Norfolk & Western 475 on the Strasburg Railroad

Norfolk & Western 475 on the Strasburg Railroad Norfolk & Western 475 On The Strasburg Ra il Road

Diverging Clear Productions

Length: 51 minutes + previews

Time Period: 2014

Location: Strasburg

Source: Mary McPherson

MSRP:

Norfolk & Western 475. This vintage steam engine operates in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. The Strasburg Railroad is the home for this locomotive for over 20 years. Running through the rural countryside, it is on scenery akin to the old N&W.

bh1

Baldwin built in 1906. The 4-8-0 was the largest class on N&W when constructed. By the 1950’s, it was used on branchlines. This cab was ultimately, a poor design. It straddles the boiler and leaves very little room for the crew to operate. The architecture was discontinued.

chr1

Mary McPherson performs excellent cinematography. A high def camera captures a high level of detail. There are a couple of challenges for her. Overcast weather on the first 2 days. The engine cab is just an ugly one to shoot. There is no room for anyone.

engineerThe Engineer barely fits in his area. That out and back operation is not this engine’s intent.

fireman

That boiler and firebox stick out, like a tree trunk shoved through a garage. She keeps filming it and those shots continue not too work. Fortunately, this eventually gets abandoned, The sun comes out on the third day. Everything improves, she films the exteriors and the remainder is pleasant.

overcastKurt Jensen narrates a well written script. He is a natural for the task. Environmental audio is the balance of the soundtrack. N&W has a steam whistle which doesn’t have a good tone. Interesting , the whistle gets swapped for a real nice single note later in the show.

chrEditing is first rate. Smooth transitions. A map overlay or graphics track the 4 1/2 miles.

steamEarly morning backshop action. See the engine get serviced.

curve                                                         Classic scene.

ch1Cherry Hill Road. The train looks best when the engine is facing forward, at the head end.

6                              The Strasburg looks like one to visit.

 

cab1Just when things are getting too redundant. A call for mixed train service. Tie on a caboose. Passengers are taken to pickup a freight car. We ride the caboose. Check the speed on the return trip. Fun sequence.

cab

 

Norfolk & Western 475 on the Strasburg Railroad. A good document of a museum operation starring the 475. At 50 minutes, just the right length. The second half plays out the best here.  A decent release for those who are interested in the 475 or the Strasburg Railroad.

Rating: 3 Stars

 

A 1960’s Train Travelogue

A 1960’s Train Traveloguecvr

C Vision Productions

Length: 65 minutes

Time Period: 1960’s

Locations: Marinette, Charleston, Naperville, Ontario, Wisconsin and more..

Sources: Joe Siedl,. Lynn Longley

MSRP: 29.95

C Vision surprises us, with another new source of upper midwest vintage railroading. This cinematographer also traveled to Canada. There are some hard to find lines and locomotives. Mid 1960’s timeframe is highly desirable. Filmed in color, on Super 8mm.

soo neenahJoe Siedl is the main cinematographer for this program. He had an Argus camera. Filmed alot around Marinette, Wisconsin. CNW and SOO are prominent. Canada has a big chunk of the program. Canadian Pacific, CN and Ontario Northland. Seaboard Coast Line is a highlight. Burlington Route is another feature. A few GG1 electrics too.

1535CNW 1535 is a GP7, with a Fairbanks Morse Baby Trainmaster.

Don Grant narrates the show. Music background is used to fill the rest. There is an off switch for the music. The keyboard player is pretty good. Improved overall music versus older releases. Basic narration is good with: locomotive call-outs, locations and some more. I have added a little extra information, for my readers.

soo gp35 gp30 stevens point 2                  Soo Line GP35 with a GP30 are at Steven’s Point, Wisconsin.

Camera appears to be handheld. For the most part, it is steady. A few scenes have some shakes or possible film jumps. Nothing to worry about. Colors look good. Film looks original, unrestored. Composition is well done. Graphics for locations.

Chicago and North Western is loaded with freight and passenger trains. Many locomotive types. CNW fans should be satisfied.

 

cnw f7 4052A peshtigoCNW 4052A at Peshtigo, WI. This is not an F3. Rather, an F9AM. A rebuild from original FT series, built in 1945. The 4050 series are tricky, with some being F3 before rebuilding. I had to look it up. Otherwise, what a sweet scene!

cnw 901 rs27Here is CNW 901 in 1966. Misidentified as an Alco C425. It is a rare Alco RS27. This occurs more commonly then you may realize on many train videos. Not worth bothering, except this engine has an interesting history. Purchased new in 1962. Traded in with the other 3 RS27’s after only 4 years for C425 models. Alco leased it and sold it to Precision National. Leased to Canadian Pacific. Sold to GBW in 1976. On to WC in 1987. Minnesota Commercial in 1992. Interesting…back to the show.

cp alco fa fbCanadian Pacific Alco FA/ FB combo. It is a maroon and gray CP seen in this era.

dh17What amounts to small segments: Green Bay and Western, LS&I. Milwaukee Road and Great Northern. A cameo on Delaware and Hudson. Former Santa Fe PA17 heads The Laurentian.

