Rotaries 2, Battle to Open Donner Pass

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Producer: Tim Walter

Timeframe: 2011

Locations: Truckee, Emigrant Gap, Cisco..

Length: 58 minutes

Source: Brendan Compton, Mike Haire, Dick Dorn

The second part to Rotaries, Avalanche on the Mountain. A Flanger train is stuck under an avalanche. The Rotary Snowplow gets dispatched from Truckee! Well, not exactly…

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-13h19m30s895Similar documentary style, as the original show. Employee narration via interviews. Other times, it is radio traffic. On-screen graphics, also convey various information. There is a narrator, to round things out.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-12h59m30s815Broadcast quality footage. Audio as well. No maps are included. A bonus preview section. A widescreen presentation. 

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-12h13m12s759This program begins with the Flanger train, stuck in an avalanche. Where we were left hanging, at the end of that show. Their is commentary, about the incident here. Even still photographs.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-12h25m51s694I was fully expecting to see a rescue mounted to the beleaguered Flanger. In fact, as a Rotary is dispatched from Truckee, it appears to be the case. However, that’s all folks.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-12h31m23s002Now, the story is redirected. The massive snowfall. Following the Rotary, as it works hard, to clear the mainline through Donner Pass. The Snow Service operation works, day and night.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-12h57m13s931The Rotary Train must travel all the way down to Roseville. In order to clear the.line and turnaround.

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Rotary 209 has some derailments in the heavy snow! This is tricky work. Snow drifts at least 10 feet high. Big Union Pacific GE AC locomotives are assigned to this train. The EMD F7B is the Rotary’s power.

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The height of the snow, can be hard to judge. Check this signal tower.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-12h38m08s054Difficult going at Cisco. Back and forth. The Rotary wants to climb off the tracks. The locomotives experience wheel slip. The crew spends hours battling through.

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A sideview of the Rotary.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-15h14m58s193Some fantastic aerial drone views. These appear to be a recent addition.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-13h04m35s898The camera does spend a lengthy amount of time, in this position. Could have used some narration, during this stretch. Definitely.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-13h21m08s205The magic of the original show. A combination of the outstanding videography and employee commentary. The way that was edited, gave the show a unique flavor. Those same elements are present in the initial stages, but drops off. A worthy show to add to the collection.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

14 Miles Cajon Pass

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Producer: Tim Walter

Locations: Cajon Pass, Sullivan’s Curve, Palmdale Cut-off…

Timeframe: 2019

Here is a current visit to world famous, Cajon Pass! The 14 miles, refers to the length. Operating freight traffic, is by Union Pacific and BNSF. Fans of the modern rail scene, are in for quite a treat.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h37m10s560As one would expect from Pentrex, all of the  best known locations are included. Many others, as well.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-19h30m06s169A single DVD-R.  Detailed Chapter Menu. On screen graphics. Preview section. Great picture and natural audio. Excellent post production.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h18m31s859A colorful, custom map is included. Only referenced a single time. Veteran Railfans already know this material. However, newer people likely would appreciate multiple references.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h55m11s295Veteran announcer Dave Drui handles a relaxed script. Informative, yet leaving plenty of space to listen to the trains. So, activate that soundbar!

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-20h22m52s594The busiest railroad, mountain crossing, in the United States. This is the subtitle. Hits the nail on the head! There are 100 scheduled trains daily.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h22m00s941Blue Cut is where the San Andreas Fault is located. A blue CSX accentuates the bluish stone.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h33m38s388It takes quite awhile to change locations sometimes. However, no shortage of traffic.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-19h05m54s142For those unfamiliar with this part of the country. Note the dry riverbed. These can sometimes becoming raging torrents. Have no idea about this specific one.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h59m07s795Very little, in run through locomotives. Several Citirail units are seen.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h57m27s523An odd moment. Mention of this train breaking down later in the show, causing traffic problems. No further discussion.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-19h56m20s535A show highlight, is the cut to Cajon 1976 footage!

