John Pechulis Media
Length: 72 minutes
Time Period: 1979-1981
Locations: Binghamton, Starucca Viaduct, Ninevah,Lanesboro, Mechanicville Yard..
Source: Paul Cooledge
Delaware and Hudson Railroad. Featured on the Susquehanna and Penn Divisions. The Conrail Southern Tier is included. March 1979 to October 1981 is the timeframe. Oneonta Yard is the home base of this show. Much action is centered from this location.
This was filmed on Super 8mm film, with sound. Most of the footage looks excellent. Sometimes the lighting is not the best. Colors are generally accurate. The few John Pechulis productions reviewed here all have strong film quality. His shows do excel in the visual department. Needs to raise the audio half of the equation. That would be, a good script and narrative. Also, attention to background noise management.
As with another JPM show, this has very limited narration. A commentary credit listed proves accurate. The voiceover is only present near the beginning of the program. Just some random comments for the first 15 minutes. After that, almost non existent for the remainder. A true loss for the viewers. Safe to say, many railfans gave never been near the DH, let alone around 1980.
On screen graphics are always used to denote locations. This serves adequately, much of the time. Other instances such as ‘rescue helpers’ to retrieve a stalled train call for more detail. The scenes are usually very brief. We jump from place to place. Plenty of action for certain. The hopping around feels like a bunch of endless runbys. This is where a narrative can tie scenes together, to smooth out a show.
The operations and equipment are very engaging. DH is now using plenty of EMD GP39-2 locomotives. Age is catching up to the vintage Alco diesel fleet. There are remaining RS and some Century class still in service. They don’t seem to be first choice for road assignments.
Former Reading and Lehigh Valley locomotives are units transferred to D&H. This was related to the formation of Conrail. D&H had received trackage and/ or trackage rights to offer competition to Conrail. None of this is discussed in this show. Glaring omissions. A single stab at a map reference proves useless.
Norfolk and Western has many of their locomotives on DH trains. They can lead as well as follow on the lash ups. In fact, NW cabooses are just as likely as DH ones on freights. Why all the NW equipment in use here? Again, no answers are provided.
Starrucca Viaduct. Commentary states these engines are running around their train. To push the freight onto the Conrail track. DH helpers arrive from the Conrail main. A detour move. Not stated, but possible. This DH crew was not qualified to operate on the Conrail trackage.
The show really makes a case for the importance of including professional audio. Here,it is mostly the live microphone. In fairness. the chance to just listen to the old Alcos is great. Most of the time, it is standard EMD power. Very familiar and nothing special. Half heard background voices do not help. Without narration, viewers are watching edited, raw footage.
In the end, it is a good collection of largely, random shots. Handful of amateur feeling scenes; of pacing and cab rides. A solid narrative would have raised the rating dramatically. Viewers are left with a bunch of unanswered questions. Recommended only for hardcore railfans. They can best live with no extra information. Everyone else will probably be a little bit confused.
The total. Good looking show with graphics for locations. Raw sound and almost zero extras. Rates a half star up for coverage of a somewhat uncommon railroad.
Rating: 3 Stars