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

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Atlanta Steam Celebration

NRHS94-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1994

Locations: Atlanta

Length: 90 minutes

Two classic steam locomotives star. Norfolk & Western 611. Frisco 1522 .

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The Frisco engine receives better coverage. It was a newer restoration at the time. Notice, it was the leader on the doubleheader moves.

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N&W 611 does get screentime. Sharing it with everything else. A definite co-star.

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No Chapter Menu. On screen locations. Full narration. Enviornmental audio.

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There are several route maps. Filmed with high quality of Pentrex.

The Peach Blossom Special begins the show. Both locomotives pull this train towards the destination.

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The New Georgia FP7 pair, with a dinner train. Run out of Atlanta for their part.

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Georgia Northeastern is featured with a rare mileage trip. Behind geeps. A Marietta, one way, out and back.

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Frisco 1522, is a 4-8-2 Mountain type. An Oil burner now. It is shown running Atlanta to Macon.

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Plenty of 1522 scenes. Runbys.

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A good sequence of pacing the Frisco!

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The show sidebars into details of an off day for the steam engines. Veering off topic.  Checkout the model train swap meet. Look at the classrooms. Look, the banquet! Feels like filler.

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Not of interest. What activities were at a hotel. Spending time on the local transit system tour. Yawn.

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They continue with the Norfolk Southern tour. Their nearby training facility. Locomotive cab simulator. Real train on training trackage. Model train with signal training. A welding shop. Repair facility. All quickly.

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No promised ride on the 9 mile training track! Only a runby.

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Back to steam engines. The 611 pulls an excursion. At least, about halfway.

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Two Norfolk Southern diesels will handle the return trip.

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The train is then reassembled. Return to origin.

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A Royal Palm Special departs town on the final day.

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Shows like this don’t get me too excited. The thrill of seeing any restored steam locomotives operate, usually falls into a repetitive formula of runbys. Too much filler in this program.

This one is not my cup of tea. Maybe it’s yours.

Rating: 3 Stars

Kansas City Rails

KCRAILS-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Location: Kansas City area

Timeframe: 1996- 97

Length: 1 hour 38 minutes

Visit the number two, American Railroad hub. See the hot spots. Pentrex was there, in 1996 to 1997. Besides the variety of locations, many railroads operate in this city.

Amtrak, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, CP Rail, Kansas City Southern, Gateway Western, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific. Older pre- merger paint schemes, as well. Soo Line in original paint, seen below.

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No Chapter Menu. Too bad with the large assortment of locations.

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Basic maps. They have a healthy supply of these.

Narration with be natural sound. Good, even level levels. A fine script. The show is well paced.

A jet snow blower is shown operating. Not here. Too much to see, to have everything.

Many shots are somewhat obscured, at the beginning of scenes. Tree branches are the culprit. Perhaps, the way it is around Kansas City. The views do clear up. A bit odd for a Pentrex film.

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A BNSF on a Santa Fe crossing. Kansas City has a cornucopia of trackage and trains!

vlcsnap-2019-05-01-19h03m00s050Locomotives both old and new, will be found. Norfolk Southern 8854.

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Speaking of old. Union Pacific E9 units return from a Super Bowl game.

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Sticking with old for another frame. Model Railroaders can have a field day, with vintage structures.

vlcsnap-2019-05-01-19h16m20s240Chicago Northwestern 8686, leads a train on this stunning shot. Looks like a painting.

vlcsnap-2019-05-01-19h47m18s355Tough to choose a Kansas City Southern. These SD45T3 rebuilds are singular!

vlcsnap-2019-05-01-19h01m42s795Gateway Western with a transfer run.

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Apparently, CP Rail had to go through some circuitous routing, to get around the city.

vlcsnap-2019-05-01-20h06m15s819Armourdale Yard. This vast facility was a Rock Island property.

vlcsnap-2019-05-01-18h54m53s049Although the lighting isn’t perfect. The trestle displays a part of the charm of KC. Those Southern Pacific locomotives must be testing the strength of the steel.

vlcsnap-2019-05-01-19h22m20s850Burlington Northern original Cascade Green paint. This is still plentiful here.

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Santa Fe, is also beaucoup in both schemes.

vlcsnap-2019-05-01-18h59m26s486Soo Line 6045 still wearing it’s factory paint. Leads a Canadian Pacific move.

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This BNSF is going to Willow Springs, Illinois. Argentine Yard was a Santa Fe. It is featured and the largest in the area.

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The caboose was off the mainline trains here. Not even seen on the locals. This Union Pacific Super Bowl Special. It is a worthy closer. Times do change…

This show provides comprehensive coverage, of Kansas City and vicinity. It extends outward, into some rural locations.

The plethora of: railroads, trains and locations, is nearly overwhelming. It will stand up to some repeat viewings.

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

The Heritage Collection, Volume 1

Empire Builder Cover.indd

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1940 – 1950s

Locations: USA

Length: 1 hour 35 minutes

Five vintage films from the 1940s and ’50s. Professionally produced by the Railroad organizations of the time. Most, if not all of these have circulated. Convenient to have a group on a single DVD.

A detailed Chapter Menu breaks them down by the five movie titles.  A Play All option, as well.

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These shall be reviewed by individual title. All are narrated. Full color films.

A roll up and combined rating upon completion.

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Burlington Route FT set. One of the myriad of rarities.

On The Track 

AAR short film of 1950s era. Dudley Productions.  A shared theme of America produces, and ships by rail. Wide variety of railroads passby the camera.  

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There are a number of famous landmarks. Prosperous, post war America. There are similar films made during this time.

