Southern 4501 to Summerville

Southern 4501 to Summerville$_57

Diverging Clear Productions

Length 80 minutes

Time Period: 2014.

Locations: Chattanooga, TN to Summerville, GA

Cameras: McPherson, Jensen, Redmond, Dunn

Producer: Mary McPherson

MSRP: 20.00

2015 release


Ever the busy producer, Mary McPherson has a current release with Southern 4501.  The star of this show is the famous 4501.  DCP draws footage from 4 videographers. Many runbys that showcase the 1911 built Mikado hauling passenger excursions in 2014. Plenty of steam shrouded mood shots add some variety.


Kurt Jensen narrates with his relaxed style


Informative background chapter with history of related Southern Railway steam. Includes some additional Southern steamers. Older video has the 4501 from an earlier time.


2015-09-07_232207                                                 Early morning action.


2015-09-07_231853                       Doubleheader with a Tennessee Valley Consolidation.

2015-09-07_232515                                                       On the turntable.



The narrative completes. Viewers are left with plenty of natural steam action. Graphics denote locations.2015-09-07_233017

Southern 4501 To Summerville is about what one would expect. Contemporary action of a vintage steam locomotive. The program plays fine. Railfans should find this a good release.

Rating: 3 Stars



Pullman Rail Journeys – Rebirth of an American Legend

Pullman Rail Journeys – Rebirth of an American Legend cover

Diverging Clear Productions

2014 Release

Length: 53 minutes + preview section

Time Period: 2014 with some vintage film.

Locations: Chicago – New Orleans roundtrip

Sources: Mary R. McPherson, Kurt I. Jensen, George Redmond


Here is a new take on an old favorite. Most railfans are aware of classic train era Pullman service. Operating their renowned cars on such famous passenger trains as: The 20th Century Limited, Broadway Limited, Panama Limited and the Super Chief. This was luxury level travel, aboard the finest trains in the country. The experience was an integral part of the journey.

amtrak city of new orleans locomotive                      What does this historic aspect have to do with a 2014 Amtrak train?

So happens that our producer Mary McPherson, is also a real life Amtrak conductor. Her regular assignment is on The City of New Orleans. Another train that is rich in history. Viewers will take a roundtrip on this train. However, we will travel in style, aboard a 70 year old, updated and refurbished, genuine Pullman car. While the Amtrak cars are nice, this trip is unique.

Those familiar with Diverging Clear Productions have witnessed an evolution in their programs. Improvements in equipment, and overall production are a welcome sight in the train video market. If you have seen some of the earlier releases, you are in for a nice surprise. The level of professionalism has been on the upswing over time. Mary has been on a mission to offering railfans improved releases.

Let’s see what her and her companions have been doing aboard the Pullman…

Kurt Jensen is a familiar voice on DCP programs. The script is well written. An abundance of narrative covers quite a bit of ground. In a classic style, A chapter of Pullman background opens the show, along with some vintage film.The structure of the Pullman crew is informative.

Chicago tail         Fast forward to present day, in Chicago. Amtrak #59 – The City of New Orleans.

20th century limitedThis 1950’s scene appears to be on the New Yprk Central 20th Century Limited.

dinner 2014                                                     Here we are – at dinner, in 2014.

This trip offers interviews that interpolate with Kurt’s narrative. We will hear from a few members of the Pullman team.

moore Jody Moore is one. He is a natural for on-screen work. All of his discussions are clear, and he is just a good listen.

chi night 2The overall cinematography on the 2014 shots is first rate. Solid and smooth. Mary favors night scenes and they are all nicely illuminated. The various scenes are smartly chosen. This is Chicago. Amtrak/ Metra yard.


Editing is smooth. Each chapter has a definite close. In fact, this show is one of the tightest edits that DCP has released.

Musical interludes, natural sounds and even more vintage cuts, are intermingled throughout.

Iowa Pacific is the entity that: collects, restores and operates these cars. They are all painted in the old, Illinois Central passenger scheme. Lettered for the current road. Original,chocolate and orange livery.

hammond la In both directions, some classic train stations are seen. They are beauties.


