Trains For America

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Extreme Trains highlights Empire Builder

Our readers are always alert.

This train running from Chicago to Seattle is the busiest passenger
train in America. The route passes through America’s longest tunnel
where Matt finds out how the railroad keeps passengers from choking to death and how to keep the tracks from flooding. In the Cascade Mountains he learns what it takes to the keep the rails clear of snow drifts over a dozen feet high! This episode covers how James J. Hill built the Great Northern Railroad; and the Wellington avalanche disaster. It features some of America’s most beautiful scenery in Montana’s Glacier National Park.

Filed under: Amtrak, Regional USA Passenger Rail

19 Responses

  1. This Extreme Trains series has been a huge disappointment to those of us who actually work, or in my case worked on the railroad, as well as a slap in the face to responsible rail fans. The narrator of the show would be fired in a heartbeat for the violated safety concerns alone on a real railroad. It is said he works for a railroad in Maine – must be his own. Then there are the technical glitches. Last night it was said that failure to activate the alertor resets would put the brakes in Emergency. Not so at all, it causes a Penalty Application which is equivalent to a full service application, and will cause the train to stop, but not so suddenly as to cause passenger injury or derailment. How nice it would be if the History Channel had got it right – sadly, they have not, and out of the hour program, one gets about 2 or 3 minutes of really good videography, and more commercials than anything else.

    J. H. Sullivan, (retired from CSX)
    Florida

  2. toast2042 says:

    I noticed a lot of hyperbole in the Empire Builder program. He insisted that the train was held to 79mph for safety or else everyone would die and that schedules were down to the second. He talked a lot about dying, too. I’m glad the host’s excited but I wish the program were more substantive.

  3. David Bragdon says:

    Every episode of this show does a disservice to railroading. The host is obnoxious and uninformed.

  4. Nelson Youngerthanyou says:

    Before this show, there was nothing. Be happy for some coverage as well as giving the general public an idea of what the view looks like other than at a rr crossing. I personally enjoy the show. The “obnoxious” host is much more interesting to watch than the workers on the show, who mostly represent an expanse of overaged, overpaid union workers driving the cost of EVERYTHING through the roof. Have fun fuming over this diverse perspective!

  5. Jacqui says:

    I have a five year old little boy who is in love with ALL types of trains. We DVR these shows & he watches them over & over again. I hope that the information they provide on the show is accurate, but to us it isn’t that inportant. I have a little boy who is watching something other than cartoons & learning something in the process. Hard to find these days. We love the show!

  6. Richard says:

    I am, in no way, a railroad professional. This inside look is hugely entertaining. I too would be simply awed to be able to have that view of railroading. I would think the whole idea is to give us an inside look. That it does. It is entertaining, and the closest I will ever come to an engineer, an engine or the routes taken by these. It’s hugely fun for us less informed. Thanks History channel lotsa fun.

  7. Chuck says:

    Trains are for children! If you want detail and accuracy read Model Railroader. I am delighted anytime trains in any form are on TV. (grand child moment) Yes, facts are stretched. Have you ever seen “The Polar express)? I believe this show wants to do nothing more or less than entertain us. I do agree that they could be more artistic with the HD cameras.

    PS: Matt is a conductor, as stated in the shows press release.

    http://a614.g.akamai.net/7/614/2201/v001/aetn.download.akamai.com/2201/aetn/pdfs/HISTORY%20-%20EXTREME%20TRAINS.pdf

  8. Dean Validis says:

    To Matt:

    I am a railroading fan and I love your show. It is refreshing to see a show with a knowlegable host (unlike Hearaldo). To all the critics: keep watching Star Trek. I look forward to next season.

    Dean Validis

  9. Dean Validis says:

    Matt:

    I am a railroading fan and I love your show. It is refreshing to see a show with a knowlegable Host (unlike Hearaldo)’ To all of the critics: keep watching Star Trek. I am looking forward to next season.

    Dean

    P.S.
    This is a repeat e-mail, I forgot to check the box for “Notify me of followup comments via email”

  10. Duane says:

    I work at U.S. Steel and have driven railroad spikes, changed rails, and worked wrecks until three in the morning (in the rain). I can understand the excitement of someone when it comes to the operation of a large industry and railroad if they have never come in contact with one. I can also see on the workers faces on the show the “when is he going to leave” look. The same look I would be giving him. After working at U.S. Steel for 34 years it’s like having 34 years at Krispy Kreme…no I wouldn’t eat a donut.

