The Last Steamers of the Colorado & Southern

index

Producer: WB Video

Time Period: 1958- 1963

Locations: CO.

Length: 46 mins+previews

Source: Dave Gross

A young Dave Gross began filming steam in 1958. The Colorado and Southern was his subject. Burlington Route power had been recalled to service. Full color action follows!

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This is an older release from WB Video. There are no maps. No chapter menus on the DVD. A map would have been useful.

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The show is professionally narrated. Script, editing and production work, are all at a high level.

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Audio has train sounds. They sound fine for this program. Everything proceeds smoothly.

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A sugar beet rush had combined with a power shortage. Steam locomotives were pulled from storage to meet demand.

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Local freight service, is what viewers mostly get on the C&S.

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Clear film throughout. Easy to watch.

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The young David Gross has fine camera skills.

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The Denver roundhouse is visited. 608 is a 2-8-0.

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Burlington Route had a variety of locomotives operating on subsidiary C&S.

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Cold weather was no deterrent to Gross.

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Switchers are busy at work.

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The 16mm film captures a high level of detail. 809 is a 2-8-2 Mikado.

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Later in the timeline. Dave Gross was filming a chartered fantrip in 1963.

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Gross was requested to film Snow Service. Turn of the Century equipment, in  1960. Leadville, Colorado.

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A rotary makes a rare apprerance.

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The Last Steamers of the Colorado and Southern.

This is a high quality film collection. A fantastic look at some Burlington Route steam. Highly recommended for all steam fans!

Burlington Route used to say…

Everywhere West.

… You better believe it!

Rating: 5 Stars

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“Q” Connections

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Producer: Steve Bransfield

Timeframe: 1940s- 1963

Locations: Chicago, Galesburg, Denver, San Francisco, and more..

Length: 50 minutes

Sources: Blackhawk collection

Burlington Route is the main railroad in this show. Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, had  the connections that are featured. This leads into offshoot tangent storylines.

Therefore, Q Connections. The California Zephyr is a major part of this premise. Serving from Chicago to San Francisco, CA. This train involves multiple lines, as it traverses across the Western United States.

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Program contains mostly color. Additional black and white films. No chapter menus.

Ted Dalaku is the clear voiced narrator. Familiar on A&R Productions. Full narration. Script is well written. To the point and descriptive.

Audio is dubbed with train sounds. Narration level is dominant. Actually, sounds unbalanced. The way a commercial plays too loud versus a program.

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The images do vary by the source film. Good overall. Not by modern standards. Fine for older train videos. Editing is good. Everything is watchable. Nothing weird.

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There are some maps. Older release. They are fine. Some interesting pan shots, of the old cities throughout.

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Galesburg, Illinois had a major yard for Burlington Route. A pair of E7 locomotives lead different Zephyrs.

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Burlington Route has the California Zephyr.

The CZ will origin at Chicago Union Station. There are multiple shows about the CZ. While a decent production. Quality on this one is not the best of the more modern CZ shows. Does have the vintage factor in it’s favor.

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Denver and Rio Grande Western. Rio Grande, has spectacular scenery. DRGW locomotives were used to power the Zephyr over this portion of the journey.

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Colorful, Western Pacific EMD F3 sets lead the Zephyr on the final leg of it’s journey. California has it’s own, Feather River Canyon. This alone, is a scenic as anything else on the trip.

 

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Burlington Route steam fan trip in 1963. This big Northern type is from Denver.


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Western Pacific Fast Freight. As an attached seperate film. A WP freight move in the 50s. Oakland to Salt Lake City, Utah. Number 62 travels the line. Cab ride and airplane shots.

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The intricacies of moving this train are studied. A time capsule. An old black and white film. Apparently, a vintage Blackhawk release. Well done piece.

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Additional vintage film. This one IS rare! An Iowa shortline that connected to the Q. The Manchester and Oneida. An old former, CB&Q 4-4-0 served the 8 mile long track.

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A&R Productions has this assortment, released under the CB&Q flag. A collection of varying interest. Depends on your own interests.

“Q” Connections is a mixed bag.

Everywhere West and then some…

Rating: 3 Stars

 

Vignettes of the Burlington Northern, Volume 3

vignettes-of-the-burlington-northern-volume-3-dvd-2

Producer: Clear Block

Timeframe: 1950’s- 1970’s

Locations: Washington, Montana

Sources: Ken Bealer, William P. Price

Length: 60 minutes

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Burlington Northern Volume 3. The 1970’s BN. Contains introduction pre-merger film of: CB&Q, GN and NP. On paper, this one appears to be a big winner for Hill lines enthisiausiats.

Keep in mind. Clear Block Productions have proven to be inconsistent to me. They always talk a great game. Read on.

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Program opens strong with some, hard to find vintage Burlington Route. End credits list William P. Price as a film source. I would bet, this was his film.

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Great Northern is present, as well. A good shot here. Weak overall, inclusion for GN material.

This pre-merger section is the worthwhile portion of the video. Lack of a descriptive narration keeps it second rate.

