SP’s Geeps and Cadillacs

SPGEEP-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1994

Locations: Fresno Line, Ione Branch, Stockton

Length: 53 minutes

The GP9e, SD7e and SD9e locomotives.  These Southern Pacific rebuilds, were making their last stand, in local rail service in 1994.

In this show, they are viewed in an agricultural region of central California. Bakersfield to Sacramento.

If you are asking about the odd title. ‘Geeps and Cadillacs’. Here is some background info.

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Geeps were a nickname for early GP7 and GP9 diesels. Cadillac was a moniker used by Southern Pacific crews for SD7 and SD9 locomotives. In the old days, the long wheelbase units were smooth riders, like a Cadillac automobile.

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In fact, the term Geep was used in the post World War 2 era. GP stood for General Purpose locomotive, as used by Electromotive. Supposedly, the comparison was to the utilitarian characteristics of the US Army Jeeps. GP7 and GP9 models were the all purpose diesels of the 1950’s.

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Years ago, it was a stretch to call the newer GP30 and GP35’s a Geep.  As time passed, the term was used even more loosely. A 1970’s turbocharged GP40-2, really isn’t a Geep in the same way.

Seems as if any EMD with 4 axle trucks ended up, being called a Geep.

Perhaps, this transition of the nickname illustrates the nature of the original General Purpose designation.

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A Geep will do everything on the railroad. By the way, the majority this discussion is not present, in the script. Interesting background though, isn’t it?

Have a VHS tape of this show from years ago.

Let’s checkout the DVD version. I have read, that Pentrex carefully upgrades and transfers their shows to the DVD format. A time consuming process. In fact, a rather large number of Pentrex shows have yet to be released on a DVD.

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Major upgrade on the DVD picture quality! Audio sounds great, as well. It is a remaster, after watching the disc.

A detailed Chapter Menu is a welcome addition to now have included.

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Some on-screen graphics denote: trains, locomotives and locations. Two maps.

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Narration is the usual pro quality that we expect from Pentrex. The narrative will keep us current and informed, of every train in the scenes. Natural audio sounds are the main background. Camerawork and audio is fine overall.

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Southern Pacific was still utilizing these 40 year old EMD locomotives in the 1990’s. The rebuilt GP9, SD7 and SD9 models were operating in Central California. While many other roads rebuilds had their noses chopped, SP units retained the high hoods.

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Stockton Yard offers our best chance for close up looks at SD7/9 diesels. A GP9 is still in SP Kodachrome. The paint was for the failed SPSF merger.

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A pair of good looking GP9E locos haul The Turlock local out of Stockton Yard.

The Lodi local gets featured as it performs switching at Lodi, with a pair of GP9E diesels.

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There is a great segment of SP street running in the downtown area. Other through trains behind GP9 and SD7/9 lash-ups are interspersed with the locals workday.

At Galt, the local turns onto the Ione branch. Good edits let many freight cars pass for the viewer to watch.

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In Ione, there is interchange with Amador Central. A rare Baldwin S12 waits for SP to drop it’s cars. The SP train picks up a string of cars for the return to Galt.

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A cab ride in the lead GP9E 3742 is our way back to the mainline at Galt. It would have been good to hear some commentary from the Engineer. We do spend time watching him work the controls and drive the train. His silence feels odd. Back to exteriors and end of program. The Lodi local occupies a large portion of this show. Maybe a bit too much.

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Based on the title, I was expecting equal coverage of the SD ‘Cadillacs’. Those SD7/9 units, are seen in the lash-ups, on the mainline freights. Expected more focus.

SP’s Geeps and Cadillacs. Vintage Workhorses. A final visit to Southern Pacific’s title fleet. Delivers as advertised. The local overstays at the party. Otherwise, the presentation is fine.

A nice upgrade on the DVD!

Rating: 4 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

 

Tehachapi: SP and Santa Fe era

Tehachapi: SP and Santa Fe era cvr

Charles Smiley Presents

Length: 2 hours 48 minutes + preview section

Time Period: 1960’s to 1990’s.

Locations: Caliente, Walong, Cajon Pass, Palmdale Cutoff, Barstow Yard, Taylor Yard, Bealville and much more..

Sources: T. Wegman, N. Rath, T. Jocelyn (Kodak film). J. Perry, G. Pagliaro (video)

MSRP: 28.50

Tehachapi Loop is one of the most famous railroad locations in the world. Rich in history, the area is a hotbed for; trains and railfan photographers. This show covers over 30 years. Southern Pacific and Santa Fe are the featured railroads. Charles often expands with a ‘above and beyond’ presentation style.

