The Alaska Railroad

Alaska Cover.indd

Producer: Pentrex

Locations: Anchorage, Denali Park, Fairbanks, Whittier

Timeframe: 1984

Length: 90 minutes

A visit to the Alaska Railroad in 1984. Vintage F units were still operating. Chase or ride, several featured trains. Briefly see some other operations. Not a classic Pentrex structured program.

A detailed Chapter Menu is included. One basic map. No extra graphics. Bare bones.

Natural audio is the dominate soundtrack.

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Tour begins with an F unit can ride. The journey kicks off at Fairbanks. It is a ten hour trip to destination at Anchorage. This is a passenger train.

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Takes about a half hour to arrive. Basically, a non narrated trip. Unexciting for sure.

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The best scenic view from a bridge.

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Gravel trains are the next subject. Dave Drui brings his familiar voice. Unit trains are the deal. Hey, the narrative is very minimal.

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Some nice pace sequences.

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Earlier, a brief shop tour.

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A State Fair passenger train is next. Again, almost non existent narration.

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Whittier shuttle is the train that hauls autos and passengers.

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Visually, this show is fine. Alaska Railroad beckons for more in depth discussion.

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Ride in the back of a pickup truck on this train, to Whittier. Again, light on information.

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A barge operation transfers freight cars. This enables movements to the lower 48 states. See this in close-up.

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Check the ferry boat!

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A special Cruise ship train. Whittier at 6am. The passengers are hauled out. Porter to Anchorage. Another cab ride.

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Tacked on as the final chapter. A random collection of freight trains.

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The Alaska Railroad covers a beautiful area. It is one that many may never visit. Hence, a narrative would be highly desirable. This was a big letdown. Other shows do this much better.

A quiet and somewhat, sleepy presentation.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

 

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Heritage Unit Roundup

HUR-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe 2015

Locations: SoCal, Chicago, Yuma sub

Length: 1 hour 54 minutes

Pentrex dives into the somewhat boring modern locomotive railroad scene. They seek out those specially painted Heritage units.

These engines were schemes to commererate previous paint jobs or general railroads, as aqquisitions.

Let’s checkout some show highlights.

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As I have little interest in modern railroading. Only what is shown within this show, shall be reviewed. I really do not care what is missing.

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A detailed Chapter Menu highlights the individual UP units, plus a Norfolk Southern general listing.

Dependable Pentrex quality is assured.

Narrative includes some history on predecessor roads.

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Notable locations include: Cajon Pass, Beaumont Hill, Colton, Yuma and more..

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Amtrak has several units, that cover various phases. This scene from Chicago has a Phase One paint scheme.

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UP 1982 is a tribute to Missouri Pacific.

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UP 1983 is Western Pacific. The WP is a long chapter.Numbering is approximate merger years, more or less.

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UP 1988. The red Katy is a sharp looking one!

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UP 1989 wears the Rio Grande.

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UP 1995 in Chicago and Northwestern.

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UP 1996 is heavily featured.

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Why not? The Southern Pacific. One of the most attractive of the group.

Norfolk Southern visitors…

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Savanna and Atlanta, leads on an inbound and outbound move. Many leading Heritage units get paced.

 

A Virginian is buried in a lash-up.

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Pennsylvania is a vintage, eye popper! Nicely paced…

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The double stacks are what these newer locomotives are usually hauling. Endless long trains of container traffic. Yawn.

Heritage Unit Roundup. Pick your favorites. Argue what’s missing. Seems that Pentrex could have included more Eastern. Fine show of these modern diesels. Not my wheelhouse. Perhaps it is yours.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

Union Pacific Classic Collectors Series

VRUP-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1950s

Locations: Cheyenne, Sherman Hill line, Laramie, Green River, more…

Length: 90 minutes

Source: Video Rails

Pentrex has three former Video Rails shows on a single DVD. Hence, The Collection. All vintage Union Pacific Steam. Each feature is thirty minutes.

A master Chapter Menu allows access to the individual shows. Detailed menu on the shows. Narration by Michael Berger.

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Film and sound credits, contain notable names. All the elements are top shelf.

Big Boys

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An entertaining half an hour. Full color, high quality film. Informative script, that begins with the development of these locomotives.

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Big Blow UP exclusive Turbines were sometimes the assistance.

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A single F3A is almost comical in appearance, as a front end helper.

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Big Boys could also simply help themselves!

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Winter of 1956 is the final chapter.

Challengers

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Early history leads off with the growing need for larger locomotives. Wahsatch grades required ever powerful engines.

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The year 1936, saw the initial delivery of 15 new Challenger class. A second order included some improvements.

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1942 . New 3950 to 3969 were the Heavy Challengers. Designed to work in conjunction with, the Big Boys over the Wahsatch Mountains. Last of the series.

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Doubleheader with a Pacific. Both in Two- tone gray paint.

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In Nebraska the 3936 operated in the snow.

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Two tone grey Challengers we’re painted in Portland. Primarily assigned to passenger service. They are shown hauling freights.

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Last stand, were as helpers along the Green River. In a classic and rare scene…

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The Turbine is assisted by a Heavy Challenger.

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This is an outstanding Challenger show! A  chase through the mountains is a highlight.

 

Steam

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The venerable 0-6-0 switchers were in service for decades. They were stationed systemwide at Union Pacific yards.

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The 1243 is briefly seen in operation. Various UP steam engines are covered.