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Northern Pacific checks-in. A nice chunk of steam and diesel. Uh-oh. Here we go again! Solar flares (not). Familiar red/ yellow flaring , as seen in previous B&O Vignettes. Thanks Clear Block! More like Mud block in this case…
Well… That film is pretty old. Things should greatly improve on the newer 1970’s Burlington Northern film. Right?

Narration is very sparse on this show. My guess is the original notes, had little more then, general location and date. Nothing more is usually offered for the rest. Except the source. Ken Bealer. Have seen his name elsewhere. Doesn’t ring a bell. Certainly, not a negative one.

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Truth be told. Another train in the rain.  These scenes appear to be a collection of outtakes. They look like remainders or rejects. They are pretty poor overall. I am extremely dissappointed in this DVD. I can’t believe this is out there, for sale!

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Likely, this program could have been significantly improved, via some basic, post- production work. Contrast, color balance, brightness etc…

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Too many scenes are washed out. Others have way too much sunlight bouncing off the train.

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Oddly enough. This show uses more maps and on-screen graphics! Even a rudimentary chapter menu. As if to try and polish the show up a little bit towards respectability.

The actual train edits are rough around the edges. Quick cuts that seldom allow a viewer to see a boxcar. Often, the edits are jarring. It gets tedious.

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Color balance is generally close to non- existent. Those bright and bold colors, of the 1970’s are shadows, of what they should be on the screen.

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Most of the Vancouver shots are in rain. Too much of that! Sloppy presentation.

Live audio is really good in some scenes. Not enough to save this show.

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Another observation regarding the editing decisions. Boring, same looking Amtrak consists are shown in their entirety. Feels like the filler that it is used for.

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It is the bootleg quality presentation that ruins the enjoyment. Nice train Clear Block! Much of this show is nearly unwatchable!

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I came here for BN freight. Hump yard gives a few box cars, at this distance. Little else for Model Railroaders. Pass on this one.

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1979 was the year that Bealer went in search of still operating F units. One of the best looking scenes is this one. Rare in this show. Not all that great either.

Yakima Valley receives a very brief visit. This one minute looks good. I came for Burlington Northern… Why does this BN often look so crappy?

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No way does this one receive a good recommendation.
If you are interested in a good, informative vintage focused Burlington Northern program. Forget this waste.
I normally do not do this…
However. Clear Block just wasted my money, time and effort. I will save you time, effort and your own money!

Just order the quality Burlington Northern: Charles Smiley Presents- Empire of the North. You may find this one and can be happy. Life is too short.

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Vignettes of the Burlington Northern Volume 3.

Save your money on this dumb, overblown release.

Junk in the Trunk!!
Rating: 2 Stars

A 1960’s Train Travelogue

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C Vision Productions

Length: 65 minutes

Time Period: 1960’s

Locations: Marinette, Charleston, Naperville, Ontario, Wisconsin and more..

Sources: Joe Siedl,. Lynn Longley

MSRP: 29.95

C Vision surprises us, with another new source of upper midwest vintage railroading. This cinematographer also traveled to Canada. There are some hard to find lines and locomotives. Mid 1960’s timeframe is highly desirable. Filmed in color, on Super 8mm.

soo neenahJoe Siedl is the main cinematographer for this program. He had an Argus camera. Filmed alot around Marinette, Wisconsin. CNW and SOO are prominent. Canada has a big chunk of the program. Canadian Pacific, CN and Ontario Northland. Seaboard Coast Line is a highlight. Burlington Route is another feature. A few GG1 electrics too.

1535CNW 1535 is a GP7, with a Fairbanks Morse Baby Trainmaster.

Don Grant narrates the show. Music background is used to fill the rest. There is an off switch for the music. The keyboard player is pretty good. Improved overall music versus older releases. Basic narration is good with: locomotive call-outs, locations and some more. I have added a little extra information, for my readers.

soo gp35 gp30 stevens point 2                  Soo Line GP35 with a GP30 are at Steven’s Point, Wisconsin.

Camera appears to be handheld. For the most part, it is steady. A few scenes have some shakes or possible film jumps. Nothing to worry about. Colors look good. Film looks original, unrestored. Composition is well done. Graphics for locations.

Chicago and North Western is loaded with freight and passenger trains. Many locomotive types. CNW fans should be satisfied.

 

cnw f7 4052A peshtigoCNW 4052A at Peshtigo, WI. This is not an F3. Rather, an F9AM. A rebuild from original FT series, built in 1945. The 4050 series are tricky, with some being F3 before rebuilding. I had to look it up. Otherwise, what a sweet scene!

cnw 901 rs27Here is CNW 901 in 1966. Misidentified as an Alco C425. It is a rare Alco RS27. This occurs more commonly then you may realize on many train videos. Not worth bothering, except this engine has an interesting history. Purchased new in 1962. Traded in with the other 3 RS27’s after only 4 years for C425 models. Alco leased it and sold it to Precision National. Leased to Canadian Pacific. Sold to GBW in 1976. On to WC in 1987. Minnesota Commercial in 1992. Interesting…back to the show.

cp alco fa fbCanadian Pacific Alco FA/ FB combo. It is a maroon and gray CP seen in this era.

dh17What amounts to small segments: Green Bay and Western, LS&I. Milwaukee Road and Great Northern. A cameo on Delaware and Hudson. Former Santa Fe PA17 heads The Laurentian.

