Producer: Clear Block
Locations: Columbus, Newark, Ohio
Timeframe: 1970’s- 1991
Length: 60 Minutes
Sources: Paul Geiger, Bob Sherwood
Penn Central and Conrail, are the main railroads featured here. Baltimore and Ohio is also a joint trackage railroad operator, for 35 miles.
The Panhandle, was an old nickname for what much later, was to become Penn Central territory. Between Pittsburgh, Columbus, St. Louis and Chicago.
This show covers the portion from Columbus to Newark. In depth historical information, is given via the narrative. Later series, Panhandle Volumes cover additional portions, of the involved routes.
An older show in the Clear Block catalog. Dates back to the VHS tape era of commercial release. Unrestored and definitely showing it’s age.
Film quality is fair overall. Plenty of scenes need color correction. Here again, a distortion bar!! This show has it at the bottom of the screen. Some Clear Block shows include these distortions.
Although Penn Central paint dominates the program. Early Conrail patch jobs appear. As do, these former Erie Lackawanna SD45 units.
Viewers are watching silent films, with narration and musical background. Only a 1991 update offers any live train sound. Not a badly put together show. It does have it’s share of serious flaws.
Primitive maps, by more modern standards. Better to have, these simple maps versus nothing. They do the job.
Bob Sherwood does the busy narration. Descriptive of nearly every scene. That encompasses a very large quantity of rather brief scenes!
Amtrak takes a significant chunk of time. Centered around the Columbus Union Terminal. The old one is closed. This runs past it’s welcome. Feels like filler. Watching Amtrak trains back into and around the station area. Yawn…
At this time, demolition is near or in progress, for many structures. This would be the rarity of the program.
Some limited cab ride sequences appear. They are quick glimpses.
Paul Geiger was a Towerman on the Penn Central. Some of those unique viewpoints are seen in this show. Tower views, yard access and wreck scene. Likely, including the locomotive cabs for those views.
The Mail Train. In various incarnations. America’s mail once moved mostly by rail. Remember Air Mail?
Majority of the program is trackside filmed action. ATVR tidbit… Southern Pacific units were run through power.
B&O, C&O diesels provide additional variety. Trackage rights territory.
Sharp eyes will observe the obvious Baltimore and Ohio architecture.
Interesting to note. Baltimore and Ohio lineside structures. Pennsylvania signals. A unique combination reflecting the dual operation of The Panhandle. See the narrative.
A 1991 update brings the program to a close. Further demolition of the once dominant rail system is shown. Downsized to single track and double track operation. Removed yard. An interesting, if unwanted conclusion.
This early works from Clear Block is very outdated now. It is badly in need of a remaster. As the featured railroads are available in much better quality elsewhere. It would really only be for hardcore railfans or completists.
Rating: 2 1/2 Stars