Rick Hansen discusses specifics of what Pullman crew members actually do on their jobs. All of the Pullman personnel are fine communicators. This is likely a big part of why they are in these positions.

cn 2727 A note of interest. This train traverses the Yazoo District since the 1990’s. A deviation of the original Illinois Central route. Strange for me, to see Canadian National power this far south. A new age indeed.

vaugn ms

The return trip is exactly that. However, their are some surprises. I would have liked even greater detail regarding  – what happened here. It is still good, a little more story needed, for the family viewers benefit.

Also on my want list would be a brief tour of the car interiors.

iowa pacific memphisPullman Railway Journeys – Rebirth of an American Legend. A fine program for the entire family.

For those seeking a train program that is about current railroading, this one is interesting. The hour you spend here, will pass quickly. The hallmark of an enjoyable show.

Mary, you have come a long way. Congratulations!

Viewers, this show is highly recommended.

Rating: 4 Stars

Steamin’ In 2012

Steamin’ in 2012

Diverging Clear Productions

Format: DVD-R

Length: 70 minutes + previews

Time Period: 2012

Locations: Six States

Sources: Mary McPherson, Kurt Jensen

MSRP: 20.00

Producer Mary R. McPherson has had a very busy 2012. This new release contains six steam locomotives from this year’s operations. Available in: small, medium, large and extra-large sizes. Just in time for the holidays!

Experienced railfans have likely seen most or all of these before. The advantage of this ‘best of’ type collection, is to have the year of 2012 on a single DVD. Recommended for children too. The action is constant. Steam whistles and chugging locomotives keep this show at a brisk pace. DCP offers many steam shows. This is a great extended sampler.

Kurt Jensen narrates this program. An effective, yet sparse script that has the environmental, natural audio center stage. Brief intros for each featured locomotive.

Diverging Clear often has great railroad audio. Clear and lively. Accurate, occasionally too revealing. They also offer a variety of CD’s with railroad sounds.

Picture quality is excellent. Camerawork is generally excellent.

Cumbres & Toltec #488 and 484. Exterior shots of these narrow gauge trains, in the summer. Film and audio are excellent. Not always the smoothest panning here, though camera is on a tripod. Chama to Cumbres Station.

Opposing train is led by K-36  # 484. Yes, Windy Point is seen in this chapter. Return with 484 to Chama, New Mexico.

Union Pacific #844 is the big Northern 4-8-4. Footage from Shiloh 844 is shown. This was a sometimes windy affair, you will hear it yourself. Partial chase of this excursion. See the Missouri River and selected stops along the trip. Nice scenes from Illinois and Missouri.

Little River Railroad #110. Baldwin built in 1911. Number 100 was the smallest standard gauge Pacific type constructed! This gem is located near Quincy, Michigan. The run is straight out and back, swap the loco around- museum style.

Southern Railway #401, a 2-8-0 at Monticello Museum.  Push pull operation. The pretty 401 was returned to operation in 2010. Check the 1920’s era passenger cars. A Nickel Plate Road customized flatcar hauls a standing room only crowd! The Wabash caboose is a fine extra. Modern man elements appear in most scenes. Still, a pleasing engine.

Rio Grande Scenic #18. Alamosa towards LaVada Pass, Colorado. The coaches are decorated in, classic Illinois Central, chocolate and orange. The consolidation moves at a brisk speed. The steamer had served time on the the Grand Canyon Railway.

Nickel Plate #765. The well known 2-8-4 is at Fort Wayne, Indiana. An employee special for Norfolk Southern is the reason for the move. St. Louis is the destination. Highlight: a great sequence with 765 paced. For those who want more, DCP has a new release titled- Steam Returns To The Wabash.

Steamin’ In 2012…. At 70 minutes this program has fine balance. If you even seek more, check Diverging Clear for full length titles. Everyone in the family, should find this to be an enjoyable way to spend some time watching steam trains.

Rating: 3 Stars

Louisville & Nashville #152: Out On The Mainline

Louisville & Nashville #152: Out On The Mainline

Diverging Clear Productions

Format: DVD-R

Length: 35 minutes

Time Period: 1986

Locations: Seaboard System trackage: Kentucky Railroad Museum, Anchorage to Lexington KY.

Source: George Redmond

MSRP: 20.00

Louisville & Nashville 152, a Pacific type locomotive, is the featured steam engine. Follow 2 roundtrip excursions in 1986. This is the a rather short film, at 35 minutes. As steam specials can be repetitive, the half hour seems sufficient here.

