Diverging Clear Productions
Length: 72 minutes and bonus
Time Period: 2012
Locations: Chama, Cumbres, Los Pinos, Lobato Trestle, Windy Point
Source: Kurt Jensen
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is a narrow gauge line that is known worldwide. This operation had been covered for years by railfan photographers. The line was built by DRGW in 1880. Abandoned by Rio Grande in 1969. Cumbres and Toltec operation since 1970. Diverging Clear has their modern take on the road with this 2013 release.
Three K36 class 2-8-2 Mikados lead trains up and down the mainly southern portion of line. Baldwin built in 1925. These former Rio Grande locomotives were some of the last steam used in American revenue freight service. Much of the original equipment and many structures survive today. A few minutes of old film open the show. Watch for a black and white that turns to color scene. Our producer having fun!
Basic narration seems to be the standard, on these tourist and museum visits by Diverging Clear. Location based information is delivered in a minimalist format. Kurt Jensen has credit for the cinematography and narration. He does a fine job with both, on the main feature.
By the time we are following the third train, the format does get repetitive. This may have been a good time to ramp up the narrative. There is so much history on the line.
A bonus chapter of Riding the Cumbres and Toltec, is included as a second section. Producer Mary McPherson now likes to offer this type of footage for those who want the opportunity to see it. Mary is a real world Amtrak conductor. She loves trains and films them, as well. Although her intentions are well meaning, the results are not of compatible quality.
Her desire to present everything, is also the downfall of shows like this one. The camera shakes so badly, this material is unwatchable. A painful, amateur 34 minutes. Spare me!
Extras such as: maps, timetables or interviews can also enhance the programs. None.
In summary. The main program looks great overall. Overstays it’s welcome with repetition. Narrative could have used additional historical background. A well filmed and pretty solid show. Viewers do get an excellent visual visit from 2012 season. Good.
The Second section is among the shakiest footage on a commercial release. This belongs on the cutting room floor. Fortunately, the menu gives the option to opt out . Rubbish.
Recommended for the main program only. That first section is worth your time.
Rating: 2 1/2 Stars