Penn Central

Penn Central

Revelation Video

Time period: 1968-1976

Format: VHS     Length: 76 minutes

Locations: Horseshoe Curve, Jamaica, Pittsburgh, Pittsfield, Kearny, Washington, Albany, Selkirk, Marion, Oak Harbor, Lima, Johnstown, Conway Yard, Syracuse… many more.


This is 8mm film. It has many color balance issues. Some are pretty bad, green skies or purple foliage and earth. General image quality, is below average. That’s too bad, because the story is pretty good. The trains are unlimited, in variety and overall scope.

The show is absolutely loaded with train video action. Freight trains galore. Passengers get plenty as well. Systemwide coverage. All seasons and all-weather.

The show does have surprises. Ride the TH&B, a cab ride in a PRR E8, another cab in the Keystone, passenger train rides,pacing locomotives. You never know when we hop aboard a passenger train, or are transported into the cab of a locomotive. They are brief visits.

Huge array of power. Many 1st generation EMD, Alcos and Electrics. Many GG1’s. in PC, PRR and Amtrak. some of the run thru power: CB&Q F units, SP, SCL GE, B&M GP9 and early Amtraks. Many trains sport unrepainted NYC and some as PRR. That would be in the earlier years, after the merger.

Pittsburgh, much shot at Federal St., and the surrounding area, get an extended visit. Very interesting feature set, with a ton of trains. Bonus, weathered B&O F units pull freight.

Outside of the many image quality issues, there are the multitude of shots and the sheer volume of trains. Narrator is giving info, as needed. He adds some color with some news clippings, and backstory of the time. A musical orchestra background, in lieu of live sound. While i wouldn’t recommend this as a 1st Penn Central tape; it may be for the completest only, or those that just want more. Face it, these images have passed into history.

Rating 2 1/2 Stars


Rail Trek Vol. 2 – Midwest

Rail Trek Volume 2 – Midwest 

Revelation Audio- Visuals

 Format VHS  Length 80 minutes

Location: Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis. Also, New Orleans, Shreveport, Michigan City, Springfield and more.

Time Period: mid 1960’s – 1970’s. 1980’s a little too.

Sources: Ronald McElrath, Art Stout

Featured highlights: The Three- ring Joliet show, Ride the : KCS, L&N, Last B&O Capitol. Illinois and Iowa mainlines and shortlines. The 3 big train city meccas as listed.

There is much railroading covered. Oddly, this 1989 release has music background under the narration. It’s not bad, orchestra, much in a circus style and way better then some of the annoying electronica on other people’s tapes. The narrative is simple, he lets the music play, doesn’t fill up every space with talk.

There are a huge assortment of trains and railroads. All the major midwestern roads and many smaller ones. GM&O, KCS, IT, TP&W, C&EI, L&N, South Shore, are some. End of railroad owned passenger to Amtrak beginnings. Shortlines also covered briefly.

There are too many passenger trains. Again, a huge variety. The various rides on some are a treat. I enjoyed the street running scenes. Some vestibule shooting was good on some other runs. Thumbs up on the B&O Capitol ride. Would have liked more freight trains, and to see more freight cars.

The Chicago, St. Louis,  Kansas City sections are worthwhile, with looks at the yards and stations too. Joliet circus piece has many trains.

Quality. This is the downside of this tape. Much of the film does show it’s age. There are shots where the ground looks purple or the colors are washed out. A few views look watery. So, it ranges from below average to very good. For the most part it’s watchable. Just don’t expect Green Frog type viewing.

This train video is worth viewing for it’s mega sized railfan content alone. It loses points for the film quality and the lack of train sound, isn’t up to current standards.

Rating: 2 stars

My model, not in the film.