RUE Episode 7: Passenger Trains

Here we see a passenger train celebrated in song – the City of New Orleans. This train was operated by the Illinois Central Railroad and its modern version is operated by Amtrak. Both Arlo Guthery and Willy Nelson have recorded versions of the song.

Passenger Trains and Self-Assessment

Passenger Trains and Self-assessment; add description and family support, and you have Episode 7 of Ramping Up your English. Welcome! Thanks to my crew and to RVTV, episode 7 is now available on RVTV Voices and on this page.  You can see Episode 7 right now by clicking on the link in this sentence. Click here to download Episode 7 from


Do you want to see it in short segments?

Click here to see Segment 1.

You can click to see Segment 2.

Click to see Segment 3


In this episode, we do a self-assessment in listening comprehension and compare today’s results with previous assessments.  Additionally, we learned how to graph our progress over time with a made-up example.

Our assessment for today was based on our understanding of the first video clip on passenger trains.  In addition, we saw how – with just a little English – you can help a child (even if you are a child) get a successful start in school.  We interviewed an ELL student in public school in Medford.

Passenger rains take you places. We rode two passenger trains to get to San Diego. Here’s Liz on the Coronado Ferry with the skyline of San Diego in the background.

The Function of Describing

We saw part 2 of the video on Passenger Trains, followed by a lesson on describing a thing (a passenger train) by listing it’s parts.

Language Objectives

Self-assess listening comprehension and compare the result with earlier assessment.  Use graphing to chart progress.

Describe an object by listing its parts.

Academic Content Objectives

TransportationExplain the role of passenger trains to modern transportation in the United States and Europe.  Compare and contrast passenger rail travel in the U.S. and Europe.

Instructional Slides

Let’s see some of our visuals we used on listening Comprehension.

In this example, the viewer estimates that they understood about 60% of Episode 1.
In this example, the viewer can graph their progress. Here we see a dip in one episode, yet the latest episode is higher than their starting point. That’s progress.It won’t always be a straight upward line, but progress over time should be reflected. Remember, this is a very informal assessment.
Here we use the words “consists of” and “is made up of” to describe a think (a passenger train) by listing its parts.

Video Clips used in Episode 7

Our first video clip in Passenger Trains 1. Click here to see the clip.

Our second video clip is named Jorge. Click here to see the clip.

The third video is Passenger Trains 2. Just click here to see it.

List of Passenger Train Cars

….on the Coast Starlight: (For assignment)

locomotive, baggage Car, sleeping Car, parlour car, dining car, observation/lounge car, coach.


The assignment is to use the phrases consists of and is made up of to describe a passenger train.  Also use the beginning level conjunction such as and as well as commas to set off each item in your list.  Use at least 2 sentences. Look at the above blackboard slide to check your work.

Feel free to repeat any or all of these clips to increase your comprehension or to support doing your assignment (or to learn more about passenger trains).

Next Episode

We also produced Episode 8 during our studio production time.  This segment went very smoothly.  Click to go to the Episode 8 page.