Penn Central 5

Penn Central 5

Green Frog Productions

Format: DVD    Length: 73 minutes

Time Period: 1974 give or take a year.

Locations: Ypsilanti, Wayne Jct., Horseshoe Curve, Toledo, Town Line,

Source: Emery Gulash (16mm)

The 5th volume of Penn Central in 1974. This film looks pristine. Familiar Emery locations around Michigan. The lack of synced train sounds takes a little getting used to. I miss the train horns and the sound of the trains passing. So, the emphasis falls on the image, and those qualities. Yes, it does look good. Excellent in fact.

 After many Michigan scenes, we head eastward. Horseshoe Curve in the winter, those Alleghenies look great with bare trees and snow-covered mountains. The mountain overlook shots are good.It’s enjoyable to see the old roadnames as the freight cars pass across the screen. Seems like the editor has let the film run longer to view the freight cars.

 Back to Michigan. An auto rack train that has the cars in unenclosed racks. Carleton and Town Line with its little block station. He films from some new angles too. I do miss the birds chirping when they fly behind the caboose. The color balance looks perfect. He frames the shots with an artistic flair.  The Raisin River is one of some new locations.

 After viewing mostly freights, the pattern shifts to Amtrak. A Budd diesel car makes an appearance. At Lima, we encounter foggy conditions. A Norfolk & Western looms out of the gloom. Passengers waiting for Amtrak, provide a reminder of the scale of a full-sized PC train. A memorable moment is the departing train, braking for one man left behind… is he with Emery?

 There are many trains on this installment of Penn Central. The power on the head ends are the usual suspects from EMD and GE. Alco Century C-636 and C-628 are the rare birds.

 The thing to really appreciate on films from this era is the actual railroading. There are : stations, towers, boxcars and a caboose. Even with Penn Central in a state of decline financially, there is a wealth of action. Freight train fans will enjoy a healthy supply. 

 Green Frog has entered a worthy chapter in the epic Penn Central story. The improved film quality is best with the sound included. The presentation is somewhat flat with Grandpa’s film projector sound in the background. The matter of fact narration is good, but without additional sounds, he could talk some more.

  If Penn Central is one of your railroads, this is definitely worth adding. For newcomers or youngsters, I’d start with the more traditional presentations of the earlier volumes.

Rating 4 Stars

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