 

Former passenger engine Pacific’s were downgraded, until winding out their careers in freight duty.

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In 1958, at the Grand Island, Nebraska roundhouse. UP #428 is one of only 2 active steamers there. The Consolidations were used in branchlines service in later years.

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Mikado 282 . 1924 is one of the oldest operating in the Wahsatch.

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Northern’s. FEF class. 4-8-4. North Platte.

vlcsnap-2019-06-22-14h06m58s603Now in twilight, 833 is now a beater!

 

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A Challenger and Northern 839, are about to depart.

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Union Pacific put on a glorious steam show.

Here is a great collection of classic Union Pacific steam programs. Anyone with an interest in steam era railroading should find this an enjoyable look at the Union Pacific steam in the 1950s.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

The Stormy

STORMY-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Locations: Tucson to Lordsburg

Timeframe: 1995

Length: 90 minutes

Southern Pacific’s Lordsburg District. Filmed in the spring of 1995. Last of the semaphore signal usage there. Some double track installation, along with signal upgrades.

This was a power short SP. Leased units abound. No cabooses. Not much excitement in general here. Double stacks and more double stacks…

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Pentrex has a quality show. Excellent presentation. Detailed Chapter Menu. Full narration. Plenty of graphic extras.

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The show begins at the SP yard in Tucson, Arizona. It will proceed East until the conclusion at Lordsburg, New Mexico.

vlcsnap-2019-06-13-17h49m48s200SP dark grey paint is what you get.

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Maps are used at the appropriate times.

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The last of the vintage semaphore signals are shown in operation.

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There are some sizeable bridges.

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Much of the fleet needs repainting in 1995. Variety of locomotives.

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SD units are the dominate road power.

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Top notch videography. Note, the CSX locomotive on the lead.

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Pentrex does so well at the pan.

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There are some old structures from the steam era, still standing along the route. Check the GE on the head end.

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Amtrak makes several quick appearances.

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Willcox still has a Station in use by SP.

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After awhile, the trains begin to look the same.

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Intermodal traffic is the main traffic.

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A hot Union Pacific train breaks the monotony of SP led freights.

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Pentrex can be great at identification of trains. On screen graphics, combined with narration, decide this information.

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A couple of shortlines get a glimpse. Arizona Eastern here.

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The camera crew captures all of the major highlights.

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Here are some leased diesels.

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Lordsburg provides an anti-climatic conclusion. Fairly quiet. Oddly enough, Pentrex returns to Tucson!

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This is the lone caboose in this show. San Pedro Southwestern.

The route traverses scenic, yet relatively barren desert terrain. Sleepy, small towns. In fact, outside of the speeding freights, the show does have a sleepy feel. Most of the time, trains are the only thing moving.

Rating: 4 Stars

Great American Circus and Show Trains

CIRCUS-DVD.jpg

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1999

Locations: many

Length: 1 hour 20 minutes

The Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus moves by rail, via two trains. An antique Circus World Museum is hauled on a train to Milwaukee, WI.

James E. Strates transports a huge Carnival on the railroad. America’s last one to this. Operating along the Eastern Seaboard. I had never heard of Strates.

Each train has a unique history. In fact, Circus history is as fascinating as Railroad. They run parallel, when they had common goals. Moving the shows.

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A detailed Chapter Menu is provided. Very handy to navigate through the material.

Full narration by David Drui. Well scripted. Fine soundtrack. Enviornmental audio with all the sounds needed for a great show.

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Circus World Museum. Located in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Has it’s own fine historical base. A premier collection of antique circus wagons. Fred Dahlinger Jr. gives the history.

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The wagons are loaded in the traditional, Circus Style. Using horse teams and vintage D2 Caterpillars. One at a time.

Older fans will know, this was formerly moved by Chicago and Northwestern.

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Wisconsin and Southern E9 units pull the super colorful train to Milwaukee.

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A train chase, is a one of a kind.

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The full on parade features live animals in the wagons.

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America, is a steam powered Calliope. Rare musical sounds, to pair with this rare wagon.

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Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey. Blue train. One of the two, Ringling touring units.

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Over 300 people live on the Circus train.

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Elephants are featured. 

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Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey. Red train. This one is shown in greater detail. As far as the on/ off process.

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Modern equipment. Same process.

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James E. Strates Shows. Orlando FL.

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Perhaps, anti-climatic following the Greatest Show on Earth. Strates has a worthwhile story. Began as a wrestling show, by a group of Greeks. Leave the remainder of this intriguing tale for the show.

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The large Carnival has some huge equipment to transport. Rail provides the best solution. Jimmy Strates has excellent personal experience and details.

 

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 Lengthy train moves the goods from site to site. Although his employees room on the train. They differ from the Circus trains. His employees travel via the highways.

vlcsnap-2019-05-18-15h22m18s632Pentrex has a short musical video short. Showcases the James Strates show. Seen at the end of this show. Anderson, SC.

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Great American Circus and Show Trains

Here is an outstanding program of Circus and a Carnival trains. The progression from early history to current usage, leads any viewer to be able to understand the transportation aspect of moving the show.

The old techniques, as demonstrated by Circus World are time proven. Similarities to modern loading are readily apparent.

The inclusion of, actual events add much interest to any viewer. Vintage museum loading with horse teams. The Milwaukee parade. Animals with Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Brothers Circus. James E. Strates Carnival video. Excellent!

Perfect show for family viewing!

Rating: 5 Stars