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by Karl M. Bernard
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Review of the video:

Big "E" Productions

September 2003

Big "E" Productions has just published a new video entitled THE ROAD TO LAREDO--TEX-MEX & UP.

This 92-minute video covers the Tex Mex line between Robstown and Laredo and the UP line between San Antonio and Laredo. Between them, these two routes in southern Texas carry approximately 80 percent of the rail traffic between the USA and Mexico. Tex Mex gets 28 minutes of the tape, while UP gets the remainder.

As in all of his Big "E" tapes, Richard Eisfeller gives us the history of the lines and a wealth of detail about each train (symbols, origins/destinations in the USA and Mexico, train schedules and frequencies, cargoes carried, etc.) while entire consists roll by in daylight or well-lit night shots. Maps of the two routes are also included.

The Tex Mex segment shows us nine trains at Agua Dulce, Realitos, Hebbronville, and Mirando City. These trains have motive power in the KCS, TFM, BNSF, and FNM liveries. On the UP's Laredo Subdivision, we see 29 UP trains at Wilhelm Junction, Lytle, Devine, Moore, Pearsall, Derby, Dilley, Cotulla, and Encinal, with motive power in the liveries of UP, CSX, CN, WC, SP, NS, and Helm.

The only disappointment is the lack of any videography from Laredo itself. A train on the international bridge would have made an interesting opening or closing shot, since traffic to and from Mexico is what this video is all about. Nevertheless, anyone interested in these particular lines or the more general topic of rail-borne commerce with Mexico will find these tapes highly instructive.

As of this writing, the tape is so new that it does not yet appear on the Big "E" web site at , but you can order them at 800-832-1228. The price is www.trainvideos.com $29.95 plus $5.00 shipping and handling by Priority Mail in the USA. They accept all popular credit cards. Their mailing address is: P.O. Box 75; Greenland, NH 03840; USA.

Review by Lowell G. McManus

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION DISCLOSURE: The producer of the reviewed product provided a complimentary copy of the product to the reviewer for the purpose of the review.