Choo Choo Bob 2008

Birdhouse Holdings / Qubo

It’s The Choo Choo Bob Show!! Roaring out of the Twin Cities of Minnesota comes this fun little (each episode is but 12 minutes long) children’s show — all about trains. There is a great article about the show HERE, which describes how it came to be. The show even has its own clubhouse and store in Saint Paul where episodes where/are filmed.

Each episode features a live action video of real railroading and for the purposes of this review, I have chosen the Milwaukee Road #261 steam engine trip.

Choo Choo Bob (played by Sam Heyn) and Engineer Paul (played by Paul Howe) take a ride down the Mississippi on former CMStP&P (now Canadian Pacific) tracks aboard the beautiful Cedar Rapids Skytop observation car.

Oh, yes. See the show’s logo at the top of this page? That image of a diesel locomotive looks familiar to me. We’ll be revisiting that image later on in this review. All Aboard!

Milwaukee Road S3 class 4-8-4 #261 (built by Alco – Schenectady in July 1944) gallops along at track speed whilst back in the Skytop, Bob and Paul enjoy the view. Friends of 261 operates and maintains this Minneapolis-based locomotive and train.


Choo Choo Bob (henceforth known as CCB) sets out from the clubhouse to “figure out what all this STEAM stuff is about” and soon finds himself face to face with the appliance-laden front end of 261.

CCB shyly appraises the vestibule and interior of Cedar Rapids.


Wow, now THAT’S a parlor car! Right down to the Hiawatha logo on the antimacassars. Soon CCB and Engineer Paul are comfortably seated under glass.

Note: I’m thinking this must have been a “ferry move” for the train as CCB & EP have the entire car to themselves. Lucky buggers…

And we’re off! I just love the hardware on 261. Giant Mars light. Air horn. Drop coupler. Jaunty off-center bell. In a rods-down pose, the engineer waves at his admirers.


Time for some pictures! CCB snaps away as the train rolls past river and farmland.

The exterior of Cedar Rapids is just as beautiful as the interior. Designed by Brooks Stevens, these Skytop Lounge cars entered service in 1948 on the Milwaukee Road’s Morning and Afternoon Hiawatha trains between Chicago and the Twin Cities.


The Hiawatha blurs by the camera. The CCB Show included trackside footage to complement all those sweet interior images.


The light meter goes crazy in the solarium as the boys go from darkness to full sunshine. At Tunnel City, Wisconsin (I think), 261 and its colorful consist cruises past the camera.


Our video finishes with great pacing shots of Cedar Rapids trundling past as the credits roll.

How’s THAT for a match on the CCB logo? Behold Milwaukee Road’s Afternoon Hiawatha circa 1956. The locomotive is #16, an EMD E7A passenger locomotive built in April 1946. Image courtesy Pinterest dot com, unknown photographer.

She’s not in this episode, but she’s a babe, so I include Engineer Emily (played by Emily Fradenburgh). Here we see her caterwauling with CCB and getting a glam shot onboard Amtrak’s Empire Builder (from another episode).

Holy Smokestacks!

Oh yes, if you’d like to view the segment I reviewed, it is on YouTube:

Here’s what IMDb has to say about The Choo Choo Bob Show:

If you have ANY information about this movie you’d like to share, please contact me at:, or leave a comment.  Thanks and enjoy the blog!



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