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



Big Boys and Brothers in the ’50s


Producer: JMJ, Morty Farcus

Timeframe: 1950s

Length: 68 minutes

Locations: Cheyenne, Sherman Hill, Hermosa Tunnel, North Platte…

Sources: William J. Altheimer

Sunday River, with a remastered steam, and more show. Union Pacific Big Boy’s and Challengers are the stars. Additional: 800s, Turbines and Diesels. The collection is 98% color film, from the 1950s.

The single DVD is in a sturdy, plastic case. A detailed Chapter Menu. On-screen graphics. Technical specifications on display screens. A single map, with filmed territories.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-07h47m03s638The remastered film quality is excellent! Clear images with fine color balance.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h31m36s694Audio soundtrack is predominantly train sounds. The light narrative introduces the various locomotives. Trainwatching then proceeds, with the lively train audio. Some brief musical interludes, round out the presentation.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h13m07s930The on-screen graphics are targeting the engine numbers. Several locations. The only area where the details are a little light, are the locations. However, it is along the mainline, where the big steam was operating in the 1950s.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h34m12s273This show is divided by locomotive class. Further, sub-divided by types. FEF Northerns for example. There were three. Number 844 is an FEF-3. Detailed specs are given for each type. Above is 837. Inquire within…

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-07h57m53s245Big Boy’s lead-off the show. Individual numbers. Yes, fan favorite 4014 is above and below!

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-07h56m08s021There are Big Boys in a plentiful supply. Big Boy 4014 crew appears to be posing for the camera, as they pass so many years ago…

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-07h55m51s366Each engine he has, is highlighted by number and shown. Of course, an unnumbered section is included.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-07h53m54s042Sharing a brief personal story…

My Grandfather worked for the steam Railroads as a young man. I was about 5 years old. I asked Grandpa, Did the steam always blow straight up?

Grandpa chuckled, No. It could be brought down by a heavy rain or blown sideways by a strong wind.

A little hard for a 5 year to picture. The above screenshot, illustrates his memory.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h02m58s253The Cinematographer filmed plenty of pacing sequences. Steam and pacing, are a great natural pair. Two Big Boys above.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h12m13s222Challengers are correctly split into the early and late versions. The early models had a slightly homely appearance.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h14m33s048Some redesign on the late Challengers had an improvement in performance. The lowered headlight, was one element to identify and actually looked better.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h28m29s159The 800 series are famous for number 844. Never having left the active roster.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h25m13s214These big Northerns were meant for passenger service. Late in their careers, they were assigned to freight duties.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h24m48s076There is a plethora of freight cars to see! A mine for Model Railroaders seeking period correct consists. Neat, clean and dull, boxcar red trains. Almost uniform, Pacific Fruit Express ice bunker reefers blocks.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h41m09s901Turbines were number one for a time.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h50m10s009 An assortment of early diesels conclude this show.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-07h48m24s282Sunday River has a fantastic collection, of Union Pacific big steam and even more! The remaster has it in best possible quality. Enjoyable to hear the huge Articulateds and Northerns, at work.

A must have for Big Boy fans with this unique footage. Union Pacific, Steam train and Railfans, should all find this show, a worthy addition to their collections.

Rating: 5 Stars

The Canadian


Producer: Alva Morrison

Timeframe: 1960s

Locations: Montreal to Vancouver

Length: 47 minutes

Source: 2007 Remaster

Alva Morrison originally produced this film, with Sunday River Productions. Remastered and a re- edit by JMJ in 2007.

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-08h44m24s793The Canadian, is a Transcontinental passenger train on Canadian Pacific. This is the original incarnation. Vancouver to Montreal. Calgary, Medicine Hat, Lake Superior, Banff and Schreiber. Not the later Yellowhead version.

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-09h14m42s400Begins out West. On the waterfront,at Vancouver. A return from Montreal follows. That picks up Lake Superior.

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-09h04m24s477Traversing the best scenery of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Kicking Horse Pass, with it’s tunnel and grades. Scenic canyons and rivers. Quite a trip!

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-08h52m37s610Similar to a PBS style presentation. Nicholas Morant, with at least one photographs used for comparison, along with other vintage pictures. Good history is included in the narrative.

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-09h03m39s065Multiple viewpoints. Onboard the train. Externals, both near and far. Scenery is nicely incorporated.

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-08h47m29s713Soundtrack is music and train sounds. The train sounds are good. The musical interludes are very dated, to the 1960s. Oh well, not a deal breaker. Kicking Horse Pass.


Alva Morrison performs the narrative. He does a fine job. Very knowledgeable.

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-09h03m09s285CP Rail painted FP7A diesels are in charge of the train. Sometimes, GP 7/9 units assist.

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-09h12m06s123On-screen graphics help with locations.


Various views of the equipment.


A group of grain elevators, that show a part of Canada’s huge business.

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-08h42m44s027Some basic maps help out with geography. Higher detail on specific areas, as needed.


Riverfront running in deep valleys.


Famous location on Lake Superior, is Mink Tunnel.

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-08h54m23s562The program is very well put together. A bit long on several transitions. Well, that’s the reviewer talking. No big thing.

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-09h02m19s723Visual quality looks fine. Good colors. Kicking Horse Pass Tunnel.