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 Big Boy 4014 rolls by, a single pass in 2019.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-19h37m19s030A couple of shots from a rare snowfall are another break, from the unit trains.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-19h53m09s035Amtrak Southwest Chief has a single rollby.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-19h33m23s508Almost missed it! A Chicago and NorthWestern unit, is in the middle of this lash-up.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-20h55m05s247Cajon Summit is acheived, at the end.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-20h42m13s259UP fans will want their flag on the summit. The 9068, is an SD70AH. 

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-20h00m51s397Note, this is the older BNSF livery. Santa Fe traditional style lettering. C44-9W.

While present day railroading, is not my wheelhouse. The combination of slow trains, and beautiful scenery has its own charm. Hearing the locomotives working hard is another positive.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h45m22s774The two hour length could have been edited down considerably. Certain locations, the camera is planted there, for far too long. Particularly, in the first hour. Unusual, as Pentrex normally picks up and moves!

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For a show featuring the current railroad scene, special scenery is a must have. Everything else is repetitive. This show is well put together. Although, this era is not to my interest, it is a good show. Recommended, if you enjoy today’s railroading.

Rating: 4 Stars

Espee Hall Of Fame

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Producer: Charles Smiley

Timeframe: 1991-95

Locations: Sacramento, Elvas, Roseville, Stockton, Ione, Antelope

Length: 2 hours 42 minutes

Source: Gino Pagliaro

A long look at the 1990s era Southern Pacific. All of this is pre- merger to Union Pacific. Videographer was centered around Sacramento CA. Hence, the locations are centered from that area.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-10h39m59s632Charles Smiley Presents, has the most comprehensive Southern Pacific coverage overall. This program adds to that fine catalog.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-11h02m40s326All of the usual, and generous extras are included. A factory pressed silver DVD. Chapter Menu. On screen graphics. A preview section. Venerable SD7/9 units have good coverage.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-09h26m40s237Plenty of his wonderful, custom made maps!

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-09h48m26s281Obviously, only a small portion is review able here. Should be about what you will expect. High quality in all areas. Predominantly, 2nd and some 1st generation EMD power. Some newer wide cabs. General freight traffic predominates. 

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-09h42m50s163The trains are running at City speeds. The slower pace allows for good trainwatching.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-11h36m40s300Memorable, are these five GP9 locomotives. Nice catch!

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Someone always asks, Are there Tunnel Motors? Plenty! These SD40T-2 units, are on the line to Donner Pass.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-09h37m59s146Model Railroaders will love the long strings of freight cars, as they leisurely pass before the camera. American River is crossed here.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-10h19m38s046Gino’s videography is excellent! Very aware of lighting and composition. He spent years shooting this footage. There is so much more, than simply pointing a camera.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-10h02m41s269Much time is spent at Elvas Junction. Shot with the Tower standing, and after it’s removal. An inside look there is interesting. Highly enjoyable Chapter!

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-09h27m04s315Haggin Jct. crosses a former Western Pacific line. A couple of Union Pacific trains are shown, on that lower track.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-10h18m54s472Just past the picturesque Davis station, some Soo Line power is on the lead.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-10h22m19s396Sugar beet operations are reviewed around David. California Northern also serves this area.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-10h27m32s409A Rio Grande GP30 smokes it up at Antelope.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-09h28m50s166Out to the rural Ione branch. This segment runs long.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-10h30m15s800Last licks for the Amador Central. Finally, behind an Electromotive diesel. See another Charles Smiley shortline show, for the Baldwin era.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-10h31m58s782Stockton is next. Tower is there. Now gone. Check a Santa Fe move. Purely for variety!

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-11h01m25s151Although many of the locomotives are heavily weathered. Everything runs! Again, note how Gino gets perfect lighting. Textbook examples, on how to film a train.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-10h53m27s566Roseville yard is visited. The hump operation, receives an up close visit.