 

Joe was stationed at Charleston, SC. Circa 1968. Worth the price of admission for this chapter. A hard to find supply of Seaboard Coast Line. A fine variety of vintage diesels.

scl 585 e7   SCL 565 is an E7A. Seen at Charleston station. Also, are rare E6 and common E8 units.

scl 2006Could have filled the page with cool shots of Seaboard Coast Line activity. SD45 displays flags because it is running extra.

scl  959The GP9, GP18 lash-up includes some interim looking paint schemes.

cbqA bunch of Chicago, Burlington and Quincy at Naperville, Ill. Even in the 60’s this was a known hotspot. Triple track mainline all the way into Chicago. The freights were to Clyde Yard. Passenger action is plentiful. All stainless passenger trains look great. Chinese red and gray on the freights is a bonafide classic. The GP20 on the lead, was a hot mainline locomotive in 1966!

cbq 4960At Baraboo, Wisconsin. The circus train with it’s very colorful consisit of classic circus wagons. These wagons are loaded on flatcars. The loading methods used by the circus industry, helped develop early piggyback transportation. In this scene, Burlington Route 4960. a 2-8-0 Light Mikado hauls the train.

pbxOntario Northland Polar Bear Express. Joe caught some rare ON freight as well. Must see.

soo fp7aA classic scene of the mid-1960’s. A single four axle EMD locomotive with a freight train. This Soo Line FP7 is a classic.

Lynn Longley’s bonus section at the end doesn’t match the quality of the main show. It will not be factored into the rating. A few minutes of 1950’s Milwaukee Road. Poor to fair at best.

scl 2007 rearNot much in the way of cabooses in this show. We shall close with a passing SD45 leading 4 F units from the SCL yard. The high horsepower units were strong entries in the headlong race for more power. Mixed in with this unusual lash-up of 1950’s era covered wagons. The F unit engines that defeated steam. A modern second generation model that would replace the earlier diesels. Atlantic Coast Line merged with Seaboard Air Line. All pass into history.

A 1960’s Train Travelogue. Here is a worthy assortment of circa 1966-67 railroading. The rarities make it one that railfans may need. It plays well and the nonstop action passes the time quickly. Overall, a nice release to add into a collection.

Rating: 4 Stars

F-Units on the Nanticoke: CN 9100’s

F-Units on the Nanticoke: CN 9100’sNanticoke

Green Frog / Canrail

3 DVD Set

Length: 3.2 Hours

Time Period: 1986

Locations: Hamilton to Nanticoke

Source: Rob McCormack

MSRP: 40.00

Green Frog has this extensive set, which feature vintage, rebuilt F7 units. The year is 1986. Canadian National had reassigned the venerable F7 Units to the steel train job at Hamilton. They are in ABA configuration. Specialized flatcars and gondolas haul the steel. The Canrail video crew spent 6 weeks recording the activity.

9169Trackside. (DVD 1)

9173Canadian National 9173 is the star of the show. This unit is the one that viewers will ride.

The first DVD contains a one hour film. This is not narrated.Graphics list locations. A map is needed. Without a map, there is no frame of reference. Appears to operate as an empties/ loads cycle. Basic service to a steel plant. Viewers will see various industrial steel products. .

grand river bridge1Videography is competent. Editing is smooth. Audio is environmental sound. Whatever the microphone picked up, is what we hear. Content is like watching raw video, with good edits.

caledoniaThe Trackside disc plays fine. Keep in mind, there is no narration. Would have enjoyed hearing this story. Oh well, at least hearing the normally aspirated power is a treat!

Covered Wagons Cab ride Part 1 : Hamilton to Hagersville.

hamilton                                  The train originates for this show at a CN yard.

street run                     Street running on the CN train. The cab is busy and noisy.

engineer                                       Canadian National Engineer is Ross Pearce.

woodsA basic cab ride on this branchline. Unique, as this was an actual working, revenue service F7 unit. Most other F unit rides are on museums or excursions. The radio communication and train orders add an extra bit of action. This is a fine way to experience an F7 unit.

Part 2: Hagersville to Nanticoke and Return to Caledonia

gate                                   Train 725 goes to the Stelco plant and picks up steel.

pearcePart 2 has more content of watching the engineer at work. The radio crackles as Joe communicates with the dispatchers and train crew.

riverAs the freight travels back, we see some now familiar sights. Grand River Bridge.

lakeThe camera gets bouncing on this segment. Likely rough trackage. Generally, it is best edited out. For historical value and completeness, well… hit the fast forward button.

roadF Units on the Nanticoke provides a trip back in time aboard CN 9173. The 2 part cab ride is the main feature. That is over 2 hours in an operating F7. Add to the fact, this is on a Class One railroad in 1986. A rare type of show.

mixedA Canadian National caboose (van in CN terminology) is at both ends of these trains. Though not stated, the ABA sets are probably run around the train, to always lead.

