About American Train Video Reviews: ATVR Ratings

 About American Train Video Reviews

Union Pacific 844 with Grand Canyon State Steam Special at Gilbert, AZ. WJ Hudson photo. 2011

American Train Video Reviews

American Train Video Reviews is here to provide, high quality, train video product reviews. There are over 250 train video programs, reviewed on this website. Fast growing and read worldwide, American Train Video Reviews, is the best!

Classic:  Diesel, Steam, Electric, Logging Lines and Trolleys.

Specializing in Classic Era with Vintage Film emphasis. Shows that are beyond the specialty focus, may also to be reviewed here. There are my exclusive reviews only.       No shows can be purchased on this website. I do not make any money from this site.

The shows are all donated from some generous people. Quite a bit of work, but worth the effort. I want to give the readers a great experience on American Train Video Reviews.

Some Recent ATVR Reviews are further down this page, in the showcase.

Make informed buying decisions.

There is a whole range of train video quality. Great ones, good ones and poorly done. It was after wasting some hard-earned money on bad shows, that I had the motivation to create this review site.

Better for the buyers. Better for the producers. Better for retailers. Nothing will drive an interested enthusiast from the market faster, than getting two, or three unsatisfactory shows, in succession. Could be other issues besides quality. The focus of a given show, the time period, soundtrack, too little color film, or not meeting other expectations.

An informed buyer can make better decisions. A satisfied buyer will want more shows!

Defined review criteria, to help you, with a fair and balanced review.

A general overview of the: train video title, production company, format, program length, locations, time period and film sources,are listed. A description of the content is included. Screenshots from programs are a very popular addition.

Quality is an important factor. Film, sound, and other production items. Content is equally important. Items include: subject matter, narrative, accuracy, and length. Do you get what you have paid for? Is the show a good value? Family friendly railroad viewing?  Enjoyable?                                             The reviews address these issues.

Long Island RS3 at Olyville.

The Railfan and The Model Railroader connection.

This is great information for: the railfan, model train builder, and collector.

Railfan: DVD’s are great for seeing trains. Modern production enhancements can yield truly enjoyable programs. They are fantastic, for a 24/7 trainwatching fix. Any road, all kinds of locomotives, areas of geography and bygone years, that I couldn’t travel to. Collecting train video programs is an interesting hobby as well.

Model Railroader: The shows are a huge source of information and sometimes inspiration. There are the obvious benefits to see. Weathering, Locomotive lash-ups, Train consists, Stations, Structures, Vehicles. There is also history and insight. Why did that road fail, merge, or become a behemoth? Were 40′ boxcars seen in 1970’s trains?  Maybe you find the reasons for peeling paint. Inspiration can come from viewing a railroad you’re not familiar with, or a new era, a new focus. Maybe narrow gauge steam gets your interest, or modeling in the Rockies after seeing a show. There is always something new to learn, even if your era is 50 years old!

I began this website with my personal collection. Most are DVD, there are some older vhs tapes. This site now operates on 100% donated programs.

The ATVR Ratings

 Ratings are 1 to 5 stars. Content, film quality, sound, rarity, accurate information and presentation are the main rating factors.

Star Standards : 5 Outstanding. 4 Very Good. 3 Good. 2 Below Average. 1 Poor.

You will find two basic levels of train videos, with some major differences.

1. Professionally produced. Highest quality, and ‘the industry standard’. These are the best available programs. Television broadcast ready programs are found here. Larger budgets, pro staff, and more consistent overall. See the ‘Top Producers’, for some of this level.

2. Amateur produced. Also, known as ‘hardcore’. These shows made on: home  equipment, consumer grade cameras, and little extras. May contain: shaky camerawork and assorted production issues . Sometimes, ‘hard to find footage’, can be found here. Quality range is generally; good to poor. The hardcore shows have their place.

Ratings consider the extra expenses involved in the pro shows. Amateur level is a simplified rating. Three stars are: Good. Those are recommended shows. As the hardcore show doesn’t compare to pro level, it is a fair method. Read the review text for more detail.

The overall concept is to level the playing field, to attain fairness and balance.

Adjust the ratings to your tastes. I try to provide a base of information, for you to form your own opinion.

Readers have asked…. Yes, 3 stars are Good shows, and recommended by ATVR.

A rating of 2 does have some major flaws, as noted. However, if it’s rare or your special interest, you may want to purchase it anyway. The rating stars are guidelines only.

Extra Information on Reviews

Sources. This is used to identify original cameramen. Useful for giving credit and for those who want to see more of a certain cinematographer. I obtain these from film credits or in certain instances, directly from the producer.  I strive for accuracy with these listings.

Maps: A standard consideration with today’s computer graphics. Maps are a great extra to have. Viewers can get a sense of a route and trace the journey. Keep in mind, that older shows were not often produced with maps. It would be unfair to deduct a 1988 produced show, for not including maps. The variety of maps, and map quality, are why this is listed.

The Producers : Consistently high production standards, rate certain producers like: Charles Smiley, Green Frog, BA Productions, Sunday River and Catenary Video, at the top. Plenty of other good shows, are available from the other companies.

You will find that ‘hit or miss’, is a reality at many companies. A ‘hardcore railfan’ show has flaws, and often is amateur filmed. Small houses often have limited resources .Some with various priorities (ex: museum/ tourist shows). They still release some worthwhile shows. In fact, anyone can issue a great show. Careful research should, alleviate most dissatisfaction with unsuitable titles. Credit must be given to any producer, who submits their programs for independent review.

