614: Thunder in the Alleghenies

614: Thunder in the Alleghenies cover

Sunday River Productions

Length: 44 minutes

Time Period: 1980 1985

Locations: Huntington to Hinton, New River Gorge

Source: David Corbitt

MSRP: 34.95

Chesapeake and Ohio ran some awesome steam power. The 614 is the single locomotive that is the star of this show. This engine is operating under actual working conditions. Coal is the commodity being hauled. Loads out and empty hoppers on the return. Six days a week. Action is in the winter. That is just the first part, of this two part program.

signalsThe big 4-8-2 is called a Greenbriar on the C&O. The same wheel arrangement is called a Northern commonly. The C&O wanted a designation with local meaning. In the evolution of Chessie steam, this was from the final group. Lima was the builder in 1948. The 614 was therefore, a modern steam engine.

front                           The 614 is a handsome locomotive, from any angle.

snow

Full color footage is accompanied by natural sound. The narrative is by Alva Morrison. Original production date is 1985. The show was updated for DVD 2010. A chapter menu is present. Editing is smooth. The audio has a microphone hum, when the narrative is present. Train sounds are excellent, and do not have the hum. Part 1 has very minimal narration. Part 2 has more. Alva does have his usual informative narration. Viewers may wish for additional info overall.

steamThe cinematography is solid. Framing is thought out and there are a multitude of classic images. Various weather conditions affect the endless supply of runbys. Winter weather was the reality for January, 1985. Some days the weather is dismal, but the train was a working entity. Action is constant. 614 really gets up plenty of steam throughout the show.

tt           On the turntable. Many of the structures recall earlier years of operation.

fwRoss Roland owned the 614. This T version of 614 was for testing. Specialized equipment was used to determine multiple factors in the cost of burning coal in 1985. Could updated steam regain it’s crown as preferred power on the mainlines?

nrg2                                 New River Gorge provides some aerial style footage.

Part 2 is centered around Chessie passenger train operations behind 614. The year is 1980. This chapter, film is showing it’s age. Clean appearance, though original condition. Sunshine at last.

eb                                  The train climbs steep grades with a long consist

afton mountain                        Afton Mountain has 614 upgrade and without diesel assistance.

long           Chessie System had a matching livery on the passenger cars. Class!

thurmond Thurmond, West Virginia. One of the towns that are a wealth of old buildings and vintage feel.

bay window614: Thunder in the Alleghenies does contain a plethora of good cinematography. The dreary winter weather in the main part of the show is a concern. However, this is on C&O. Apparently, bad roads and easier access to neighbor B&O, are some reasons the railroad was infrequently filmed with steam in the 1950’s.

C&O vintage steam is very rare. Sunday River does offer some classic C&O steam, as on Articulateds in Appalachia.

Here is a good opportunity to see an original C&O steam locomotive in regular service. This release is reminiscent of  a time long past.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

New England Steam: Six Main Lines

New England Steam: Six Main Lines NE6ML

Sunday River Productions

Length: 47 minutes

Time Period: 1930’s to 1950’s.

Locations: New England

Sources: Albert Hale, John Trolley, Charlie Brown

MSRP: 34.95

Intriguing collection of six steam railroads in New England. These films are  rare. A desirable assortment from black and white sources, to see featured in a show. Sunday River has each road with its own chapter. A promising lineup of vintage trains. The authentic steam audio is up front and adds extra energy. At least a third of the films are from the 1950’s. Check the automobiles and the freight cars themselves. Let’s take a look.

new haven main                                New Haven storms past, with a mainline freight train.

c5400CP 5400 is chased and receives a nice pan shot. There is plenty of fine cinematography.

Alva Morrison Sr. has brief narrative sections. He was an early producer of train films. Seems that some of these films are within this series of film shorts. The sparse narration of some parts, maybe where a viewer may want more information. On screen descriptions are used at times and they suffice.

cv millers fallsSome scenes have train sounds. Additional scenes use Classical music for background and transitions. You will usually have a good idea of location or area. Sometimes, train station signs are used for locations. A classic method used by old movie-makers. This 2013 release is focused on the trains. The trainwatching segments are augmented by a lively soundtrack of steam sounds. Kids will love it. Adults as well, those pieces are just plain fun!

This show was updated in 2013. Quality is very good. The later period footage is cleaner. Care has been taken in the overall production.