The Trackside footage is satisfactory. Seeing the vintage locomotives working is good. This one is screaming for a narrative. Green Frog usually has great scripts. Seems to be a Canrail production issue. Still, the trains are seen with a steady camera.

This is a fine set to have. On the whole, it has a workman like quality. Appeal is best directed to the hardcore railfan. Casual viewers will be left bassically clueless, without a narrative. Canadians should love it. True railfans will appreciate the historical aspect of the package.

Rating: 4 Stars

Goin’ To Kansas City

Goin’ To Kansas City cover

Pentrex

Length: 95 minutes

Time Period: 2000

Locations: Kansas

MSRP: 29.95

Ride along in the locomotive cab on a BNSF vehicle train. Pentrex has viewers inside a GE Dash 9 C44. Experience what it is like to travel across Southeastern Kansas. Board BNSF train V-OKCMCI at the crew change location in Arkansas City. The 225 mile route covers some of the Arkansas City Sub, complete Douglas Sub, and much of the Emporia Sub to Argentine Yard. See a plethora of trains from the ground as well.

Crew changeDetailed narration will have the viewer informed regarding the train movements. Sharp camerawork and pro audio gives a feeling of being there, with the BNSF crew.

lister                                    Engineer Kevin Lister gets us safely underway.

leboVeteran railfans likely have watched some cab rides before. This show is much more than a typical locomotive mounted in the cab routine. Ever changing viewpoints are the ticket.

rearview                                        Our vehicle train stretches out on a curve.

emporia                                      Basic maps are used to outline the areas traveled.

hougal                                                    Houston to Galesburg.

matfield green Matfield Green is the scenic area in the show. Hills and curving trackage are unexpected on a show from Kansas.

bazarA Phoenix to Willow Springs train creeps by on a long passing siding, at Bazar.

conductorConductor Brandon is the man in charge. Here, he communicates with the dispatcher.

z wspaltMeets are plentiful. Train Z- WSPALT is another of the many Willow Springs moves.

ottawa             Post merger BNSF has a variety of paint schemes on the locomotives.

all bnEmporia subdivision is very busy. This container freight is fronted by a now rare lash-up of solid Burlington Northern, Cascade Green power.

Goin’ to Kansas City is an outstanding show by Pentrex. It is highly recommended. Most railfans should find this program enjoyable. Older children might find it interesting. This is one of the best from Pentrex.

Rating: 5 Stars

Today’s Illinois Central: South Volume 2

Today’s Illinois Central: South Volume 2cvr

Pentrex

Length: One hour 39 minutes

Time Period: 1996

Locations: Fulton, KY to New Orleans

MSRP: 29.95

A continuation of a grand tour of Illinois Central. This volume covers the southern portion of Illinois Central Railroad. Pentrex has another volume for the northern half. Both shows are professionally produced. South contains 552 route miles. This is the downsized, core version of Illinois Central.

Volume 2 utilizes the same formula as the prior show. There is improved videography here. Better composition and smoother lens work. Perhaps, minor differences to the average viewer. Worth a mention for those who care, or may just want to try a single show. There are a number of interesting sidebars of local character as we are down South.

3131 gp40Picking up where we left off on Volume 1. The program begins at Fulton, Kentucky. Again a quick geography lesson is presented. Basic maps give perspective to the route, and division points. An intelligent way to setup the remainder of the film.

wc handyAt Tutwiler, Mississippi. The camera rolls around to see local sights. Some of this is out of the ordinary and even off-topic. Apparently, the crew became bored in these remote locations. Turns out the many sidebars and historical elements create some interest.

At least the mural relates a train related story. W.C. Handy was a famous musician. In 1903 waited for a train here and heard sounds from an unknown musician. The idea stuck with Handy and is what became Blues music. Famous Blues great, Sonny Boy Williamson is buried down the road. This scene is a nice interlude.

woodchip loaderOne for the model railroaders. A woodchip loader operation is discussed.

amtrak 59                                           Amtrak trains frequent the show.

hazelhurstPulpwood cars are loaded further down the route. A variety of trains and traffic move on these busy rails.

meet           The Chemical Coast does a large amount of revenue for the railroad.

three                  Hotshot intermodal trains move between Chicago and New Orleans.

fredThere are a handful of scenes with a caboose. A FRED is more representative of 1996.

The story ends at New Orleans. Ride a ferryboat and learn even more railroad history to the very end.

Today’s Illinois Central: South Volume 2. An interesting narrative elevates this volume above the first one. Combined with better videography, make this the one to have.

Rating: 4 Stars