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.

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. John Pechulis and Greg Scholl, as well. Plenty of other good shows, are available from the other companies.

I recommend Train Video Depot. Excellent service for many years.

Railfan Depot is equally fine.

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 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!



                                             American Train Video Reviews

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


Recent Posts

Pocahontas Glory Volume 2


Producer: J.R.Herron

Timeframe: 1950s

Locations: Roanoke, Blue Ridge

Length: 48 minutes

Sources: Ben T. Young Jr., H.R. Blackburn, C.H. Snyder, Howard Robins

Visit the Norfolk and Western’s Roanoke area. Detailed views of: Roundhouse, Yard, Passenger area, and West End. Go to Blue Ridge and more.

Narrated by Ralph E. Morse. Sound and music. No Chapter Menu. Map is on the product case.

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-12h35m52s004All color film. High quality transfer by Disney Studios.

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-11h53m34s995The roundhouse at Roanoke was 40 stalls. One of the busiest at this time. The narrative is loaded with more details, throughout the program.

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-11h54m19s100A diminutive shop switcher serves the Roundhouse.

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-12h04m14s320Powhatan Arrow by Schafer Crossings

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-11h48m55s836See Y  class power in hump Yard service.

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-12h07m38s863Schafer’s Crossing Roundhouse.

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-12h09m44s753Jawn Henry weighed over one million pounds.

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-11h51m59s415The Roanoke Yards are a huge facility.


There is a surprising amount to see at the Yard.

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-12h26m36s208The Roanoke Depot was a modern passenger type.


Plenty of J class locomotives are here.

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-12h22m16s289West End are the yard leads and a great location to catch more action.

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-12h29m57s104In 1957, a Convention had the Roundhouse open for touring.

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-12h33m38s341A couple of 2-8-0 were pulling the ’57 fantrip.

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-12h25m38s926 A rare sight to behold. Nose to nose Y class engines at work!

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-12h38m42s080Blue Ridge became a famous spot to film the last stand of N&W steam.

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-12h44m18s546GP9 diesels were the successor to the steam power on the line. While not nearly as strong individually, they could be lashed in multiple unit sets.

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-12h40m47s954Here is an outstanding collection of films with N&W steam. Edited like a feature film. An enjoyable visit to the past. Great for the whole family.

Rating: 5 Stars


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