Cajon II combo


Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: early ’90s

Locations: Cajon Pass, SF+ SP

Length: 2 1/2 Hours

Here is a two for one, combination release. On a single DVD. The shows are titled as the following. Cajon II- Railroading in the ’90s. Cajon Pass Cab Ride.

This DVD release, has been further improved, with Chapter Menus.

Each program shall have separate reviews. A combined rating at the conclusion.

This was filmed before the mergers. Santa Fe, Southern Pacific and Union Pacific, all were individual Railroads.

Cajon II
Length: 90 minutes
Source: Video Rails

This was originally produced by Video Rails. The Chapter Menu offers a split by SF or SP.

John Leslie is the narrator. Script is on the lightweight side. Has some background and current information. At a ninety minute show length and two mainlines. There was room for more.


Videography is first rate. Really well done! Plenty of locomotive variety.


Audio has natural train sounds in good balance. Fine pacing and editing.

Several Rio Grande locomotives appear.


Maps are included and referenced on both SF and SP routes. Elevation maps are a great extra. These are seen progressively.


An extended look at San Bernardino facilities. Some of the structures,are scheduled for demolition.

vlcsnap-2019-04-26-15h17m42s082Long lash-ups of SP and SF on approach to Cajon Pass.


Amtrak’s Southwest Chief.


Cotton Belt units on the point.


At Blue Cut in 1993. UP has a failed E9B.


Sullivan’s Curve with blue warbonnets.


Scenic vistas abound.


Santa Fe in the foreground. Southern Pacific on the upper track. Looks like a model railroad scene.


Winter makes a brief appearance!


The Santa Fe crossovers get everyone back on the correct mains.

vlcsnap-2019-04-26-16h46m21s586Windup at Victorville. Santa Fe crossing over Cajon Pass complete.


Surprised that the camera goes back out. Onboard a Southern Pacific train. In the cab. A truncated ride it turns out to be.

Cajon II

An excellent program. Beautiful videography, that captures trains and scenery of Cajon Pass area. Good pacing that keeps the interest high.

Variety of power compensates for the less interesting consists of the trains. The natural audio sounds fine. Narrative could have been stronger in content.

Cajon Pass Cab Ride

Length: One hour

Source: Vide Rails

Now the viewpoint is turned around.

SP symbol,WCEUM. SD40T2 #85372, with 5 units. West Colton to Eugene Manifest.

The train yard at Colton. Unclear what exactly is happening. A random collection of shots.

Until, our train moves. Yard speed exiting this area.


Same footage as was pieced out at the end of the previous show. Naturally, this is the complete version.

A route map and an elevation map are provided.

Narrative begins as full and fades off…

Train moves along slowly. Wasted opportunity, to augment with discussion.

The videography is excellent. Professional and the cameraman has an eye for moving the viewpoint.

There is no talking after leaving the yard. This quickly turns into boredom!


The train moves along slowly. Not even radio chatter. Only the locomotive sounds.


Sullivan’s Curve. A faster Santa Fe intermodal, gives relief with it’s airhorn!


Plenty of peeking back at the lash-up. Check the pair of SD9s. One in Kodachrome paint.


This is a long sixty minutes. A great example of how to film a cab ride. Move the camera. Same as you would swivel your head.


Several locations are noted with graphics.


This would be so much better with some talking.


Are we there yet? This silent ride is a drag…


Detrain at Phelan. The crew seemed friendly enough. Why not talk to them?

The lack of narrative, during the cab ride. This constitutes the bulk of this show. It drags it down. Makes this a one and done. The first show is the winner.



Cajon II combo 

Both are Video Rails original programs. They offer professional videography. The narrative portions are weak. Especially, on the Cab Ride.

Fans of Santa Fe and Southern Pacific should still find these to be worth viewing. The Cajon II being the stronger of this pair.

Rating: 4 Stars


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