Diesels of West Virginia and Maryland

My model. Artwork not found.

Diesels of West Virginia and Maryland

JMJ Productions

Format: VHS  Length: 45 minutes

Time Period: 1985

Locations: Harpers Ferry, New River Gorge, Grandview State Park, Hawk’s Nest State Park, Sand Patch Grade

 We begin with, still images at the Harpers Ferry tunnel , mixed with live video, of some guys fishing! Maintenance is being performed by a work crew. An SD50 coal train shows up, and is videotaped from a mountain. This image is too far away. Zoom helps, the angle is poor. A much better view of a GP40, GO30 led Chessie coal train. When the zoom is off, it’s far. Very scenic area of West Virginia. Nice, except this is a train video. He spends our time, showing too much, of the pretty mountain and water.. they’re still fishing. So are we!

 A rough-looking map, illustrates where we are (sort of), West of Cumberland..more scenery and a civil war music sounding soundtrack. A deer passes by.. A ribbon rail train viewed from afar. Again some zoom helps.,, but the trees obscure the train and it’s too far away. I can see the blue exhaust, as it moves even further away. Not good, so far.

  Seventeen Mile Grade at about 2.2%. Swanton. Chessie locos with a pig train. Much better, finally, we are trackside. Natural sounds. A helper. Very good. Chase this one downhill, it roars by! 

 Cranberry Grade. A heavy coal train. Led by SD35’s 7428, 7415 ,GP40 4097 ,with SD50’s 8582, 8587, and 8591 pushers. Narrator gives us annoucements, with locomotive types, and road numbers during  the show. A blue B&O caboose is seen. Good train.

 Big Bend Mountain. Elevation is 1000 feet up. The view is great, the track looks tiny. Watch the bird flying, see the bird. What? All of this and no train! So it goes…

Sand Patch Grade is the best feature. Still the camera wanders some, and you’ve seen it done better.

 Very inconsistent show, with some dubious editing decisions. Poor map quality. Narration is sparse. Too often, it looks like a nature program. Other scenes, show the little track equipment buzzing around. More mountaintop scenes run too long, it’s time-wasting filler.

 The whole program feels like a guy with a video camera, chasing around the countryside. The train shots are not professional. The sound isn’t pro either.

 I love the Chessie, but this JMJ show, doesn’t get it done. What kind of bird was that anyway?

 Rating 1  star

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