Charles Smiley Presents
Format: DVD Length: 1 Hour 22 minutes
Time Period : 1920’s – present
Locations: Western United States
Sources: 10 to 20 per show !
This preview video showcases 19 Charles Smiley Presents… train videos. The introductory segment includes visuals of these western US railroads: Southern Pacific, Santa Fe, Western Pacific, Union Pacific, Rio Grande. Vintage and pre-merger views are shown.
There are some special aspects of a Charles Smiley video, which enhance the programs. Unique, is this extra feature set, not commonly found. These include; historical info, statistical data, technical data. A very useful feature, are the custom-made maps. Much time and attention to detail is seen on just one map! There are multiple maps in the shows. It enhances the viewing to keep a perspective on the locations along a route. A high level of detail is immediately evident on…. everything!.
Diesel, Steam and Electric are all subjects. The catalog focuses mainly on the western United States. Decades of railroad film has been compiled here. Steam is included on the ‘Vintage West’ series. Early diesels are on many shows. Later power is available as listed. Electric fans aren’t forgotten. Heavy mainline electric locomotives. Interurbans are on their own volumes. Traction fans will see equipment; both in service and some are shown, operating in a museum.
Unending variety by all the different photographers, makes for fascinating viewing. You’ll enjoy footage shot by this wide selection of cameramen. Some of these were the railroad employees and insiders. They had some unique access to some never before seen sites!
History is an important factor in understanding the American Railroad system. Do you know why the Burlington Northern merger was delayed for 70 years? How did Teddy Roosevelt and the Panama Canal affect the fortunes of the railroads? Where did Ralph Budd come into the picture? Empire of the North answers those questions.
The sound quality is excellent. The music is good and fits well. Film sources range from 16, 8 and Super 8mm. Narration is high caliber. The attention to detail regarding a railroads background, often with some fascinating inside information, elevates these releases into a class of their own.
This DVD is the perfect way to preview the titles that catch your interest. I bought this preview disc first. Followed next with a purchase of Diesel Power On The SP. Did it meet the official preview…. No, it exceeded the preview! There was just so much more in the full length program. You will find some other roads footage included, where appropriate for connections or area. That is a welcome improvement over some other American train videos, that show their best in the preview, and can’t deliver the goods at length. Great train program for railfan and model train enthusiasts.
Extended running times are listed on many of these videos. By that, I mean over 60 minutes, the common standard length. Many run 90 minutes to nearly 2 hours.
Here are some shows that get my attention: Diesel Power on the Santa Fe and Union Pacific Vintage West. Heavy Electrics are to be found and more, on Milwaukee Road West. Modern era, there’s Extreme SP. Vintage and Modern, are found together on Soldier Summit Reflections. WP Vintage West has late steam to early diesel. Interurban fan, maybe Electric Rails Around the Bay. Just want a cool one: Empire of the North. SP has Arizona and California, featured on Southern Pacific Scrapbook. There are numerous Southern Pacific titles. This DVD collection has the mother lode of Southern Pacific!
There is a wide selection of very high quality material on this preview. These 19 videos are a good starting point for sampling the Charles Smiley Presents brand. He also has additional titles that have been released. I have made my list, and will review the shows right here.
Rating 5 stars