The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe was one of America’s great railroads. It survives today as part of the giant BNSF system. But not that long ago it was independent. Step back to September 21, 1995, Santa Fe’s last full day of independent operations before its merger with Burlington Northern. Days prior to that milestone, Pentrex set out on an odyssey across America’s heartland to document the final chapter of this historic railroad. Two videos resulted which have now been combined on one new DVD, bringing you the full story of this great adventure.
Across the Heartland – Santa Fe’s Chillicothe Subdivision
Stretching from the greater Chicago area to Fort Madison, Iowa lies the Chillicothe Sub, a double-tracked ribbon of rail that was home to Santa Fe’s hottest trains. We’ll take you back to the Chillicothe Sub as it was in 1995, just days before Santa Fe’s merger with the Burlington Northern. Flashy Warbonnets leading high-speed trains are seen at favorite spots such as McCook Junction, Streator, and Edelstein Hill – the line’s most famous location. There are great scenes at Galesburg and Cameron where Santa Fe and Burlington Northern tracks cross over one another and more drama at Fort Madison where trains are seen crossing the Mississippi River on the railroad’s impressive bridge there. From urban sprawl through lush, green croplands, this was Santa Fe action at its very best.
Countdown to Merger – Santa Fe’s Marceline Subdivision
Six days prior to the merger with Burlington Northern, Pentrex set off to record the last moments of Santa Fe’s independence by tracing the action on the Marceline Sub from Fort Madison, Iowa to Kansas City, Missouri. Facing sunshine and rain, trekking across isolated backwoods hills and through river valleys, we relentlessly sought out the best photo locations along the double-tracked line. Overhead bridges offered excellent views of Santa Fe’s hottest trains. Thirty miles of joint operations with Norfolk Southern provided plenty of excitement as trains from both roads raced over the line. On September 21, 1995, Santa Fe’s last full day, we view the single-tracked Missouri River Bridge and head into Kansas City to reach the end of the Marceline Sub – and the end of an era.