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 the reference standard. Here to provide, high quality, train video product reviews. There are over 450 train video programs. All 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 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.

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. Market availability, is a show easily purchased?

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 operates on donated programs, or my own collection.

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, Pentrex, BA Productions, Sunday River and Catenary Video. Plenty of other good shows, are available from the other companies.

Where can you purchase shows?

I recommend; Railfan Depot, or Train Video Depot. Excellent service!

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.

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 via e-mail, if you’d like to donate. This site provides a huge 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 … 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.

Recent Posts

Conrail Memories of Big Blue

DVD-DCP-HS-BIGBLUE-3D-DVD-copy

Producer: Mary McPherson

Timeframe: 1985 – 1991

Locations: Effingham, St. Elmo, Teutopolis, Mt. Vernon, Smithboro

Length: 1 hour 55 minutes

Source: George Redmond

Another Conrail entry in The Heritage Series. Running on former Pennsylvania and Missouri Pacific lines. Big blue was busy in Southern Illinois!

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h09m03s763George Redmond video. Shot beginning in 1985. The quality is a little rough early. It improves as the timeline progresses. Those are some color issues. Picture quality is very good, for video. Sound is live audio.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h41m47s451This A is a single DVD-R. Chapter Menu,No which is pictured and numbered. Zero maps. Plenty of on-screen, location graphics. Mary McPherson narrates in an as needed basis. Plenty of space to hear the trains operate.

Early action begins in Salem, 1985.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h05m07s975Effingham in 1986 & 1987. Much more from this location in this show, various years.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h40m45s092Teutopolis has high speed trains.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h27m53s081Mount Vernon, in 1988. Conrail 3374 is on the point. This on Union Pacific rails.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h35m06s032Mary is a unique Producer. She often has an element of humor or straight up fun. In this show, a collage of Conrail pacing sequences are a gas!

Shot around Teutopolis. The trains operate at road speeds. They are every bit as enjoyable to listen to, as to watch.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h36m04s500A GP30 2213 is in the middle, on this eastbound move.

A quick break. Return to additional pacing. A pair of SD 50.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h42m36s784A quad of GP15 are a rare catch on the main! Noisy bunch, that remind us of sets of vintage GP9s.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-11h53m50s739This action, is almost as much fun, as a Lionel train running around a Christmas tree!

In 1989 now. Pacing With a GP40 leading an SD50.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h12m13s674CR 6273 with a hot piggyback.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h35m36s510Train INNL. Indy to North Little Rock behind 3375. At Benton.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h07m20s684The latter half drags off and becomes repetitive. Solid blue lash-ups of trains at the same locations. Effingham again. Union Pacific interchange is shown for a moment.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h51m20s209The common intermodal traffic, is also unexciting.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h46m53s085St. Elmo is frequently shown.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-13h19m37s882Finally, a change. Smithboro, Illinois. Here is the Conrail St. Louis line, at the BN crossing.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h33m44s484Again, back to Effingham area.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h24m16s600Compared to the somewhat similar, Conrail St. Loo to Horseshoe. Recommend this one for the better title. No, just kidding! Recommend this one, for higher video quality. Plus, the pacing action. The Illinois sections, cover about the same territory.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-13h33m32s696This show delivers a big bellyful of Conrail. No doubt about it. Fans of the Big Blue will be satisfied, at the near 2 hour length. Little deviation from the home road. For the rest, it may run too long. No scenic highlights. Already mentioned, is the repetitive nature.

vlcsnap-2020-02-24-12h02m37s563This is a good show. As is often the case with Diverging Clear. Less would be more, to my tastes. So, bump the rating up, if you like.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Rotaries 2, Battle to Open Donner Pass Leave a reply
  2. CSX 10 Augusta to Spartanburg Leave a reply
  3. Union Pacific, The MoPac Merger Years: 1986 – 88 Leave a reply
  4. 14 Miles Cajon Pass Leave a reply