Southern Pacific Steam Anthology


Producer: Alva Morrison, JMJ

Timeframe: 1950s

Locations: system

Length: 47 minutes

Source: John Kirkland

An updated 2016 remaster and new edit. John Kirkland spent years, documenting every type of Southern Pacific Steam locomotive. All encompassing collection. Everything from diminutive yard switchers, to SP exclusive Articulateds. Color film throughout!


The Single DVD-R, has a finely detailed Chapter Menu. Full complement of maps. On-screen graphics on most everything. Organized like a book.

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-08h58m32s149The film is beautifully remastered. Appears to have been originally filmed in 16mm. Excellent color balance. Very clean, with a minimum of any flaws. The overall impression of the collection is, Amazing!

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-08h57m48s208The show is narrated. Audio is dubbed. Common with films of this vintage. Good results. Music is blended or used in the soundtrack. A former Cotton Belt engine is seen above.

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-08h24m58s952The Southern Pacific was a vast empire. Having extended into many other areas. Interurban service is the most commonly known. San Francisco to Oakland ferry service is briefly shown.

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-08h57m03s499The only concern. Not a deal breaker by any means. As the locomotive catalog is revealed. The fast edits are very fast. Barely view the running gear, here comes the tender, and out. Next! It gets a little annoying. Perhaps, that is all there was available. Considering the goal, time and effort. I would guess there was a second or two more.

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h03m50s616On this fantrip. Street running and a 1955 Chevy. Looks like Fiesta Red. A custom color, for Fender guitars. Those colors were from automobile paint. Off topic, but too cool to pass it up!

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h07m09s994Action sequences are included for many types. Freight and passenger. Mainline, Branchline and Yard scenes. Stations, Street running and Fantrips.


This Diamond Stack Special attracted attention, back in the day. Think about it.

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h00m05s296A tiny Yard Goat rides the turntable at Mission in San Francisco. This served the Passenger engines there.

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h15m34s573At the Bayshore yard. 2477 sets the pop valves.

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h12m05s963The 2-8-0 Consolidations were workhorses in the SP empire. Larger boiler engines, were ex: St. Louis Southwestern. 

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h05m34s034Examine the detail on this 2-6-0 locomotive. Model Railroaders should note the weathering. A small Vanderbilt tender. Better views within…

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h28m09s639 Southern Pacific type, 4-10-2. Rolls off it’s last miles.

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h28m18s390Appreciate the detail on the freight cars.

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h33m03s855AC types could pull long trains..

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h30m59s236Pusher duty was some of the last service for AC-9 types.

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h32m44s115The huge AC -10. 

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h11m03s424Old style SP cabooses. The standard for the era.

Southern Pacific Anthology.

A comprehensive overview of SP Steam in the mid- 20th Century. This awesome collection is in beautiful remastered all-color 16mm film.

The excellent Cinematographer, is a consistent source. Sharp production has a well organized show. Nice action sequences. A great selection, for any Steam Fan!

Rating: 5 Stars



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


Illinois Central

Illinois CentralILLCentral_DVD

Green Frog Productions

Format: 2 DVD  set

Length: 2 Hours 20 minutes

Time Period:1950’s-1980’s

Locations: Chicago, Homewood, Kankakee, Winery Rd.,Freeport, Centralia, Bradley, Peotone, Monee, Fulton KY, Jackson Miss.,

Sources: Jerry Carson, Steve Neff

This program has 2 main themes. Steam and early diesels, in the 1950’s, as filmed by noted photographer Jerry Carson. A modern Illinois Central , videographer is Steve Neff. How does this combination work?

chicagoNearly 40 years of Illinois Central history , is contained within this 2 disc set. There is an 8 minute slideshow included. Narration has on or off feature.

homewoodHomewood , construction began in 1919, to Markham yard completion in 1926, it is the largest yard on the IC. It sure looks different with steam engines. The film is.. in color! Some of  roundhouse area is shown. Berkshire 8000 series 2-8-4 , Mikado 2-8-2, Mountain 4-8-2, all pulling freight trains.

2815The images are crisp and the sound is matched up fine. It sounds great. Fast paced action and the narration is informative. Big 2-10-2 freights lead to Freeport and the yard. More ICRR steam shown at: Olympia Fields and Winery Road. Mountain types are all over. Big Four passenger trains pull various cars: NYC, C&O, also; green heavyweights, mixed with stainless.

1597 mikadoMany trains. Some high priority Mikado led meat trains. Check those steam era freight cars too! This all color segment is very enjoyable. A little black & white footage follows. Surprisingly, more color and close-up, trackside film at Kankakee.The trainwatching continues, at numerous places. Passenger train waits on meat trains. A banana train.. This is tightly edited, and nonstop action. Watching this 45 minutes is simply…fun!

 centraliaVintage diesels are next on the show. The final run of the City of Miami, before Amtrak.  Black GP9 plus Orange and White GP9, GP 18 units. Some torpedo tanks, equipped for dual service.


gp8New 6 axle SD40 ,U33, GP10 Paducah rebuilds. E unit passengers in early Amtrak service. GP40 types in both schemes. A fine look at classic Illinois Central diesels.




The second half is a contemporary Illinois Central. A leaner, meaner IC complete with a new logo is on this dvd. Steve Neff is a talented videograpgher. Like many modern videos, some other roads are included: BN, Amtrak, Conrail, UP, Santa Fe, BAR. Some weathered ex: ICG painted locos are present. The trains themselves have changed from the earlier years. Unit trains; coal, grain, tofc and there are still general merchandise. The smalltown branchlines, are gone from the new IC.