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-09h22m39s722The Canadian is a fine show. It stays on target. Complete coverage, with a tight focus on the subject. Good pacing, it moves along quickly. Before long, it nears the end! Where did the time go?

Alva Morrison really knew how to produce interesting Railroad films. This is a good one. A fine show for all viewers.

Rating: 5 Stars


City of Los Angeles


Producer: Alva Morrison, Sunday River Productions

Timeframe 1936-1971

Locations: LA, Sherman Hill, Cheyenne, Castle Rock, Ogden, Laramie, Echo Canyon…

Length: 42 minutes

Sources: Mac Owen, more uncredited

Sunday River has this release about the City of Los Angeles passenger train. It also has a small feature film, which contains winter steam footage, of 8444 in 1971. Remastered for DVD, both films are presented in best possible quality.

The original films are from an older era. Alva Morrison,Sr. was at the dawn of Railfan films. He used to produce for reel to reel movies.


Alva performs the narrative on the main feature. It contains some odd narrative. He is discussing history and equipment, of the streamliner on Union Pacific.

This actually starts with history of the original 1936 City of Salinas train. It seems to take him in a certain direction.


Meanwhile, often beautiful old film is rolling on the screen. A different approach! Later, it follows a more traditional direction. On-screen location graphics keep viewers current.


The visual portion of show, is highly organized. Begins at Los Angeles. Proceeds in the easterly direction of travel.


A highly detailed map displays the route.


This is a diesel era train. E units are in charge of the long passenger train.


There are a plethora of external views. Sullivan’s Curve is but one classic scene.


Plenty of, out the window scenes. Aspen Tunnel.


All of it is well balanced. Even some live sound is used in certain scenes.


The City train at Castle Rock.


A couple of worthy deviations. Checkout the Turbines filmed by Mac Owen.


U50C leads a freight train. How about that?


This is a fine show of a long, gone Union Pacific flagship City train.


The seperate, Blizzard at Sherman Hill. What a little gem of a movie!


In early 1971, UP was going to retire this famous Northern. Yes, this was supposed to be 8444 last run!


A surprise blizzard hit. Nothing to it, for 8444 and the rugged UP personnel. Perhaps, this outing changed their minds.


I think that Sunday River missed the mark here. They should have given The Blizzard on Sherman Hill some billing on the front cover. It really adds to this show!

This is an excellent release. The steam film is a great bonus. The narrative is a bit off, and then recovers. Film quality and remaster is fine. Union Pacific fans will enjoy this unique pair. Steam fans should not miss the 8444 Blizzard film.

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars


Baltimore and Ohio

Baltimore and Ohiocvr

Sunday River Productions

Length: 72 minutes

Time Period: 1940’s- 1950’s

Locations: Garrett, Defiance, Willard..

Source: Guy and Betty Brant

MSRP: 39.95

Steam in the East Series

B&O steam was still operating between Garrett, IN. and Willard, OH. towards the end of the steam era. The T3 Mountain was built by the railroad and this story features this class. They originally had forty of these. More were constructed, this was a workhouse engine on the line.

Additional steam types are present in the show. Mikados, Consolidations, Pacifics, Santa Fe types and articulated EM-1 engines can be found. Occasional 1st generation diesels as well. Even former Boston & Maine Mountain locomotives. A comparison to Chesapeake & Ohio steam with some C&O footage is within this release.

smokeA multitude of runbys. A wide variety of freight trains. Passenger examples have named and numbered assignments. Some worthwhile freight car views.

The CincinnatianThe Cincinnatian gets extended coverage. Streamlined steam was rare on B&O.

parkersburgA sidetrip to Parkersburg. This provides a handful of shots.  A two level operation there.

Color film that appears to be 16mm. Has dubbed train sounds. On screen location and train designation graphics. Chapter menu is included and was added for the current DVD. An older release, there are no maps. Narrative offers many locations.

Narration by original producer, Alva Morrison. Good information on various steam power. He covers some B&O history too. Various sequences are train sounds only. Remastered and re-edited in 2007. Some of the edit transitions are rather jarring and break the rhythm. The program feels a little dated overall. However, the film enhancement has the trains looking good.

dhwThe cameraman was out in the winter. Double headers often were a Mountain- Mikado.

trainsA dramatic scene which demonstrates the cinematographers flair.

Cinematography is nicely done on the whole. There is miscellaneous minor camera shake. More occurrences than wanted. Considering the scarcity of the color B&O steam footage, it isn’t a deal breaker. Composition is generally fine.

coal dockA fantrip has railfans occupying a yard and with unrestricted access on the tracks.

bo 5564 santa fe

bo 4629 Q4BThe Q4B was a modern Mikado at this time. B&O 4629.

em1The EM1 was one of the smallest 2-8-8-4 locomotives of that wheel arrangement. Authentic EM-1 recordings were used.

em1 passThe Cadillac with the open doors seems to be Guy’s car. A sense of size to the big EM-1  shown here.

cabThis caboose is leading a reverse move with a steam crane. The train is going to a derailment.

Baltimore and Ohio is an action packed program. A bountiful supply of steam that should satisfy most viewers. There is much more to see. One for the family to appreciate.

Rating: 4 Stars