Canadian Pacific and Quebec Central. The trains move on both sides of the border. At least some of this is vintage 1950’s. A variety of trains are shown. Matter of fact, CP, GT and CV were among railroads that ran steam well into the 1950’s.

cp_136Canadian Pacific 4-4-0 #136 reverses and departs with a one car passenger move.

cp1Mixed trains contain a glimpse into life before the automobile, truck and freeway took over.

bar                                          Each of the railroads receive a vintage style map.

bar caribouThe Bangor and Aroostook in Winter. Ride a train in Maine. Some rough edits in this chapter.

rutland bf Rutland Green Mountain Flyer at Bennington Falls. Alva informs of the cheese car tacked onto the end of this premier train.

Central Vermont Railway appears to be one of the Alva Morrison original films. This entry has full and informative narration. The 2-8-0 Consolidations are co-star of the chapter.

cv s royalton Mountain type- 600 class locomotives are the other co-star on this 12 minute chapter. Note the 50’s pickup truck at South Royalton. This CV chapter feels the most complete of the collection.

cv 700 classAlso, Texas type- 700 class power was New England’s largest steam at the time. There is a good chunk of history in this Central Vermont film.

gt ip dh                     Grand Trunk frequently operated doubleheaders from Island Pond.

gt island pondA variety of GT action is shown. Grand Trunk also runs into the 1950’s. Notice the Alco RS3 diesel in a scene and a 1955 Chevy elsewhere.  It’s all worthy and still great viewing.

new haven hudsonNew Haven. The streamlined I-5 Hudson is a locomotive highlight. Check the script on the tender logo! Additionally, the last 3 cylinder locomotives in service are highlighted.

new haven i5 hudsonA rare surprise is a display of the brand new Hudson I-5 at New Haven. Take a quick ride on this special excursion to Poughkeepsie. The last one Baldwin manufactured #1409 was in 1937. The Comet passes by in another scene. Quite a bit is seen in this brief chapter.

gt cn cabooseThis scene is a Grand Trunk freight with Canadian National caboose. Brings back fond memories of train watching with my little brother. Although our  time was 30 years later, it was just as enjoyable. The image is simply… timeless.

New England Steam: Six Main Lines is a unique release from Sunday River. The combination of films results in a fascinating visit to the steam era. Perfect gift for the man with everything. Historical interest and plenty of action, for the entire family. Excellent show!

Rating: 4 Stars

 

Wire, Wings and Warriors – The Milwaukee Electrics

Wire, Wings and Warriors cover

A&R Productions

Length: 31 minutes

Time Period: around 1915- 1960’s

Locations: Avery, GE Factory, Harlowton, Pipestone Pass and much more..

Source: The Blackhawk Film Collection

MSRP: 30.00

Milwaukee Road electrified operations are the main feature in this show. Little Joe and early Boxcabs are the locomotives that get the trains over the mountains. Normal diesels are included, as the electrics were added to the road freights. The Olympian Hiawatha is seen as a separate entry, later in the program.

joeA&R Productions has a solid script, which is very descriptive. Ted Daluku is the familiar narrator. The Milwaukee Road Historical Society was involved in this presentation. Train sounds are heard in the background. Everything is well organized.

olympian hiawathaThe Blackhawk film collection used, is all black and white. Fine for the really old material. However, some of the Little Joe engines are operating much later. Also, the cinematography within is very good overall. The films are clean. Realize, this is 100% black and white.

1919 wh quill                           A 1919 Westinghouse Quill. A bipolar is in the show too.

rocky mtn div

ep1

Ride an EP-1 boxcab on the Rocky Mountain Division. Early era, when they were painted black!

mapLocations are referenced throughout. A handful of basic maps are helpful. Both the Rocky Mountain and Coast Divisions are covered.

ge erie                                        Visit the General Electric plant at Erie. See Boxcabs.

Avery                                                              Avery Yard

skytopWire, Wings and Warriors. The black and white film era was over in the 1950’s. However, The Olympian Hiawatha and earlier footage is fine with b&w. The detailed narrative is the strong point here. Milwaukee Road fans should be satisfied.

The sum total is the show is pretty good. If you can overlook the b&w factor on the Little Joes, an informative 30 minutes are viewed. Smooth and full of action, a fast half hour.

Rating: 3 Stars

The Little River’s Little Pacific

The Little River’s Little Pacific The-Little-River-s-Little-Pacific

Diverging Clear Productions

Length: 63 minutes + previews

Time Period: 2014

Location: Coldwater, to Quincy, MI.

