The Fifties Express

The Fifties Express

WB Video Productions

Format: VHS 

Length: 52 minutes

Time Period: 1950’s

Locations: 15 railroads

Source: Irving E. August (16mm in color) 

A compilation of 1950’s era footage, as filmed by Irving August. Rocky Mountain Railroad Club archives.

This show jumps to many locations. A few highlights to give you an idea.

Central Vermont steam is our first visit. White River Jct. roundhouse in 1953. A spin on turntable for 601. CP and CN west of Montreal with adjacent tracks.  A Virginian train, with electric power. Salisbury viaduct (and more) for next two. Western Maryland steam and diesel is good. B&O also has steam and diesels. PRR Horseshoe Curve with big steam. Both; New York Central and Nickle Plate trains, Hudson, NY in 1952. B&M P2 Pacific to Boston. New Haven steam trip in 1953.

Norfolk & Western Y6 trains west of Roanoke is a highlight. Powhaten Arrow with J-class steam. Even more around Roanoke.  See a Y6 push as a helper, in reverse!

Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Yellowstone class big steam. Watch the ore yard and road operations in 1955. Long segment of DM&IR includes Two Harbors.

Also: Northern Pacific at Bozeman. Milwaukee Road’s Olympian leave Three Forks, Montana with beaver tail observation car. Little Joes on some freight movements.

Canadian Pacific, in the Canadian Rockies, with spectacular footage at Kicking Horse Pass! The train ride footage shown, is fantastic.

Filmed on 16mm by Irving August and from The Rocky Mountain Railroad Club archives.

A quality release with authentic, dubbed sound. This program effectively captures steam, and some early diesels in many locations. The shots are consistently good. Some roads only get a few runbys. My vhs tape is ancient, but available. Narration is adequate, but the content is thin. The narrator is naming locations and year, and only slightly more. Would have liked some more info throughout the presentation.

Locomotive types, would have been a good start for more script. Tell me more about DM&IR Yellowstones (if memory serves). Norfolk & Western Y6 and J-class, could have used more info. The amount of railroads visited, and the all-color footage for the time, are the strong points of the program.

If I should obtain a DVD, then will revisit the image quality with a new review. My tape is ancient. In any case, it is an enjoyable visit to see 15 railroads… in the early 1950’s.

Rating: 3 Stars


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