While there are a variety of Tehachapi titles on the market, and some are well done. The uniqueness of a Charles Smiley offering is worth consideration- even if you have others.

This new release could be definitive.

Let’s review and see for ouselves.

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What is ‘The Money Shot’?…

The shot that everyone wants to see. This train will reveal all Santa Fe GP30 locomotives in the lashup. This is where a train passes over itself, on the Tehachapi Loop.

ssw sd40tNotice the cleaner locomotives of the vintage SP. A Cotton Belt SD40T is on point.

f7sPassenger trains are included. Mail trains on the Santa Fe. Ride an SP move.

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The Santa Fe F45 is captured in warm looking, California daylight.

taylor yardTo use a single word for Taylor Yard circa 1978… crowded! Model railroaders will surely appreciate these scenes.

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There are plenty of Santa Fe pinstripe scheme diesels.

routesJudicious usage of his custom made maps can display, routes, elevations and trackage.

storeNaturally, the expected location names are here. Additionally, Cajon Pass, Taylor Yard. and San Bernardino are a sample of what else is visited. Some of these are featured at length.

palmdaleHistorical aspects are another cornerstone within CSP shows. See the 1967 Palmdale Cutoff. A freewheeling narrative that is highly detailed.

Charles performs the narrative. This is non scripted, and contains a master class on railroads.

bw spSoundtrack has a large supply of natural and builder accurate locomotive sounds. Various musical backgrounds are another part of the audio. The narration is balanced with some non narrated  trainwatching.

gp60This program is a double feature. There is contemporary, 1990’s era Tehachapi. Vintage film has a great overview of Southern Pacific and Santa Fe operations in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

f7Viewers will enjoy 90 minutes of digitally restored and enhanced vintage Kodak color film. This feature alone, is worth the price of admission. A wide assortment of locomotives and views.

* This is frame by frame restoration. Charles has the goal of providing the best for viewers.

alcoHelpers are operating both mid-train and as pusher sets. The Alco units were demonstrators. Learn about SP and why some locomotives were pulled from the mainlines.

boxcars spSome nice scenes that display the freight cars of the time. Interesting, to compare the shades of boxcar red on this train.

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Santa Fe GE U36C locomotives and SP U33C class, are discussed.

smokeAs this Southern Pacific freight exits a long tunnel, the sooty exhaust billows from the hole.

spsfOil Can train with an SD40T-2, in SP Kodachrome repaint, as a mid-train helper.

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90sAfter the vintage centerpiece, we are returned to the 1990’s. Both of these eras are enjoyable.

sf cabWe have just skimmed through a show that exceeds 2 1/2 hours. There is much more to see.

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Tehachapi: SP and Santa Fe era

Charles Smiley has the definitive Tehachapi program here. Combining vintage and modern, this high quality production is an immediate classic.

Railfans and model railroaders will find this new release a comprehensive overview of Tehachapi Loop, with surrounding areas.

This great show is easily in the top of the Charles Smiley Presents catalog.

Rating: 5 Stars

#Train#Railroad#SantaFe#SouthernPacific

Union Pacific Scrapbook

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Charles Smiley Presents

Length: 1 hour 40 minutes + previews

Time Period: 1950’s- 1996

Locations: Tehachapi Loop, Coast Line, Chicago, Laramie, Cajon Pass, Afton Pass and more…

Sources: Mark Johnson, Gino Pagliaro, Charles Smiley- video. Ten movie film sources.

MSRP: 29.50

Union Pacific Expansion Years is the fitting subtitle for this show. Scrapbook shows feature assorted films from multiple years and locations. A focus on the growth of this railroad includes the fit of additions to UP goals and operations.  Providing action of vintage and modern railroading. Plus, plenty of good old fashioned trainwatching! This release explores Union Pacific in this fashion.

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High quality is a hallmark of Charles Smiley productions. Notice how the diesel sounds are matched to the locomotive. Digital film processing gives fine picture standards.

1955

Featuring highly interesting and informative narration. Charles gives the audience a plethora of historical backgrounds. Passenger service is one of those discussions.

portland

Perfect scene for model railroaders to recreate in miniature. Charles is an accomplished  model railroader as well. This authentic yard is at Portland, Oregon. Check the ATVR links to visit Charles recreation of Southern Pacific in HO scale!

