unit 708. The 730 was originally built as Northern pacific 6013 leads its train to a reverse S curve. Behind 730 are 704, 844 (not the UP steamer), and GP9 1869. After that, a different train crosses US highway 20 known as the north cascades highway on a girder bridge in sedro Woolley. This freight is being led by 708, B unit 753, GP9 1785, and F unit 732. In the early morning, another freight led by 2 geeps, B unit 703 and another Geep as it crosses the bridge near milepost 87. Further up the line, the track goes over John liner road on a wooden pine trestle. It is led by a pair of F units (732 & 842), and a pair Of GP9s (1785, and 1728). 5 F units approach in full throttle at the same location, but on a different day. The diesels on this train are 738, 706, 842, 847 and 752. Next another train is shown, this time it is led by 738 with a quartet of GP9S. A dusting of snow went by overnight, and In The early morning near garden of eden road, 752 pulls the train with a trio of geeps and another F unit. On a different day, a 5 unit A-B-B-B-A set passes by the cameraman. It is led by 752 once again. Afterwards, F unit 704 approaches Grip road at Full throttle, with 3 more covered wagons and a geep. Near Union Road Crossing, there are a ton of trains. First up is a 4 unit freight with 3 covered wagons and a Geep. The second is a former Northern pacific GP9 leading a northbound train. The third comes BN 706 with a flashing light. Next, a fast freight passes by the siding at Thornwood. Afterwards, a 4 unit freight passes by the cameraman’s wife taking still images alongside highway 9. Note the early automobile carriers in the consist. Next the same train crosses highway 9 at potter road. Another perfect A-B-B-A consist is seen as it passes through the small town of acme, Deep In the mountains. Afterwards, the train crosses the north fork of the Noonsack river on a trus bridge. It is led by 702. Next another train crosses highway 9 at Findud road. Near the Canadian border in the town Of Sumas, GP9 number 1859 on train 144. While 1859 is switching, a trio of Canadian Pacific GP9s move a single covered hopper. Note that the second unit number 8847 in the old school gray maroon and yellow livery, while the first and third units 8823 and 8665 are painted red with black and white stripes. In the credits, it was revealed that the photographer’s name was Nicholas Muff. Finally a 2 second look a the lighted end sign is shown. This 2016 pentrex program was one of the final programs to be made in Southern California before the entire company was moved From Pasadena since 1984, across the country to Indianapolis in mid April of 2017. All In all Dave Drui did a fine job narrating this 47 minute video.

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