The Heritage Series offers a growing selection of videos that were shot by George Redmond. These are straightforward, no frills programs that do contain old videos of trains. Ranging from steam excursions to major railroads, the series is worthwhile.

There is a chapter menu. A generous preview section is included. Videotape is the film source. This is amateur shot footage. Camerawork is steady overall, a few shakes and jars too. The views are varied. Appearance is very good, albeit with some minor flaws, as is common with older tapes. Color balance is good. Appears to have had some color correction, ex: yellow skies to blue. Audio is natural sound with narration. The sound is fine.

The year of 1986 was a great one for restored steam locomotives across America. A brief review of operating engines leads off this show. Snippets of various operational power is reviewed.

Number 152 is chased on Seaboard System trackage in Kentucky. Here, there is no diesel protection in the consist.

Producer Mary R. McPherson steadily improves her train videos. The latest presentations: look, sound and seem smoother overall. She has many talents. An Amtrak conductor, she is very knowledgeable in railroading. DCP has been working hard to bring railfans a larger catalog of shows. After viewing many shows from her, it is clearly, a love for trains!

The train encounters a few grades along the route.

Diverging Clear has delivered a good show of L&N #152. Steam fans of 152, can have a nicely done program to add into their collections.

Rating: 3 Stars

Steam Returns To The Wabash

Steam Returns To The Wabash

Diverging Clear Productions

Format: DVD-R

Length: 70 minutes + previews

Time Period: 2012

Locations: Fort Wayne to St. Louis excursion..

Sources: Mary McPherson, Kurt Jensen, Tom Dunn, Kurt Jensen

MSRP: 20.00

Mainline steam has become a bit of a rarity. Norfolk Southern has 21st Steam as this railroad’s steam program. Needing additional steam power, Nickel Plate Road #765 was the active steamer chosen by NS.

The #765 is the Northern States representative for 2012 specials. Southern #630 represents the Southern States. A section is filled with still photos and history of the steam program. Southern 4501 is another participant, though currently out of service. Historical aspects and resurrection of the NS steam program are discussed. A little in house contemporary DCP video footage rounds out the history.

Our story begins in New Haven, Indiana at the Fort Wayne Historical Society. It is September, 2012 . The video looks sharp! Lively, environmental audio too.

Diesel assist seems to be the standard operating practice nowadays. Two very stylish diesel locomotives have the honors on this excursion. Heritage schemes for Illinois Terminal and Wabash look great!

Diverging Clear has this newly released train video of the 765 on a few moves in 2012. The centerpiece is an employee special from Ft. Wayne to St. Louis. A detailed chapter menu breaks it down. The previews are the extras.

One wonders if any old steamers work much at all anymore, with all that state of the art horsepower trailing in modern combined lash-ups. An inside source informs that, the 765 is doing 100% of the pulling.

The train will travel on former Wabash trackage. A basic map on the DVD case shows Decatur, Illinois as a point along the route. Final destination will be St. Louis. On- screen graphics label the multitude of one horse towns. Plenty of farms and crops are present.

                              A smooth pacing sequence of the engine is a show highlight.

Modern camera equipment does look mighty fine. In fact, Diverging Clear is constantly upgrading their field and post production gear. The results are excellent. Audio is a combination of natural sound and a narrative.

After viewing many of their shows, the overall soundtrack quality, is noticeably improved. This program has the complete trip of the excursion. One of their best contemporary steam shows from Diverging Clear.

Kurt Jensen is the narrative host. Nicely performed. Oh, he sings too!

The special is chased as it traverses the line.

Scenic bridge crossing into Decatur. Overnight stay will be in this town.

The following day, the 765 is sporting a replacement steam whistle. The lower toned Steamboat type. Which one is better? You will have to decide for yourself!

Passenger cars are lettered for Mid America. Background information would have been a helpful addition to the program. Some historical discussion on some of the cars, or the Wabash line itself, would break some of the monotony of the rural runbys. The shots are there, but some variation in the narrative is needed to better balance the overall presentation.

                           The deadhead return move to Fort Wayne, sans diesel assist.

Steam Returns To The Wabash, is a good looking and sounding show. Fans of Nickel Plate Road 765, and modern steam excursion folks will enjoy this program.

Rating: 3 Stars