Huntington Steam Combo


Producer: Pentrex


Locations: Huntington, Owasso, Lima, Cincinnati, Kenova, Hurricane, Thurmond, more

Length: 3 Hours

Sources: Dan Hadley, Stan McInturf, Mike Topham

Pentrex with a two for one show. Steam to Huntington. Huntington Steam Celebration. Featured locomotives are: Pete Marquette 1225, Nickel Plate 765 and Norfolk and Western 1218. The two shows combine for 3 hours of entertainment.

National Railroad Historical Society event in 1991. Main celebration at Huntington, West Virginia. The first program shall be focused on the steam engines, as they travel to the gala.

vlcsnap-2019-08-01-19h25m33s021Here are the high standards of Pentrex quality. Visuals, audio, script and editing are all razor sharp. Too much to get it all. Some highlights within…

vlcsnap-2019-08-01-21h54m24s647David Drui is rock solid, with a smooth narrative on both shows. The choice of which program. No Chapter Menu.

vlcsnap-2019-08-01-18h25m24s523Nice maps on both shows. Timely usage.

vlcsnap-2019-08-01-21h24m16s852Plenty of on screen graphics with locations and dates. A lengthy preview section follows the program.

Steam to Huntington

vlcsnap-2019-08-01-17h57m04s315Pere Marquette 1225 is the lead-off player. At Owasso, Michigan. This will be her maiden voyage outside of Michigan. A 1941 Lima built Berkshire.

vlcsnap-2019-08-01-18h24m49s711The camera crews get many angles. 

vlcsnap-2019-08-01-18h28m22s186A tribute to the Lima Works at Lima, Ohio. The two engines sound their steam whistles as they pass their birthplace!

ne31 Included this shot is purely for kicks! Steam rules!!

vlcsnap-2019-08-01-18h51m43s368The double-header continues onward.

vlcsnap-2019-08-01-18h49m13s516A restored Nickel Plate caboose, on this train.

vlcsnap-2019-08-01-18h53m48s425Cab ride aboard the Nickel Plate.

vlcsnap-2019-08-01-18h59m38s844Norfolk and Western 1218 departs Cincinnati, Ohio. The behemoth, articulated is a striking contrast to the Berkshire types.

vlcsnap-2019-08-01-19h12m41s798All the engines have fine pace sequences.

Huntington Steam Celebration

vlcsnap-2019-08-01-20h58m15s514The N&W 1218 appears seperate. Reason being the trackage didn’t connect to the CSX.

vlcsnap-2019-08-01-21h38m04s687Two days of excursions behind the lone 1218 are shown.

vlcsnap-2019-08-01-21h13m07s231Oiling around is a necessary and time honored tradition of steam operation.

vlcsnap-2019-08-01-21h38m31s810The 1218 is an awesome spectacle!

vlcsnap-2019-08-01-21h32m36s334The tail car on the N&W consist.

vlcsnap-2019-08-01-22h12m45s115NKP leads the PM on the double-header move. This is at Thurmond. A town that is frozen in time.

vlcsnap-2019-08-01-18h43m25s505The 365 is highlighted with some pacing.

vlcsnap-2019-08-01-21h52m14s555The main event is side by side running of these Berkshire class locos. Memorable!

vlcsnap-2019-08-01-21h40m28s532The NKP 365 was pulling a string of empty CSX Hoppers and this Chessie System caboose.

Huntington Steam Combo. A great show, that features a trio of classic steam locomotives. Beautifully recorded in the visuals and audio. Some fitting scenic areas. Perfect for family fun. One of the top Pentrex modern steam releases.

Rating: 5 Stars



Rail Trek Volume One: The East


Producer: Ron McElrath

Timeframe: 1960s-70s

Locations: East-South

Length: 140 min

Sources: R. McElrath, W. Sasser

One of three Rail Trek volumes. Eastern version. Wide coverage over 20 railroads. Updated in 2017 by Revelation Video for DVD release.

The new DVD has film repairs listed as: cleanup on splices and edits. Original sources of 8mm and Super 8. These still show limitations. Good to fair picture quality. Green overcast on occasional scenes.



A detailed Chapter Menu is a fine addition. This lengthly program needs this feature. Especially, as it spends too much time on certain subjects. Definite pacing issues.


A new, update (on- screen graphic) is used to correct previous narration mistakes. Even a bit of additional information.

The show is in full color. Brief segments with some live audio. Mostly a musical background. Same as previous edition.

Fully narrated by Ron McElrath. Same as the VHS series. Above scene from Marion.


Show is a mixture of lineside and passenger train ride films. Covers a huge range of territories! Waynesboro, if you have trouble reading.

There is more than a basic review can fully get through here. Overview with some of the important parts to know.


The railroads in the Southern states are hard to find. These alone, make this worth consideration. L&N, C&O, Southern, Auto-Train. Ride upon and view trains. You just don’t find much of anything, in the South on a train DVD.

Good developments, later in this show.

Earlier on, it was dragging badly. Roads that I like too. Just revolving, around and around, on passenger trains.

*Breakdowns are boring. The audience doesn’t care. Stuck like a bug on flypaper. Cut it short! The show is dragging…


Endlessly looking around on New York Central. Finally, get out of there.



