Highball Over Tehachapi

Highball Over Tehachapi

Highball Productions      

Format: DVD

Length: 2 Hours

Time Period: December 1995 

Location: Tehachapi Loop area. Mohave to Caliente.

Photography. Peter Crook

This is a contemporary, pre-merger view of Tehachapi Loop. That is third generation power with many second generation EMD and GE locomotives in service. Santa Fe blue and yellow warbonnets are still found. Southern Pacific classic grey and scarlet red are present. Modern Red and silver Santa Fe locomotives that look great against the classic mountain backdrops.

This is my first Highball Productions train video program.  Let’s see how it goes…

This is a plain jane, just push play menu. No chapter breaks, or even a title page .Content: The natural sounds work fine with the pro shot footage.

A good variety of locomotives are shown. Ranging from a Santa Fe GP30 to some Cotton Belt GP60’s, the six axle power dominates the show. Classic SD40, SD40T2, F45 and some modified versions, such as a ATSF SD45-2B. Modern 3rd generation from GE is included. C40-8W and C44-9W set is resplendent in Santa Fe Red and silver warbonnet paint!  Some Conrail Quality SD60M units are a surprise. As many as ten Santa Fe units are viewed leading trains. That’s a sight, in any era! Rio Grande and CSX are also found within the show.

Southern Pacific fields some impressive power sets, with multiple six axle assorted diesels. Some nice dynamic braking sounds too. SP trio of GE AC4400CW leading a coal train at tunnel 10 is excellent. There are a number of cool shots at this location, and interesting power too.  MK rebuilds are pointed out, along with many locomotive types.

The narration is relaxed and somewhat sparse. There is some good information conveyed. I would have like more detailed info, on some shot locations, and train movements.

We see the usual assortment of freight moving over the lines.  Intermodals, general merchandise, unit tankers..etc.. Alas, the caboose has vanished by now. But wait… there are a few SP cabooses that do appear, albeit in a cameo role..

There is a wealth of excellent photography here.  Clear and consistent. Predominately shot in broad daylight, with a few mood shots. The trains themselves are less interesting than in earlier eras. Standardization and merger mania has made things generic by this time. Still, it’s fun to see the large lash-ups and pusher sets operate in this world-famous setting. The long shots, at times, look like a giant model railroad. Great looks for modelers. A plus for this presentation are the various views of the trains. A spectacular shot of a Santa Fe pig train is a highlight!

The show lacks any maps and little historical information. A missed opportunity considering the sites historical and current significance. Fortunately, that is available elsewhere. You do get many nice, quality views of the area’s trains. In the end, it is an enjoyable and well done program. After all, we came for awesome scenery and the trains. It delivers!

Rating: 4 Stars

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