A Cab Ride Over Donner Pass

A Cab Ride Over Donner Pass

BA Productions

Format: DVD (factory pressed disc)

Length: 4 hours

Time Period: contemporary era

Location: Roseville- Sparks

Source: Donner Rails/ BA

MSRP: 44.95

Cab ride aficionados may find their ultimate long player, with this release.

Travel aboard Union Pacific # 6352. This is an EMD SD60M. Manifest freight leaving Roseville Yard. The train will cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Travel the line, thru Donner Pass, Truckee and onward, to Reno- Sparks, Nevada.

Three cameras were used to record the journey.  Main view is an unobstructed front porch mount. A second roving camera inside the cab. A third mounted outside, and facing rearward. Some scenic aerial footage is included. High quality, broadcast level equipment assures a fine picture.

There is a chapter menu, with a twist. A route map serves as the chapter menu! Ingenious method to hop around the Overland Route.

Narration is present at the beginning of the program. It serves to set-up the show. History of the line is reviewed. After the narrative is finished, no more talking is heard. All information is conveyed via onscreen graphics. Numerous pop-ups contain historical information. Other displays have: milepost  location, track speed, severe grades, and more!.

Presentation is different from any other Donner Rails program. BA Productions has a unique combination of elements. The earlier shows from Donner usually contain a special approach as well. While the cab ride is finely filmed, it does lack the magic of the other shows. Was expecting the crew to be heard. See, the insider knowledge is a huge part of those other shows. Here, it is strictly train sounds. That creates a lengthy experience.

However, for those who must see every mile of this route- it is found here. Let’s take a look…

                                            Nice example of one of the graphics.

Engineer Mike Duncan is seen, receives tower radio clearance to depart Roseville. This will be the last piece of vocal information heard.

Another set of onscreen information. Thorough and frequently used to viewers benefit.

                                                     Live Train Cam.

There is a wealth of historical background presented, as we traverse the route.

This represents a fairly typical view on the ride. much curving trackage and the front view.

One more screen with additional info. You will be well informed, if a bit talk starved.

The roving camera does look out the window, once in a while.

Further up the line. CTC, single track and concrete ties.

             Live Train Cam is always ready. Here the train exits a snowshed.

The train and your trip continues to it’s conclusion. Donner Summit, Donner Lake, Truckee and right into downtown Reno. At 4 hours, this may best be enjoyed in stages.

A broadcast quality picture does give an excellent visual presentation. The lack of human discussion is where the program felt a little flat. Compare this to the rest of the BA catalog. It just doesn’t have that usual dose of extra, magical ingredients.

If the original Central Pacific, and early Transcontinental history is of interest, check their Hidden Wonder of the World program. That show is reviewed here, as well.

This cab ride is nicely done, and informative. By the way, the scenery is gorgeous!

Rating: 4 Stars

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