Look! A neighbor, called New Haven. A chilly trip. Out and back, on a branchline


A huge commuter mover. More than just Jamaica Yard. Long Island Railroad. Receives maybe, a minute! Really? Ugh…


Only to get fixated, upon the very attractive Delaware and Hudson Alco PA locomotives.  Move it along…


Norfolk and Western. This one scene is the best looking. Kind of loses it at Kenova. Experiments with shots and most don’t work. Chesapeake and Ohio. He blows most of the shots here miserably…


Louisville and Nashville. Excellent choice. Rides an oddly named Pan Am train.


C&O. 2nd chance. Gets it right now!


Southern. Look South. GP30 looks awesome with a high hood.


Birmingham. Hot Spot deluxe. A manned swing gate. Frisco here. More trains are seen. Who knew about this? Gate open…


Take another look… Gate closed. Excellent.


Florida. Auto Train gets a glimpse. Florida East Coast with a caboose is included within.

Florida has much more.

Pittsburgh in 15 minutes.. A fine chapter!


Obligatory Amtrak shot. Cooler than most, with Three Rivers stadium!



Pittsburgh and Philadelphia had vibrant trolley systems too. McElrath shows quite an assortment in both cities. I only have space for one. You’ve been told about it.


Still in Pittsburgh. B&O action all around.


Pittsburgh & Lake Erie. A train ride there.


ATVR bonus. The Orange C was a give to ‘Green team’. New York Central. Red P was supposedly Red team. PRR staff. Neither side was satisfied. Everything reverted back to all white lettering. The rare, Orange C sure looked better to me! At Marion.


In Ohio, things really get moving along. Erie Lackawanna is plentiful.


Detroit, Toledo & Ironton, shows up for a minute.


Marion Hot Spot. The ultimate all time?


Get your good Norfolk and Western here.


Recent early 1980s steam inclusion. Needless here. Better quality, easily is obtainable elsewhere. Quit when you are ahead.

Matter of fact. All steam on this show doesn’t really fit. Including, the poorly filmed breakdown outing, in the cold. Drags it down. Time waster that should not be here.


Now, Atlantic Coast Line is a caboose, one rarely sees in service. There are some hard to find ones, bringing up the rear.


Rail Trek Volume 1 The East The 1960s- 70s.

This show sure gets around. Large amount of railroads. A supply of rarities. Overall, weak on film quality. Needs some additional editing, for time. Create a stronger presentation.  Nice updates on the VHS. You have: the good, the bad and the ugly. A mixed bag. Make your choice.

Rating: 2 1/2 Stars


Wallin’s Wonders


Producer: Ron McElrath

Timeframe: 1960-65

Locations: Ill, MO, TN

Length: 50 minutes

Source: Dick Wallin

Dick Wallin film collection of the headliners. All color in 8mm. Various locations as listed below. Unrestored and silent sourced.

Typical, Revelation Video production. Keep your expectations low. Bootleg type quality. If this was an audio concert, in comparison. Nothing equals the nice cover picture.

A little usage of : timetables and printed map. Odd choice, but does the job. None for Rock Island though.


There are plenty of scarce items within, to be seen. Too much to get everything here.

The original cinematography ranges around the good marker. Variable lower production quality, of course. Drags it all down.


Viewing ranges from fair to nearly good. Downward to rude. Yes, I said rude. You will see for yourself.


I believe that Ron McElrath himself performs the narration. Covers the scenes in an adequate fashion. Updates certain details to 1994. Knowledgeable man.


Dick Wallin shot some film right from his home. GM&O tracks out across his backyard. Springfield, Ill. According to a graphic.


GM&O wore a classic paint scheme. Rock Island had an ugly straight maroon with various decals and stripes at this time. Later Rock Island themes were highly improved.


Rock Island is added in the 2nd half. This works out just fine. The show is put together in a logical way. Split about half between the two roads. Not counting the other railroads that are present.


A musical soundtrack is the background. Most of this is Classical. It sounds good.


Some effort should have gone into post production imagery. This is my chief complaint. I understand some limitations of source reels.


However, in this modern age. Why are we looking at these rude green bands?


Is some basic color correction too much to ask?


He said this is the lone Fairbanks Morse locomotive. Hard to identify, given the bleak image.

Other producers are meticulous in these areas. Seems that some level of attention, could be given to visuals. Apparently, zero restoration here.


Gulf, Mobile & Ohio is one of those hard to find roads. Small pieces are around. Rare in any sizeable quantity.


These Alco FA units are why Dick travelled. To record them, before GM&O traded them in to EMD. Corinth, MS. and Middleton, TN. are the Alco FA locations.


St. Louis is where the passenger train action was in the 1960s, for Mr. Wallin. The Abraham Lincoln appears several times, along with other GM&O. Some other roads passenger trains are also shown there.


Plenty of additional connecting railroads make cameo appearances. Illinois Terminal is shown on the long trestle in the above scene.


Rock Island is readily available, in high quality everywhere else. So the only purchase factor here is rarity. Yes, this show has some goodies. Above is a rare BL-2.


Plenty of Rock around Silvis. A major facility in the heyday.  More trains at Blue Island and Joliet, Ill.


The Rock Island F2A leads a freight. A wide assortment of builders and models, demonstrate why they were called a rolling museum. As far as locomotives were concerned.


Rock Island FA. They extended the life of these by repowering with EMD engines.


Much of the Rock Island footage is too dark.


The Rock Island had these mean looking transfer cabooses for Chicago area service.


Wallin’s Wonders Vol.1. Is it worth the trouble? Hardcore fans only. Careful.. Has some of the goods you may seek. Overall, not so wonderful….

Plenty of trains…. It is a rough ‘ol boy!

Rating: 2 Stars

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.