Mark 1 Video
Length: 60 minutes
Time Period: 1946-1956. 1966-1976.
Locations: New York Harbor, Mauch Chunk, Lehigh Gap, Sayre, Wilkes- Barre, Coxton Yard..
Sources: Volume 4: John Briggs, Guy Wickshall, Joe Zook. Volume 3: Louis Buehler, George Leilich, Don Van Court.
Here are two volumes of Lehigh Valley on a single DVD. They cover two different eras. Lehigh Valley is another one of those hard to find railroad film subjects. Was seeking some pre Conrail era LV to review. It turned up, on this combo DVD from Mark 1 Video.
This is another railfan only program. Paper route maps and on screen location (sometimes a date) graphics are the only informational sources. No narration is included Too bad, there is much that could be told, and really enhance the shows. A combined chapter, and program map can be a little tricky at first glance. A bit clumsy, but it works.
Volume 3 is uneven. An oddball assembly of color + black & white, steam era films. 1946-1956. Begins with some bits in color. Mainly, so-so shots of LV carfloats at NY Harbor.
A poor, grainy to fair, black and white segment. Vulcan brand steam engines. Built for Turkish Railways. Didn’t appeal to me and no backstory. This amounts to an overly long feature. Yuck!
A 1946 Santa Claus Special in grainy film. Looks like a total home movie, with a train.
Color at Buffalo, NY. A 50 ton hopper on a Rotary Coal Dumper is featured.
Very bumpy camerawork with a cab ride on a steamer. Did have this nugget at conclusion..
A short, color cab ride on an EMD FT goes from Croxton to Sayre to Towanda.
The credits at the end have some nice shots of Lehigh Valley diesel trains in color.
Volume 4 is the title that caught my interest. The LV final decade, 1966- 1976. Colorful locomotives at the height of the diesel era. Things are much more interesting in this show. Distant and trackside views show trains close-up and from afar. All types of weather conditions are presented. Traveling thru the various years take us on a whirlwind tour of Lehigh Valley Railroad. Scenic locations as: Easton, Lehigh Gap, Sayre, and Mauch Chunk are a few of many.
Alco Centuries. Gray/ Yellow C-420. Snowbird C-628 and red ones. Cornell Red RS2, RS3. General Electric’s new U23B units are here, Baldwin switchers can be seen too.
There is a slightly shaking cameraman on numerous scenes. Yes, it detracts.
Alcophiles will find much to savor.
Quite a few trains pass at slow speeds. Gives viewers a good look at the engines.
Locations are well marked on the ‘mainline’ paper route map. Crude, but adequate location awareness. There are many more on screen markers in this volume. Train action is nonstop.
Quality of the film is generally; good to very good. Volume 4 in particular, is generally in the very good range. Some below average, rough quality spots, most in volume 3. Soundtrack has had much attention. The dubbed sounds work well and match the action.
The Lehigh Valley Volume 4, from 1966-1976, is a memorable look at a railroad that was packed with some fascinating diesel power. Volume 3 really didn’t do much for me. There is enough fine action on the diesel show to make this a program worth owning. Some narration would be an improvement. Although the environmental audio rates high. This show is made for hardcore railfans.
Combined: Volume 3 is a mixed bag. Volume 4 is likeable, and somewhat flawed, a rarity.
For those who need this hard to find Lehigh Valley – here it is.
Rating: 2 1/2 Stars