Highlights: Tuscola visits, the night shots at Centralia and Carbondale, a pacing shot, Effingham has many trains. It’s the modern era IC for sure.

cc 85The final section has the Chicago, Central & Pacific, formed after the ICG garage sale. Interesting older locomotives in: former IC green diamond, IC, ICG orange, Milw., and red Chicago Central.


This half is a good look at the new Illinois Central. Sound is crisp, narration fits,  and the video is very good to excellent. There is a repetitive feel , sameness of standardization. A good show, just not in the same class as the ICRR of yesteryear.

2Green Frog has taken us for a 40 year tour of Illinois Central.

9125 cabDigitally remastered images and sounds on the entire set. Very high standard of production. All things considered … part one alone, is worth the price of admission.

Rating 4 stars

Rio Grande Odyssey

Rio Grande OdysseyRGO

Green Frog Productions

Length: 2 1/2 Hours

Time Period: 1960’s to 1980’s

Locations: Denver, Moffat Tunnel, Royal Tunnel, Tennessee Pass, Leadville, Soldier Summit

Source: Emery Gulash

MSRP: 39.95

2014 Updated..

The Denver & Rio Grande Western in the Rocky Mountains. A healthy dose of steam operations on the Rio Grande narrow gauge is here. Speaking of steam, a standard gauge Burlington Route 2-8-0 is shown, working at Leadville.

cal zephyrA balanced presentation of, freight and passenger trains. Fascinating viewing.

Natural, scenic beauty is often the setting, for this train video. Emery Gulash made multiple visits there. His 16mm color film camera recorded the action. At 2 1/2 hours, there is good coverage of the Rio Grande. The 2 DVD’s are a worthwhile upgrade over the old vhs format. Chapter menu. Stereo sound. Train sounds by Emery . Fine, basic narrative by Bob Carrera.

2We begin in May 1964. The Wasatch mountains have F7A/B and GP9 locos. The F unit mid-train helpers were a surprise to Emery. Soldier Summit is a showcase for the weathered, covered wagons. This is mountain railroading! Great scenery, and over to Castle Gate. Denver Union Station is featured with the CB&Q, UP and DRGW trains.

5102 tt

DRGW 5102 rides the turntable at Alamosa.

antonitoIn May 1960, the dual gauge operation is shown and continued in 1964, at Alamosa and Antonito. Intriguing segment to say the least.

Matched sets of GP30,GP35, SD7, F7 units make for interesting viewing. The California Zephyr is frequently included.

rgz moffat 72The 2nd half is at Moffat Tunnel in 1972. Grand Jct. is a busy division point.

tippleA limestone operation is a highlight visit. Two GP- 30 locomotives are busy at work.



Burlington Northern / Colorado & Southern action.


A wide variety of cabooses are seen.


Emery was great at mood shots. Dusk falls at Helper.

tennessee pass 2

Mid-train helpers at Tennessee Pass. Much more….

cabGreen Frog has another excellent entry in their Odyssey series. This set is fantastic!

Rating  5 stars

Tennessee Narrow Gauge

Tennessee Narrow Gaugecover

A & R Productions

Length: 70 minutes

Time Period: 1942- 1950

Locations:Johnson City, Elizabethton, Doe River Gorge, Blevins, TN – Cranberry, NC.

Sources: Vince Ryan and Jack Alexander

MSRP: 30.00

Eastern Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad. That name is a mouthful. WT&WNCRR. Still, too long. Tweetsie? Yes, this was the common nickname. This narrow gauge line interchanged with Clinchfield and Southern Railway at Johnson City. Last operating 3 foot gauge in this part of the country.

ET&WNCRR Historical Society had a collection of these rare films. A&R Productions agreed to produce this program. First collection was from 1942 to 1943. Second collection dates from 1949.

1943 elizabethton 9Ten Wheelers do put on a fine show. Number 9 smokes it up on the scenic Tweetsie.

Ted Dalaku narrates a well written script. Assorted viewpoints and creativity from the cinematographers. Color 8mm film that has a clean appearance. Audio is full of train sounds, some nature and more. Banjo music spices up the soundtrack. A handful of fun shots that feature the two photographers add a little humor.

tweetsie mapHistory of Tweetsie and trackage are thoroughly explained with this map.

11 gorgeFascinating 1942 train ride onboard the caboose and steam locomotive 11. Elizabethton to Blevins, via spectacular Doe River Gorge. Train continues to destination at Cranberry. Brief scenes of engine servicing and switching are included. Travel westbound from Cranberry too.

tweetsie 11 loco gorgetrainDoe River Gorge is memorable. Many views give a great sense of traversing the line here.

1943 cranberry 11 passengerCameras returned in 1943. Action is centered around Cranberry. More Doe River Gorge. Similar in style, but different facets are shown. Wartime passenger service has been required by the War Board. Shots from onboard the trains have an excess of shaky views. Not as smooth overall, as the 1942 footage. Increased variety of trains in this year.

1950 last run 11The Last Run by Number 11 in 1950, was the curtain call for the Tweetsie.

tweetsie caboose

Tennessee Narrow Gauge does provide a detailed overview of the railroad. A & R has a nicely produced program.  An interesting visit to a bygone time.

Rating: 4 Stars