The Rathole combo DVD


Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1995

Locations: Danville, KY- Oakdale, TN

Length: 2 hours 28 minutes

A double release on a single DVD. Norfolk Southern’s, scenic Rathole Division. Located in Kentucky and Tennessee. Only Two tunnels remain. Multiple cuts, grades and bridges. A Rathole Cab Ride. An EMD GP60 on a Triple Crown Road Railer, is the second show.

Pentrex originally had these out on VHS tapes. A detailed Chapter Menu has been added with this combination.


The programs are narrated by David Drui. Dependable Pentrex high standards. No concerns, as far as production.


For this review. We will look at the pair separately. Tie them together, with a combined rating. Sound good? Let’s move!

The Rathole

Back in October, 1995 and Pentrex was filming the Norfolk Southern. Their Rathole Division should provide plenty of interest. Even, if the modern traffic isn’t very interesting. This line has a big, tough reputation. The Rathole! Certainly, it is worth a visit.


At Junction City, 3302 waits to enter one of the single track stretches. These bottlenecks make for interesting trainwatching.


King’s Cut was part of a 1963 line relocation. There were once over 20 tunnels on the Rathole. Only four remain. Only two in the territory.


Signal bridge at South end has 3303 meet.


While the large cuts are good backdrops. It would have been a trip, to see the twenty missing tunnels! That would be something.


Burnside, KY. Bridge Crossing Lake Cumberland.


A tobacco car designed for Southern an exclusive.


New River Bridge. A high in the sky structure. Tough to clearly photograph.

Most of this becomes repetitive. Trains and similar rock cuts or wooded scenery. Where are those tunnels?

An excursion train finally alleviates the monotony.

This show needed to be edited downward in length. It becomes a dragging show.

A tower visit deviates from the repetitive nature, of the less than exciting, modernized Rathole. It is a pretty route though.

Return to more Rathole diet. Deep cuts and same looking trains. Are we there yet?


Two tunnels are finally encountered! One exits directly on to a bridge. About time.


Pentrex has a good looking final location. Very railroad flavor.

Perhaps, they felt they need for more tunnels. A really nice addition of two more tunnels. These are technically beyond the Rathole district.


An abandoned, original tunnel. Still used by Maintenance of Way vehicles.

A good program overall. Not a favorite on my end. No major flaws. Just not very exciting. The territory, formerly known as The Rathole. That name fits better!


Through the Rathole Cab Ride

One may think. A Cab Ride on a single GP60 pulling truck trailers? Bah! Normally, I would agree. But wait. There’s more!

This is a one hour, Cab  Ride on the famed Rat Hole division. Clear weather. Fall colors.


The train itself is a high priority one. An NS Triple Crown Road Railer. These are 72 hot loads heading to: Chicago, Detroit, Ft.Wayne Crestline,Ohio and Canada.

Board at Emory Gap. Not at the Rathole yet.

The second week of November. Past peak leaves.

Radio chatter can be heard. Crew talks but engine cab is noisy.


Number 251 causes us to wait. Having equal Priority.  We pass other lower priority trains.

This GP60 bounces along…


Coleman has the Through truss bridges.


Nemo South.


The engineer describes the GP60, as a hot rod. It has plenty of, get up and go. Perfect for this service!


A few views still have late fall colors.


An old Rathole tunnel is visible.


High up, on the New River Bridge.


The rearward look, at the 72 Road Railers.


The train slows on approach for a crew change.


Excellent tour of the line. Hits the key points. Quick pacing that maintains interest. Enough variety within the parameters of a cab shoot. Nicely done!



The Rathole

The Rathole does not live up to it’s reputation. I suppose that, was expecting a pre 1963 Rathole. A route with many tunnels for starters. At least, thought to find tough mountain railroading. Like, some Union Pacific or Conrail in Pennsylvania. What I saw was more like a purring kitten!

Still a decent show. Simply limited by the constraints of standardized, modern railroading. Neat, clean and dull.

Through the Rat Hole Cab Ride

The Cab Ride is a shorter show. The fast paced action, benefits from the reduced length. Time passes quickly. This trip covers the same ground. The better of these two programs.

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

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