Last Run Of A Cab Forward Over Donner Pass
Length: One hour
Time Period: 1957
Locations: Roseville, Sacramento, Auburn, Colfax, Emigrant Gap,Soda Springs, Summit, Truckee, Reno
Sources: Albert C. Phelps, J. Allen Hawkins, Jake DeVries, Stan Kistler
Late in 1957, Southern Pacific returned an AC11 class steam locomotive to service. The reason was to operate the engine on a final run over Donner Pass. An overnite roundtrip excursion. Sacramento to Reno. SP 4274 was chosen for the historic task.
Video Rails had originally released this show. Pentrex added it to their vast catalog in 2004.
Roseville Yard is where the story begins. The big articulated required maintenance. Test runs were performed within yard limits.
Here, one can appreciate the sheer size of the locomotive.
Pausing for a photo op, the 4274 put on quite a show. Most of the well known route locations are seen. Cab ride views and rear observation platform shots, really add to this fine program.
Multiple movie film sources recorded the complete tale, of a last look at an AC11 led train. Color, plus black and white footage offer a surprising variety of locations. The Overland Route is well covered.
Model railroaders will love the station area scenes. We are at Colfax. Special mention of cinematographer Albert Phelps. He had shot much of the show, in both formats.
Audio has authentic representation of the unique sounds generated by an AC11. Overall, the dubbed audio is only fair though. Silent crowds and auto traffic are a weird combination with steam. The sound is less obvious on lone locomotive shots. Considering the era of the production, it is fair quality. Just don’t look to close.
Jim Knight narrates a detailed script. The narrative is pro level. Informative and balanced. Viewers can learn some AC11 specifics and much about the Donner Pass route.
Elevation maps are a fine extra. Ruling grades and mileage are also discussed.
A magnificent scene. This one is credited to Jake DeVries.
The return, this is along the Truckee River. Black Widow EMD F-units are the mainline power on a few freights that are seen.
A sentimental journey. The loco was scrapped in 1959.
Steam fans of all ages and interest levels, will enjoy this vintage journey over Donner Pass.
Rating: 4 Stars