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Nostalgia & History > Inside Big Ben on the Quad City Rocket to Wilton, IA 1989


Date: 11/17/20 16:07
Inside Big Ben on the Quad City Rocket to Wilton, IA 1989
Author: MWBaker

Newly-edited video of a trip inside Big Ben on the 1989 version of the "Quad City Rocket" out to Wilton, Iowa and back to Rock Island.

This contribution suggested/inspired by CNW8531's post where theres plenty of great discussion on this car;
https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?11,5139630

Rather than a proper CRI&P "Rocket", this incarnation was a dinner train and these weekend afternoon trips featured hot dogs and other light offerings.

Re-editing the footage, I'd forgotten the distant headlight of another train visible west down the main while the CF7 ran around us at Wilton.
Listen close for the charming audio of a fellow railfan instructing a young-one on how to properly frame and capture a picture of the loco. Most of us strive for only ambient sound while "filming" but this was one instance where an exception can be made!

Along with greetings from the good townspeople at Wilton, there's lots of chatter from inside the dome. I regret not capturing on tape more of the inside of the car, but we do see much of Davenport and the crossing of the Mississippi through the greenish-tinted glass as the train rolls east.

Mark Baker
La Salle, IL
Historic ROWs trace w/ USDA Aerials



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/18/20 07:58 by MWBaker.

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Date: 11/17/20 17:36
Re: Inside Big Ben on the Quad City Rocket to Wilton, IA 1989
Author: mp51w

That's pretty frickin cool!  That kinda makes up for missing my chance to ride the Big Ben!  All those dome car rides of my youth flash back!



Date: 11/18/20 08:57
Re: Inside Big Ben on the Quad City Rocket to Wilton, IA 1989
Author: eminence_grise

The CF7 operated briefly on the International Reload Rail near Fruitvale BC before being replaced by a GP9. I believe it was the only CF7 to run in Canada. 



Date: 11/18/20 19:10
Re: Inside Big Ben on the Quad City Rocket to Wilton, IA 1989
Author: UP951West

Thanks for posting this video of the inside of Big Ben. 



Date: 11/18/20 20:29
Re: Inside Big Ben on the Quad City Rocket to Wilton, IA 1989
Author: AndyBrown

Cool video!  It was nice seeing my hometown of Wilton.  The engineer seems to have had great faith in the crappy track on the Wilton house track, as fast as he was moving with that unit.  About half of the house track is gone and all of the old WB main through Wilton is gone now, but the main line is now new welded rail and in better shape than it's been since probably the 1960s.

I liked the car Big Ben but your video shows what was a terrible problem with that car; the dome windows were either nearly opaque or suffered from extreme condensation in the glass, both shown in your video.  The times I was on the car I didn't use the dome for any length of time for that reason.  Still a neat car though!

Andy



Date: 11/19/20 10:05
Re: Inside Big Ben on the Quad City Rocket to Wilton, IA 1989
Author: MWBaker

It got quite warm up in the dome on that sunny day 31 years ago. By the time we'd started on our eastbound trip back to the QCA, there was just myself and 2 others upstairs whereas it was pretty full when we started the journey.

These long sequences reminds me of the planning to be considered when using a VHS camcorder on an extended venture away from spare batteries and blank tapes.
The camera tape recording speed was factory set at the 2 hour limit (SP) and could not be changed. This assured the maximum picture quality.
Battery charge was a concern as well. A real source of anxiety was seeing the BATT indication flashing in the viewfinder or looking at the tape visible thru the cameras side "window" and seeing little left on the feed (or supply) reel.   
One needed to decide how to spend those precious remaining minutes of tape.

On a trip like this, I probably chose to travel as light as possible and certainly without the suitcase-type carrying case for extra stuff...

I do miss the stability a shoulder "held" camera provided and the ability of a close-up viewfinder to the eye albeit in black & white on the mid 1980's models.

Mark Baker
La Salle, IL
Historic ROWs trace w/ USDA Aerials



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 11/20/20 15:57 by MWBaker.



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