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There are assorted views at Roseville.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-10h59m33s369The flat end of the yard, with assembled trains. The Eastern line to Oregon has some trainwatching, as seen below.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-11h28m18s770Espee Hall of Fame is a long show at over 2 1/2 hours. Naturally, this inclined will still want more. Others, may best view it in chunks. It is a huge amount of Scarlet Grey to digest in a single sitting!

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The program is top shelf from end to end. Expert videography. Rather quiet for a Charles Smiley show. Mostly narrative and train sounds. Very little music or even locomotive horns. A high level of detail on the passing trains and locations. Plenty of historical references. Overall, another great entry in the CSP Southern Pacific shows.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

Southern Pacific Steam Anthology

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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!

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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.

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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

 

 

Railfanning Cajon and Tehachapi

Railfanning-Cajon-and-Tehachapi-1976-1993-DVD-D-150

Producer: Charles Smiley

Timeframe: 1970 – 1993

Locations: Cajon Pass, Tehachapi Pass, Colton, San Bernardino,

Length: 1 hour 38 minutes

Sources: Jon Davis and more

Cajon Pass  and Tehachapi Pass. They are featured in this new release, from Charles Smiley Presents. This program looks further, than just those two areas. A desirable era, the includes films from the 1970s.

The single DVD is a silver, factory pressed disc. Same facilities, as used by Hollywood.

A numbered Chapter Menu, is included. CSP always provides, highest quality, custom made maps. Frequently referenced, and appropriate close-ups. Preview section of additional CSP shows.

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A multitude of on-screen graphics. Providing a variety of information. Sometimes, quite detailed which adds to the discussion.

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Sample of one map. Palmdale is being targeted. Color coded trackage.

Three Class One Railroads are all co-stars.

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Santa Fe

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Southern Pacific

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Union Pacific.

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Additional roadnames, such as Burlington Northern. Run through power, with Chicago and North Western.

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Audio has accurate to the locomotive sounds. Laid-back background music balanced the soundtrack.

Charles Smiley narrates. He his always, interesting and informative. Giving a wealth of knowledge, on these subjects.

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Film quality is excellent, overall. Digital restoration has great color balance. Appears to be predominantly 8mm sourced. Camera work is highly competent. Clear views of trains. All seasons.

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Cajon with snow. Amtrak passengers had a spectacular view!vlcsnap-2019-10-24-12h13m41s779Cajon Pass. There is a good amount of footage here. A welcome change from recent times! By this time, the Pinstripe Blue scheme has been replaced with the popular Warbonnet scheme.

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Of course, Santa Fe and Southern Pacific have the rails. Kodachrome repaints are easily found on Santa Fe.

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Colton has abundant trains. The yard leads and Colton Crossing. An SP Kodachrome.

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Of note. Talk about a pig train! A rare scene, is this move of hogs.

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Model Railroaders will be pleased. FYI- Charles has a fascinating Model Railroad. A plethora, of vintage freight and trailer on flatcars, roll by the camera. Eyeball, that blue L&N boxcar!

vlcsnap-2019-10-24-11h42m30s479Double – Diesels are a fine chapter. Electromotive gets the nod. DD40AX.  Built in 1969… Centennials.

vlcsnap-2019-10-24-15h27m21s404Static photographs augment the show. Earlier, DD35 units are also shown, on movie footage. 

Learn the background of the Double Diesels. The UP goals, and implementation.

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General Electric Turbines get looked at, as well. How did these Big Blows, relate to the later EMD units that followed? Answers within the show.

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Tehachapi Pass is well done. Different Cinematographers, with fine views on the scenes.

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Tunnels, in particular are a fine assortment.

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Good overview of Tehachapi area.

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Railfanning Cajon and Tehachapi. Comprehensive coverage of two, world famous locations. Additional areas simply add to this enjoyable show! The three featured railroads are classics.

This Charles Smiley Presents, checks all the boxes. What’s not to like?

Rating: 5 Stars