Memories of CNJ, B&O, and Reading Volumes 1 and 2

Memories of CNJ, B&O, and Reading Volumes 1 and 2cnj

Mark 1 Video

Length: One Hour

Time Period: 1950’s-1960’s, and beyond

Locations: NY Metro, Jersey City Terminal, Communipaw, Newark Bay Drawbridge, Bound Brook, Elizabeth, Allentown, more….

Sources: Vol 1 Wilson Jones, Phil Imbro, Walt Matuch/ bw Voume 2: Tom Nemeth, Wilson Jones, Phil Imbro, and Marc S.Balkin / video

Producer and Audio: Marc S. Balkin

Jersey Central is the main feature. Two half hour programs are combined on a single disc. A disclaimer states that some film isn’t top quality, and included for historical value. That is an accurate assessment of volume 1. A rough selection to watch.The black and white also has some very marginal quality. Excerpts from The Little Big RR by CNJ as well.

A ton of period locomotives are jam packed across this pair! Fairbanks Morse Trainmaster, Baldwin Babyface, Alco RS-3, RSD5, Alco Centuries and many first generation Electromotive diesels. Steam includes: CNJ Camelbacks, Reading and a Nickel Plate Road .

There isn’t any narration. This style was sometimes found during the 1980’s. At the time, railroaders were happy to be able to obtain the train films on home use VHS tapes. Graphics and some crude maps are used.

nys               Outbound CNJ move with New York City in the background.

babyface sideThe good news is Volume One is packed with rare locomotives. Camelbacks for steam. Diesels such as: Fairbanks Morse Trainmaster, and Baldwin Babyface on CNJ.

Additional coverage of the B&O bus connection service from Rockefeller Center. Ferry boat service on the Hudson River. A unique turntable for bus direction at the terminal. Watch for a rare B&O EA on The Royal Blue train. Newark Bay Bridge is an impressive sight.

Audio is nicely done. Authentic sounds that match the locos. Synchronized sound that is outstanding for a 1988 production.

babyface                                               Aptly nicknamed, Baldwin ‘Babyface’ diesel engine.

862This shot says it all. Mark 1 has a plethora of rare locomotives from the steam to diesel transition era. That is a genuine, early EMD F3A chickenwire diesel classic!

Communipaw Engine Terminal                                            crusader side                                                       Reading Crusader

779Keep an eye on the surrounding structures. Signal bridges, interlocking towers and stations abound. Always something with that vintage railroad flavor.

rs     The later Coast Guard or Red Baron, livery makes a few cameo appearances.

cab  Cabooses are all over these shows. Jersey Central and Reading classic Northeastern style.

Highly interesting show, if not a pretty one.

The subjects in Volume 1 will satisfy railfans who seek historic footage. Soundtrack surpasses the film quality. On screen graphics or actual railroad signage have locations. This  is all 8mm film. Ranges from fair to good. Geared for hardcore railfans.

Volume Two

Tom Nemerth of Railpace magazine is credited as the main cinematographer here.

fm alcoTime has progressed into the 1960s. Begins at Jersey Terminal, albeit with the less attractive green and gold livery. Reading gets major screentime. Random bits of old steam fantrips. Also, video from 1987 of Reading T1 excursion.


allentown yardReading Lines is a hidden gem. Action around Allentown, PA. This 60s era material is hard to find! Baltimore and Ohio plus Lehigh Valley are seen in small roles. Composition is much better here. Plenty of action in a very satisfying extended segment.

bethAlco RS3 types are plentiful. This Reading unit is at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

bo B&O or Reading units can be found in Jersey Central lash-ups. B&O sunburst GP30’s too.

2102Naturally, this 1987 video has the best quality. Volume 2 does have improved appearance .

The combined shows equate to about a standard one hour show. Viewing clarity improves over the years. Mark 1 has really packed the shows full of action scenes. Soundtrack is excellent. High rarity factor is another positive.


helpers                Reading GP30 helpers on a train that includes some classic boxcar views.

Railfans should find this a satisfactory release. Model railroaders may wish for clearer imagery.  Just don’t expect high viewing standards for the majority  of both volumes. Northeast fans can have a good time with this collection.

Rating: 3 Stars

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