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Covers much subject matter in about 15 minutes. Historical look back into time. Heavy industry is one focus.

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Plenty of early diesels. F and E units dominate. A few odd, Alco and Baldwin units. Several steam locomotives.

 

Life – Line of the Nation

Another Carl Dudley Production. Don McNamara has the narrator credit.

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An earlier film. Deals with World War 2. The valuable role of US railroads to move the military. The industry to manufacture equipment.

C&O 1490 is shown above.

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Hence, a National defense theme. Milwaukee Road box cab electrics.

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Get busy identifying what you see in all of these shows. Look closely…

Florida East Coast!

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Milwaukee Road Hiawatha. Nice runby!

Runs about 20 minutes. Plenty of steam.

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Rare, New York Central Empire State Express.

Early diesels in small numbers here.

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The might of the US industrial complex, to support the war effort. Cooperation amoung the railroads to move everything.

The responsibility of the railroads to keep the peace time America rolling.

 

225,000 Mile Proving Ground

A 1958 produced, Association of American Railroads. Dudley Pictures.

The Headline Story of Railroad Research.

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The subtitle sums up where this movie short is going. These old films do like to emphasize just how well they are doing!

This Union Pacific Turbine, is the future.

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The science of Railroading. Metallurgy, as in more durable rail is one subject. Freight car design and uniform improvements.

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Improved refrigerator equipment. Santa Fe.

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Modern hump yard.

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Modern signaling for reliable train movements. Great Northern.

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Boxcars are constantly improved.

America’s 225,000 rail miles are the proving ground for so much technology.

Suffice it to say, A Chicago headquarters, was at the forefront, of the leading edge.

Railroads and National Defense

Dudley Pictures. Korean War era.

America: with natural resources, industrial might and a strong military. Ready to meet any challenge. Transportation is the key.

 

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This short is packed with early diesels!

Missouri – Kansas – Texas E units. MKT.

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This one reassures the public, that our railroads are more than ready to move the military.vlcsnap-2019-04-28-20h15m48s775

By now, you will notice the recycling of some footage. Remember, the producers were doing these films separately. They would have never dreamed of a single DVD!

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Seaboard train

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Buses move troops to the trains. Going to embarkation areas.

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Runs about 12 minutes. Many of the same trains seen previously. Like this Monon.

In a way, seen one, seen them all with these old short films. They vary somewhat. Yet, are quite similar.

Mainline USA

Also an AAR release from the 1950s. Dudley Pictures. Gilmore is this narrator.

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Probably the best of this collection. Many diesels. Pennsylvania Baldwin Sharks.

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Rock Island TA.

Again with the greatest America.

Same recycled footage. Much new and additional film.

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This one contains the largest selection of diesels. Western Maryland trio, in fireball paint scheme.

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Baltimore and Ohio F7A.

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Advances, such as truck trailers on flatcars.

Runs about 20 minutes.

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The Heritage Collection, Volume 1

Pentrex has delivered on the advertised. These vintage short films are of a historical nature. Repeat scenes, no extra charge!

Years ago, many old train films were difficult to obtain. Much has surfaced over the decades. There are still some rare birds. Although, only a quick glimpse of each.

Overall, an authentic period collection. Has trains, and much more. One viewpoint of American life. May or may not, be of interest.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

 

Steam to St Louis

S2SL-DVD

Pentrex

Timeframe: 1990

Locations: 9 states

Length: 90 minutes

Comprehensive coverage, of three of the largest steam locomotives. They travelled to the NRHS 1990 Convention, in St. Louis. Over 9 states and thousands of rail miles.

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Union Pacific 844. Norfolk and Western 1218. Cotton Belt 819. These are the Stars of this show.

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No Chapter Menu. No maps are given. There are location graphics.

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Cotton Belt 819 starts off at home. Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The Cotton Belt Historical Society is shown doing preperations on the 819 and passenger cars.

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Built in 1942. This was a recent restoration.

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A slim looking steam engine, compared to the other two in this show.

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The Cotton Belt locomotive has the least amount of screentime.

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Union Pacific 844 is seen at the Cheyenne Shops. It will pull a 37 car freight. A three day trip, to reach Saint Louis.


vlcsnap-2019-04-27-19h50m38s524The big Northern makes good time across Farmville. Unfortunately, slower traffic ahead will cause lengthy delays.

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Reached N. Platte Yard. Overnights.

Another freight assignment for 844. Eastbound to Marysville, Kansas.

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Hours of service expired on crew.

Next day, a short freight to Kansas City .

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The excursion runs out from St Louis. Back to Cheyenne, with the passenger consist.

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N&W 1218 at Columbus, Ohio. This is the biggest steamer in the show. Soft whistle, that is pleasing to the ear.

Pulling a passenger special right at the start.

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A stop at Portsmouth. The narrative on this 1218 chapter is insufficient.

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Maps are needed to track the trains progress.

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Some more discussion of this locomotive would have been good.

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Also, some information about the territory. Never heard of these places!

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So much for the minimalist approach.

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Yes, the natural audio sounds great. Yet, a balanced presentation works the best.

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This show was not what I expected. It centers on the three steam engines journey. To the St. Louis 1990 Convention.

The actual event is a totally separate release. Interesting, is this approach.

St. Louis Steam Celebration, is that show.

The program certainly needs maps. A three part Chapter Menu would have been good. Additional narration on the Norfolk & Western locomotive, would have been good.

Sum total. A solid show, it has three great steam locomotives. Enjoyable to watch. Good for family viewing.

Rating: 4 Stars