Rails Along the River: White River Jct. to St. Johnsbury, VT.

Rails Along the River: White River Jct. to St. Johnsbury, VT.

Tell-Tale Productions

Format: DVD

Length: 2 hours

Time Period: Contemporary

Locations: White River Jct.,to St. Johnsbury

Sources: James R. Jones

Producer: James R. Jones

MSRP: 25.00

Picturesque Vermont is the setting for this documentary from Tell-Tale Productions. It has some elements of a public broadcasting show.White River Jct., VT. is the start of the show. This chapter does get a balanced presentation of the today and yesterday. The history is conveyed with current, and abandoned facilities.

I have been informed this show was produced, for riders of the tourist line there. As my role is to review train formats, there is a slight conflict of interest here, with this show being an intended tourist souvenir. Where it may not be the focus of a targeted train video, the content is still railroad based material. Naturally, the film itself, revolves around the trains.

This is a quality train video. This video just has a diverse focus, that is reflective of it’s purpose. Please keep this in mind during the review. I have never been to Vermont, this is my basis of looking at the program. The remaining souvenir considerations are noted.

The show progresses nicely and then we leave town and it gradually changes pace …. I  let the whole show roll to the end before forming an opinion about it. The pace is fairly slow. Trains meander down the single track line in a very rural setting.

There has been much attention to the scenic aspects of the area. Excellent views of rivers, lakes and woods. Snow is prevalent during a good portion of the program. The scenes of trains actually plowing snow are great!

James does narrate some good history. Also he tells,possibly a few tall tales. It is all in good fun. Some locals have some stories of their own. Adds to the rural, country flavor.

There are assorted trains to be seen. Most are not identified. The blue one is a busy engine. You’ll see Canadian National and CP Rail as the recognizable ones. Vermont Railway and Green Mountain, are also prominent. There are various shortlines or small regionals too. Numerous shots of trains. Various paint schemes. They weren’t described much. In the many cases, not at all. Tourist souvenir, wouldn’t need the descriptions.

A paper map is photographed to show the towns. A second paper map is better. That one shows the towns. These maps really need an upgrade. It is hard to follow all of these unknown locations. Not a deal-breaker, but good quality maps are handy to have. They would give all the milepost indicators meaning. Again, the tourist will know the locations.

This show, also has the assumption of some familiarity, with the railroads and the area. I do believe, that most folks will look at this and say,” Where the heck am I now?” and ” No dear, I have no idea what that line is”. The tourist will know.

A Hydro-Electric dam gets the highly detailed, descriptive information, that railfans will seek on their beloved trains and railroads. The dam feature is quite excellent. I would have preferred that level of detail on some of the railroads and equipment. Featured for the tourist, who just rode past the imposing sight.

A big plowcar with NHV lettered power, clears some snow. No description of what NHV is or anything offered about that plow. I wanted to hear about that interesting equipment..

This show is well produced. The video looks great. The audio is equally good. Pro production in those technical respects.

The town of White River Jct., gets an extended visit. Claremont Concord operates #105 over former Boston & Maine trackage. An old Alco S- 4 switcher is viewed operating there.

There are miles of Vermont countryside. Old stations and much rural scenery. These slow parts are very ripe for some narrative, about the trains we are viewing.

Wells River is a more substantial town. Here the old timers talk of some local history.

St. Johnsbury is at the end of this trip. Big train station illustrates its former importance. Nowadays, like many others, it houses other businesses. At least, the landmark building still exists.

There are some of the locals reminiscing about the station and yard being busy in the old days. Some black and white photos are presented, throughout the show, of the old days.

This show is one of Tell-Tale Productions top sellers. The first rate photography and many views of scenery are nice. I get the mood shots too. Old bridges, abandoned track, abandoned buildings and the rest. The romantic and the artistic side of old tracks and bygone trains.

Everyone has their own tastes. If you like slow moving rural trains, in some very rural areas, this is definitely, that type of  railroading. A good bit of nostalgia too. This is an excellent souvenir for the tourist rider.

Interested in trying out a busier, more train focused, Vermont show like this one?

Check Rutland Remnants 5, also reviewed on ATVR. That program, has much more going on, and a faster paced program. More railfan oriented types, may prefer the fine, Rutland series.

Rating: 3 Stars

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