  11. Constitutional_patriot says:

    Man, I’m with all the parents and grandparents here – this show is absolutely great for those with kids who love trains.

    Nuff said. Cuz fans like us are the future of railroading. Kids are the ones that will save the trains for the future.

  12. Doc says:

    If it was supposed to be geared for the mentality of kids, why was it aired late at night? Also, even if it is geared towards kids, the facts should be checked. There is one inaccuracy after another in this show. The format is bothersome and disturbing; the host annoying and over-dramatic. Sad excuse for a show, that with a little thought could have been a very good show.

  13. JT says:

    This show is terrific. I have a 4 year old son, Joey and a 2 year old, Charlie and they both LOVE the show. On a recent long trip, they chose to watch Extreme Trains over Thomas, Charlie Brown, Polar Express and Several Other DVD’s that we brought with us to entertain them. Joey and Charlie have memorized the opening lines, “My name is Matt Bown….” I’m sure purists will find inaccuracies, then they should watch the Railroad show on the RFD network, which is guaranteed to put anyone else to sleep. Keep up the good work History Channel and Matt!

  14. Boob Hale (Ex CB&Q; GNRY) says:

    Matt….Someone has to take Matt aside and tell him to STOP!!!!! going over-the-top in every sentence. He builds artificial drama. Good grief, trains are NOT thisclosetoderailing. His artificial excitement and flapping hands are major distractions.

    Also, minor, but it hit the ear; The correct sentence should be “..it was a job for Mary and me…” not “for Mary and I…” (I have the lady’s name wrong, but you get the idea.) No editors to catch such grammatical gaffs??? Tsk, tsk.

    But, understand, these are corrective suggestions to an otherwise fine program. Helpful and informative. But, really folks, slow down a bit. No need for the hyper activity. And for goodness sake, stop with Matt pitching in all the time. Yeah, he is a “rail” but his personal involvement is not-to-be-believed, so why make the program hokey?

    “Boarrrrrrrrrrd!”

  15. Doug says:

    I Love the show. I wish I could be with Matt as he rides the rails. But STOP the jerky photography, stop action , fast action, jerk action. Just show the trains and let us watch the show,.. I get a headache just trying to watch the trains. Matt can be as over the top and I love it, but the editing is pure freshmen college kids trying to be different.

  16. Johnand maggie says:

    This is now being shown in TV in England and we agree with everyone who says this is a great idea wrecked by the hyperactive host and camera work….where were the views, life in the cheaper section of the train….etc…etc…A major disappointment and a total waste of the access allowed by the RR. And somebody tell him to STOP SHOUTING, pleads Maggie.

  17. Andrew in NorJpn says:

    Haven’t seen the series, but the title alone raises red flags. Why does anything that may be educational have to be tagged with terms like “extreme” or “ultimate”? Here in Japan you can see level-headed segments about trains on TV practically everyday. But then again, trains are part of the fabric of daily life here.

  18. WAYNE IN TACOMA says:

    I AGREE THE HOST IS OVERBEARING AND OVER THE TOP,BUT HOW MANY PEOPLE FROM THE EAST COAST ARE NOT! I REALIZE THERE ARE TECHNICAL INACCURACIES WITH THE SHOW. IT’S NOT GOING TO BE FOR EVERYONE. JUST BECAUSE YOU NOW OR DID WORK FOR THE RAILROAD DOESN’T MEAN ALOT. WATCH IT OR NOT IS OUR CHOICE. YES I AM A FOAMER BUT IT’S STILL SHOWING PICTURES AND INFO. THAT WE MAY NOT GET OTHERWISE.

  19. maxjrt says:

    I have watched this show since I was always into big machines since I was young. To me, it seems like a reality show. Some statements I believe from learning about trains. Other don’t make sense. I am don’t mean this as any support, but I am guessing some of the statements made by the guest are to get the watchers adrenaline going and keep the ratings. Being able to see a train from somewhere else than the crossing is great thoughV!!!

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