Additional Material : I’m always interested in additional material to review. Vintage and classic train film is always welcome. Have reviewed other material as offered, to maintain a balance presentation for all readers. That has led to expansion beyond the original focus. Building a complete American Railroad overview. See the home page for areas that need to be covered.

Review requests for shows, should be directed to that show’s producer. Tell them you would like an ATVR review!

Production companies or individuals…. Contact confidentially via e-mail, if you’d like to donate. This site provides a large base for; popular, worldwide exposure.

American Train Video Reviews is a valuable resource that is: read worldwide, and is always available. Bringing you the best! Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We never close…. 🙂

Fun Stuff…..  Trains of Olyville …and….. Rush Hour at Olyville  (over 100,000 visitors) …. see the Links 🙂

Thanks for your interest!

William

                                                      atvr@rocketmail.com                      

                                             American Train Video Reviews

                                 All reviews and my photographs copyright by William J. Hudson.

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Railfanning With The Bednars Volume 5

Railfanning With The Bednars Volume 5

downloadfile

 

John Pechulis Media

Years: 1973- 1976

Locations: Allentown, Sayre, Lehigh Gap and more… Pennsylvania and perhaps elsewhere?

Source: Bednar collection

Length: 58 minutes

Here is one of the John Pechulis series of Bednar filmed, Eastern Anthracite Railroads. This volume 5 covers much more, then the 10 months preceding the formation of Conrail. Footage dates back to 1973! Locations jump around in a timeline  format.

Sounds like this was from Mike Bednar father’s collection. Found after the previous volumes were released. Not having seen any of the previous shows. I do not know if any of this film is Mike’s, or how everything fits together.

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Majority of cameras were focused on the larger railroads of this era. Quality footage is harder to find, of Lehigh Valley and Reading Railroad. We are quite fortunate, the Bednar films are available.

There are not any maps to follow. No chapters either. A formal organization is not apparent. The show does play better than it appears, organizationazionally speaking.

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Mike Bednar was an experienced railroad professional. He worked as a Towerman for years. He knew operations cold. Names nearly everyone who appears on film. Knows the designations of the trains. Locations are usually offered. Often, the contents of freight cars are known! This adds quite a bit of interest.

I would have liked to have had some in program,reference maps. Where the heck is Sayre? Lehigh Gap? Bloom?

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Strange places. Geographical orientation would have been desirable.

Model Railroaders will love the attention paid to freight cars! Plenty of yard scenes like this one. Freight consists with road trains are viewed. Valuable information of period weathering, as well.

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Reading GP30. In case you don’t know. Mike doesn’t do the locomotive call-outs often. Yes, he seems to know them all. At times, he will spit them out. Usually, too busy telling a story or giving an explanation or an opinion!

Film quality is excellent! John Pechulis goes through some detailed restoration process, from what I understand. The results are outstanding!

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The high resolution is the high point of this production. Very clean looking film. Accurate colors. Nicely done. Bi-Centenntial paint was seemingly everywhere if you were alive in 1976!

Sound is dominated by Mike Bednar’s very detailed narrative. Expert level commentary.

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Occassional humorous comments. Depth of knowledge is fascinating. He spent his life on the railroad. Very apparent when you listen to him speak.

There are natural sound scenes. Other scenes have musical background. Everything is balanced to acceptable levels. Narration is the dominant form.

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There  is a large variety of motive power to be viewed in Volume 5. Lehigh Valley is the main feature. Reading has plenty to be seen. Delaware and Hudson, also puts in a strong showing. Very colorful era!

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Not to be forgotten. Erie Lackawanna.Bednar travelled to record EL F-units operating at Bloom. Wherever the heck that place is located!  in this program. Additional EL power is present. SD power history was controversial on this Bloom line. GP35 locos are seen elsewhere on a freight.

Lesser amounts seen are Jersey Central. A few cameos by others. B&O and some steam power.

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By this late date. Deferred maintenance has become a serious problem. Bad derailments have.caused some major wrecks! A few are on this show.

Large cranes are shown operating. This demonstrates the type of access that the Bednar’s enjoyed. They were able to get close to the action.

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Hulcher equipment is likely rare footage. Mike believes it was the intial usage of them, on a wreck, on Lehigh Valley. Interesting, this show contains the old steam era cranes and the modern Hulcher style of wreck removal eqiupment. Mike was a proud professional. These men were upset to see their once excellent roads deteriorate.

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A wide variety of motive power is on tap. Alco Century locomotives are operating on the Lehigh Valley plus the Delaware and Hudson. General Electric is making obvious inroads. EMD is easily found amoung all the railroads. All in all. This is a great looking collection of the Bednar films.

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Cinematography is excellent overall. Nice, camerawork. Colors look great! Everything is well-balanced. A top notch appearing DVD.

Narrative is informative and interesting. Once you become used to Bednars voice. Well, it is authentic. I do find him entertaining!

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Certain items that are not present. Maps and chapter selection, are what keeps this show, from the excellent rating .There is the difference between say a Charles Smiley Presents and this John Pechulis. No favoritism. Both productions can look outstanding. Both can be informative. It is those extras that are or are not included.

Very Good. A worthwhile look at some action in the 1970s NorthEast Railroads.

A strong and enjoyable show.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

 

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