Catenary Video Productions
Length: 54 minutes
Time Period: 1930’s- 1950’s
Locations: LA to San Francisco (SP Coast Line)
Sources: Alden Armstrong, Leon Gagne, Francis Guido, James Holmes, Stan Kistler, Chet Hogan, Cliff Nash, Don Olsen, James Orem, Gordon Robertson, Chuck Robertson, Louis Stein, O. Tobisch, Wil Whittaker, Southern Pacific
This is Volume 4 in a fine series of Southern Pacific steam era releases, from Catenary Video. There is a boxset containing all four volumes.Southern Pacific Steam is that title. Available either separately or the complete set. Digitally mastered in 2007.
How do you feel at the opportunity, to see vintage, Southern Pacific Daylight steam trains in full color? Ever desire to see a roundhouse filled with Daylight painted locomotives? How about traveling, up and down the Pacific Coast Line?
We want to also view stations, towers,and yards. Maybe some street running too. Throw in a surly railroad dick and conductor, suspicious of the movie-makers at the time, and you have the makings of a great show!
Various SP steam engines are viewed: with some doubleheaders, and helpers on grades. Traditional black locomotives are present. Colorful GS-class Daylights are the main locomotives seen in this show. This is a passenger train oriented presentation.
The screen explodes with a colorful display of Daylight livery steam at the Alhambra Roundhouse. There are many stops at towns along the way. Oxnard, San Luis Obispo, Concepcion, Santa Barbara. San Luis Obispo will provide another roundhouse and turntable scene. Yet, see another! The 15 stall roundhouse and facilities, at San Jose.
We will need some maps to keep track of the numerous locations. They are included! There is even a separate map section on the main menu. The maps are basic but clear. The map of Montalvo Cutoff is one handy one. All of the maps are useful. There is an on/off narration option, on the main menu. Maps accessed on this menu.
The narration is on the dry side. Not a fan of his bland delivery style. On a more positive note, the script is well-written, and informative. One caveat, I would have liked more detail on the years of some shots. What year was that, at the Alhambra roundhouse? Alas, perhaps no info available, some of the original cameramen are deceased. Sometimes, on-screen graphics denote train and locations. Likely there were some notes, or input from the sources.
No worries, the outstanding quality of the shots, and the variety of viewpoints, compensate for any informational shortage. Besides, how often to you get to see all of this action packed footage in one place?
This program is jam packed with steam, in action! There are numerous sources of original films. This show is mostly, all-color footage. The cleaned and then digitally enhanced 16mm films are great! Excellent film quality. Many sources results in variation. Some shots are very good.
Another plus is the sound. It is clear, some dubs are just close, but they work. At times, a little music will be the background track. Good balance of these elements within the show. The natural, train sounds really sound excellent.
There are also some freights and mail trains within the program. Some black steam engines are also present. You will see a cab forward, on freight. The scenery is gorgeous.
This is my first program from Catenary Video Productions. It is impressive.
Rating: 5 Stars