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Intriguing storyteller, the Rio Grande is one of the show within shows.

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Frequent and varied, multiple custom maps put the routes and locations in perspective. Thorough map coverage has system type maps for roads merged into UP, such as: Southern Pacific, Rio Grande, Missouri Pacific and Chicago Northwestern. Close up maps like Cajon Pass, are another welcome inclusion.

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Chicago was a key gateway, that had been long coveted for a direct connection. While joint CNW-UP power and cabooses could be seen for years in the area. It wasn’t until CNW was absorbed in 1995 … and that is explained in detail.

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tucson

Outside of Tucson, Arizona in the 1990’s.

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Sharp video from 1996 documents trains in the Tehacapi Loop vicinity.

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Classic shot at Tehachapi Loop.

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Unusual locations set this apart from many modern train videos of UP. Exhilarating cinematography, that is far ahead of crossing gate scenes of many others. Afton Canyon is a must see.

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.That 1965 Ford Mustang is a match for the year of this street running local.

Union Pacific Scrapbook is an excellent show for railfans and model railroaders. The vintage portions are a smaller percentage in this release. Get Union Pacific Vintage West first, if you want many classic trains.

Consider this one as a look at Union Pacific in the mid 1990’s. That will be great for those who are seeking double stacks and third generation locomotives. The modern slant is not my particular preference.

Any fan of this contemporary era of railroading, will be very happy with this program.

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

WP Vintage West

WP Vintage Westcvr

Charles Smiley Presents

Length: 90 minutes

Time Period:1950’s- 1980’s

Locations: Systemwide and more

Sources: 18 includes: Gary McClain, John Illman.

MSRP: 29.50

The history of Western Pacific is covered in depth. There is a plethora of additional subjects, connecting roads, shortlines and Oro Dam construction.

Sacramento Northern and Key System are part of the story. Rio Grande has a large chunk as well. For those who want to delve into a historical Western Pacific program, this is your ticket.

high line locosUtilizing 18 different film sources could be a challenge. Digital restoration has everything looking nice. Mostly appears to be 8mm color film. Cameramen are generally excellent. Steam, early diesel, traction continues into Perlman Green.

3519 rainAudio has a high percentage of varied musical background on this show. The variety of music is interesting. Less train sounds then some other CSP shows. This release is more of a PBS style program.

high lineCustom maps and on screen graphics are frequently used. Here, the High Line is introduced.

Charles conveys a wealth of information. As subjects, stories and locations change, the WP sometimes gets lost. The deviations can get long. This takes away from some of the punch.

fExtensive coverage of the California Zephyr is here. Burlington Route and Rio Grande also have plenty of time for their parts of this famous train. The show within the show in 2 chapters.

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Ride the California Zephyr on Western Pacific and Rio Grande- classic style!

drgw 5721Rio Grande is looked at in detail. Quite a bit of time is on Rio Grande. Fans of that railroad will enjoy the amount of: history, locations and more. Another show within the show.

oroOro Valley Dam construction is a key point of that area’s history. Plenty of that too.

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A GP7 is performing some street running.

ftEarly diesels. These FT units are part of the original wave that replaced steam engines.

keddie rainAt Keddie and in the rain. The rear facing GE U-23B, is part of a scene that is good for model railroaders, Note the 1968 or 69 Chevy Camaro SS. Old water tower and more.

4241The Burlington Northern provided run through power. These rare Alco locomotives and tons of BN freight cars display the solid relationship of WP and BN.

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Plenty of classic rolling stock on freights. You can’t beat the scenery either.

3519Four axle power was used by WP. The GP40 and GP40-2 models were favored. The last third of the program covers 1960- 1980. Great chapter.

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Charles has two other Western Pacific programs available. Western Pacific Remembered was released in 2012. That one is my favorite of the trio. Western Pacific- The Last Decade is the other. All of these are reviewed here.

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Greenway, Calirornia. The High Line.

WP Vintage West is a fine program. This one is rather quiet and feels a little flat compared to the 2012 show. All of the extra coverage of associated railroads is excellent. That does go pretty far off the Western Pacific story. A quality show, but not in my top rank for CSP.

Western Pacific is one of those railroads that are hard to find on film. This one is geared towards the history of this road and those other subjects. A must have for those so inclined.

Rating: 4 Stars