Narrow Gauge East of the Sierra

Narrow Gauge East of the Sierraspng

Sunday River Productions

Length: 31 minutes

Time Period: 1950’s

Locations: Owenyo, Laws, Keeler, Zurich

Sources: Wil Whittaker, Mac Owen, Otto Perry Library

MSRP: 29.95

Southern Pacific once ran a profitable narrow gauge line in Owens Valley California until 1960. The sparse desert with towering mountain backdrops reminds one of the 1950’s motion picture- Bad Day at Black Rock. Yes, diminutive SP steam engines are seen hauling boxcars and gondolas across desolate terrain.

sp9 borax otto perryThis show has had a 2007 digital remaster. Otto Perry was a famous photographer and filmed steam era railroads. His library contains over 20,000 photographs. Above, a train loaded with Borax, that will be transferred to standard gauge Southern Pacific Lines.

Carson Colorado mapA set of simple maps are clearly marked and useful. Graphics denote locations. A chapter menu offers the three cinematographic sources. The show was also reedited in 2007. It plays as an informative, smooth running presentation.

The late Alva Morrison narrates and he was the original producer. Plenty of operational information is shared.  Train sounds, some scenes sans narration. Brief musical interludes between the chapters are the rest of the audio soundtrack.

Wilbur Whittaker films are in Chapter One.

Believe this Whittaker Collection is from the early 1950’s.

sp18 railfansThere are railfans in the coaches. An early era outing behind the boxcars.

LawsService facilities at Laws. This compact scene is a natural for modellers.

sp18 turntable lawsA time honored Armstrong Turntable is manned on both ends!

Mac Owen films are Chapter Two.

sp9 sierra talcSierra Talc Company required that product shipped in boxcars,

sp transloaderTransloading facility to accommodate standard gauge interchange of bulk commodities.

borax trainThe remoteness of the area is felt in this scene by Mac Owen.

Otto Perry is the source for Chapter Three.

This satisfying chapter is half of the show length.

sp9Number 9 blasts out some steam. Almost seems ready to clean the dock!

sp ng 9

owenyo Borax loaded gondolas resemble a prehistoric unit train.

sp combineSouthern Pacific used a combine to serve as a caboose.

Sunday River has a fine little show in Narrow Gauge East of the Sierra. The half hour running time is all that viewers will see. Each of the three cinematographers provide their individual feel. Otto Perry footage is unique to this program.

Rating: 4 Stars

1 thought on “Narrow Gauge East of the Sierra

  1. The #18’s operational now, she’s currently visiting at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge to represent the oil-burning experience project since the wildfire last year.

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