Sources: Mary McPherson, Alexandra Edwards

MSRP: 20.00

Little River Railroad has a one of a kind steam locomotive. A custom built Pacific type from 1911. It is the smallest, standard gauge Pacific ever. Originally served for logging in what is now Great Smoky National Park until 1939. Later sold and ran into the early 1950’s. Found abandoned in 1968 and restored by Terry Bloom. This rare engine has now been in Little River service, since 1975.

foxDiverging Clear twice journeyed here, for this 2014 release. It is a basic out and back tourist style affair. The train runs at a leisurely pace. Multiple viewpoints that include some cameras which were mounted onto the locomotive. Viewers will see some extreme close-ups of the running gear.

headlightThe cinematography is first rate. The picture is sharp and the images are steady. Natural sound is well recorded. Kurt Jensen does the narrative. Editing is smooth.

mapMap references are used, as we traverse the former Michigan Central trackage. Overall, a nice looking and fine sounding show.

rearTerry Bloom                                     Terry Bloom is the owner and Engineer.

Just about every camera angle is explored. The producer has a taken care, with much attention to detail. Anyone who sees this, should be satisfied.

smoke                                                  View from the caboose.

fallYou will ride the train, as it travels the line. Spring and summer visits are presented in this program. A pair of cabooses, various passenger, with some open air cars are the train.

Little River’s Little Pacific is good for steam fans who are interested. People who enjoy museum and tourist lines , will get an extended look at this operation. Children may also like this release.

Rating: 3 Stars

#Steam#Frisco

 

 

Pacing! 25 Years Along the High Iron

Pacing! 25 Years Along the High IronPacing-

Diverging Clear

Length: 3 1/2 Hours

Time Period: 1986- 2013

Locations: Illinois farmlands

Source: Dunn, Jensen, McPherson, Redmond

Producer: Mary McPherson

MSRP: 25.00

This new release by Diverging Clear should be subtitled: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. A 2 disc set. One is dedicated to 25 years of steam. The 2nd is 25 years of Diesel.

cn 5432Canadian National on former Illinois Central rails in 2013.

The show is action driven. Constant movement of the locomotives on the screen.

mpEach disc features 25 trains. There is a Chapter Menu. The volume level of the loading and menu portion is way too loud. It needs to balance with the program. The sound level will blow one put of the room.

sou 2638The Good: A nice assortment of Steam and Diesel. You would think the Steam would win a pacing show hands down. The drivers, the stack talk and the steam whistles are a formidable array. However, the Diesel portion is equally interesting. Theses are almost all rare. That is in the sense that the everyday operations of the late 1980’s and some 1990’s are not widely available in a pacing format.

4501Southern 4501 has one of the best whistles in the set. Great tone and it sounds ‘wet’.

9639

Most DCP shows do contain pacing sequences. Many of those presented are in the form of extended chase scenes.  Depending on individual taste, you can watch it or hit the ‘next’ button to skip ahead.

The Bad: Steam has some excessive wind noise. The type that has the potential to damage audio speakers.This is unfortunate. Skipped a few scenes that started out with loud pop and crackle noises. Having a raised volume is just plain fun with steam engines. Diesels is far better and the noise only occasionally is an issue.

csxcsx 2531

The Ugly: Diesels has those familiar old VHS cassette tape issues that are common. Work has been done to color correct. The source tapes can be a nasty challenge for anyone. Like many other train videos, the scarcity of the subject material can be the deciding factor.

ns 2595

Steam is loaded with the usual performers from the time period. NW 611, UP 3985, NKP 765 and 567, Soo 1003 plus L&N 152 are some. Black Hills Central, Ohio Central, and Northern Pacific are the ones not beat do death everywhere.

261 2000Milwaukee Road has a few appearances. In 2000, the wind noise isn’t annoying or present.

1522

Frisco 1522 is too common on this show. Variety in the form of actual vintage whistles used. Kurt Jensen does the very minimal narrative. Good plan, the locomotives are well suited to task. Each scene displays informative graphics.

chessie

Today’s technology should have rendered the wind noise inert. Just doesn’t belong on a year 2014 production. Various options could have improved the sound, including assorted substitutions.

crcnw 5097

That being said, This program does offer the chance to see 50 trains being paced in one set. The diesel variety seems to have a great mix of period lash-ups. The Heritage Series parallels the roadnames on this set. A few exceptions at the end. Ohio Central F units and modern BNSF ‘whatever they are’ set to music.

mpup 87

The producer has stated this release is a response to railfan requests. The bottom line for all viewers amounts to your choice. If you seek this footage- here it is. Can be adequate for pacing,as long as you consider it’s shortcomings. If you are hesitant to shell out. Similar and same action is available in many DCP programs.

Rating: 2 1/2 Stars