 

Joe was stationed at Charleston, SC. Circa 1968. Worth the price of admission for this chapter. A hard to find supply of Seaboard Coast Line. A fine variety of vintage diesels.

scl 585 e7   SCL 565 is an E7A. Seen at Charleston station. Also, are rare E6 and common E8 units.

scl 2006Could have filled the page with cool shots of Seaboard Coast Line activity. SD45 displays flags because it is running extra.

scl  959The GP9, GP18 lash-up includes some interim looking paint schemes.

cbqA bunch of Chicago, Burlington and Quincy at Naperville, Ill. Even in the 60’s this was a known hotspot. Triple track mainline all the way into Chicago. The freights were to Clyde Yard. Passenger action is plentiful. All stainless passenger trains look great. Chinese red and gray on the freights is a bonafide classic. The GP20 on the lead, was a hot mainline locomotive in 1966!

cbq 4960At Baraboo, Wisconsin. The circus train with it’s very colorful consisit of classic circus wagons. These wagons are loaded on flatcars. The loading methods used by the circus industry, helped develop early piggyback transportation. In this scene, Burlington Route 4960. a 2-8-0 Light Mikado hauls the train.

pbxOntario Northland Polar Bear Express. Joe caught some rare ON freight as well. Must see.

soo fp7aA classic scene of the mid-1960’s. A single four axle EMD locomotive with a freight train. This Soo Line FP7 is a classic.

Lynn Longley’s bonus section at the end doesn’t match the quality of the main show. It will not be factored into the rating. A few minutes of 1950’s Milwaukee Road. Poor to fair at best.

scl 2007 rearNot much in the way of cabooses in this show. We shall close with a passing SD45 leading 4 F units from the SCL yard. The high horsepower units were strong entries in the headlong race for more power. Mixed in with this unusual lash-up of 1950’s era covered wagons. The F unit engines that defeated steam. A modern second generation model that would replace the earlier diesels. Atlantic Coast Line merged with Seaboard Air Line. All pass into history.

A 1960’s Train Travelogue. Here is a worthy assortment of circa 1966-67 railroading. The rarities make it one that railfans may need. It plays well and the nonstop action passes the time quickly. Overall, a nice release to add into a collection.

Rating: 4 Stars

Extreme Trains: Overnight Traveler

Overnight Traveler- Extreme Trains

History Channel

Format:  2 DVD set

 Length: 44 minutes

Locations for episode: Chicago to Seattle.

Source: Extreme Trains- Season One

Host: Matt Bown

Updated and illustrated review.

Here is a single episode from the series called, Extreme Trains. Matt Bown hosted various shows in this set on railroading. A good collection of programs that are fine for beginners. Additional information that sometimes, can keep veteran railfans interested as well.

This is the story of the Amtrak Empire Builder. The modern version of a former Great Northern, premier passenger train. Viewers will experience the trip from, Chicago to destination at Seattle.

215Comprehensive  look at the contemporary era Amtrak passenger train. Coverage that features: equipment, employees, and the journey.

chicago union station tower                                           Chicago Union Station tower view.

james hillA fast-moving and varied presentation.  Historical aspects and modern operation are both well researched. This is very informative and fascinating journey, over a classic train trip. Rich in history with some great scenic vistas! A sidetrip to Steamtown for good measure.

MonocoqueCompare the 4250 horsepower of a single Genesis, to the 1500 hp of a 1950’s EMD F7A.

Mono diagramMatt kicks off the show with a segment on the power for the Empire Builder. Two General Electric Genesis locomotives. The design is called a Monocoque. A single, lightweight shell that mounts to the chassis. The shell is akin to a load bearing aircraft fuselage. Check one of the diagrams shown.

loco pit matt eddieAt the Chicago Amtrak facility. Matt walks with an Inspector, underneath the eleven cars in the inspection pit. Safety is first and foremost. An overview of the preparation for the soon to be outbound train is complete.

conductorThe conductor is ready for an on time departure from Union Station in Chicago.

cabA cab ride contains a discussion on speed and safety features on the locomotive.

snowAnother fun sequence is Matt on a snowmobile, on the original (abandoned) Cascade Tunnel line. The early switchbacks are discussed with some more history of building the line.

cascade tunnelA feature on the 8 mile long Cascade Tunnel is a highlight.

lights

pan

A nicely done program. Good for the whole family. Quite different from the majority of standard train videos. Matt is a lively and hands on type of host. The many tasks that he tries do convey the hard work and care of Amtrak employees.

Rating: 4 Stars