A 1960’s Train Travelogue

A 1960’s Train Traveloguecvr

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

F-Units on the Nanticoke: CN 9100’s

F-Units on the Nanticoke: CN 9100’sNanticoke

Green Frog / Canrail

3 DVD Set

Length: 3.2 Hours

Time Period: 1986

Locations: Hamilton to Nanticoke

Source: Rob McCormack

MSRP: 40.00

Green Frog has this extensive set, which feature vintage, rebuilt F7 units. The year is 1986. Canadian National had reassigned the venerable F7 Units to the steel train job at Hamilton. They are in ABA configuration. Specialized flatcars and gondolas haul the steel. The Canrail video crew spent 6 weeks recording the activity.

9169Trackside. (DVD 1)

9173Canadian National 9173 is the star of the show. This unit is the one that viewers will ride.

The first DVD contains a one hour film. This is not narrated.Graphics list locations. A map is needed. Without a map, there is no frame of reference. Appears to operate as an empties/ loads cycle. Basic service to a steel plant. Viewers will see various industrial steel products. .

grand river bridge1Videography is competent. Editing is smooth. Audio is environmental sound. Whatever the microphone picked up, is what we hear. Content is like watching raw video, with good edits.

caledoniaThe Trackside disc plays fine. Keep in mind, there is no narration. Would have enjoyed hearing this story. Oh well, at least hearing the normally aspirated power is a treat!

Covered Wagons Cab ride Part 1 : Hamilton to Hagersville.

hamilton                                  The train originates for this show at a CN yard.

street run                     Street running on the CN train. The cab is busy and noisy.

engineer                                       Canadian National Engineer is Ross Pearce.

woodsA basic cab ride on this branchline. Unique, as this was an actual working, revenue service F7 unit. Most other F unit rides are on museums or excursions. The radio communication and train orders add an extra bit of action. This is a fine way to experience an F7 unit.

Part 2: Hagersville to Nanticoke and Return to Caledonia

gate                                   Train 725 goes to the Stelco plant and picks up steel.

pearcePart 2 has more content of watching the engineer at work. The radio crackles as Joe communicates with the dispatchers and train crew.

riverAs the freight travels back, we see some now familiar sights. Grand River Bridge.

lakeThe camera gets bouncing on this segment. Likely rough trackage. Generally, it is best edited out. For historical value and completeness, well… hit the fast forward button.

roadF Units on the Nanticoke provides a trip back in time aboard CN 9173. The 2 part cab ride is the main feature. That is over 2 hours in an operating F7. Add to the fact, this is on a Class One railroad in 1986. A rare type of show.

mixedA Canadian National caboose (van in CN terminology) is at both ends of these trains. Though not stated, the ABA sets are probably run around the train, to always lead.

The Trackside footage is satisfactory. Seeing the vintage locomotives working is good. This one is screaming for a narrative. Green Frog usually has great scripts. Seems to be a Canrail production issue. Still, the trains are seen with a steady camera.

This is a fine set to have. On the whole, it has a workman like quality. Appeal is best directed to the hardcore railfan. Casual viewers will be left bassically clueless, without a narrative. Canadians should love it. True railfans will appreciate the historical aspect of the package.

Rating: 4 Stars

Pacing! 25 Years Along the High Iron

Pacing! 25 Years Along the High IronPacing-

Diverging Clear

Length: 3 1/2 Hours

Time Period: 1986- 2013

Locations: Illinois farmlands

Source: Dunn, Jensen, McPherson, Redmond

Producer: Mary McPherson

MSRP: 25.00

This new release by Diverging Clear should be subtitled: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. A 2 disc set. One is dedicated to 25 years of steam. The 2nd is 25 years of Diesel.

cn 5432Canadian National on former Illinois Central rails in 2013.

The show is action driven. Constant movement of the locomotives on the screen.

mpEach disc features 25 trains. There is a Chapter Menu. The volume level of the loading and menu portion is way too loud. It needs to balance with the program. The sound level will blow one put of the room.

sou 2638The Good: A nice assortment of Steam and Diesel. You would think the Steam would win a pacing show hands down. The drivers, the stack talk and the steam whistles are a formidable array. However, the Diesel portion is equally interesting. Theses are almost all rare. That is in the sense that the everyday operations of the late 1980’s and some 1990’s are not widely available in a pacing format.

4501Southern 4501 has one of the best whistles in the set. Great tone and it sounds ‘wet’.

9639

Most DCP shows do contain pacing sequences. Many of those presented are in the form of extended chase scenes.  Depending on individual taste, you can watch it or hit the ‘next’ button to skip ahead.

The Bad: Steam has some excessive wind noise. The type that has the potential to damage audio speakers.This is unfortunate. Skipped a few scenes that started out with loud pop and crackle noises. Having a raised volume is just plain fun with steam engines. Diesels is far better and the noise only occasionally is an issue.

csxcsx 2531

The Ugly: Diesels has those familiar old VHS cassette tape issues that are common. Work has been done to color correct. The source tapes can be a nasty challenge for anyone. Like many other train videos, the scarcity of the subject material can be the deciding factor.

ns 2595

Steam is loaded with the usual performers from the time period. NW 611, UP 3985, NKP 765 and 567, Soo 1003 plus L&N 152 are some. Black Hills Central, Ohio Central, and Northern Pacific are the ones not beat do death everywhere.

261 2000Milwaukee Road has a few appearances. In 2000, the wind noise isn’t annoying or present.

1522

Frisco 1522 is too common on this show. Variety in the form of actual vintage whistles used. Kurt Jensen does the very minimal narrative. Good plan, the locomotives are well suited to task. Each scene displays informative graphics.

chessie

Today’s technology should have rendered the wind noise inert. Just doesn’t belong on a year 2014 production. Various options could have improved the sound, including assorted substitutions.

crcnw 5097

That being said, This program does offer the chance to see 50 trains being paced in one set. The diesel variety seems to have a great mix of period lash-ups. The Heritage Series parallels the roadnames on this set. A few exceptions at the end. Ohio Central F units and modern BNSF ‘whatever they are’ set to music.

mpup 87

The producer has stated this release is a response to railfan requests. The bottom line for all viewers amounts to your choice. If you seek this footage- here it is. Can be adequate for pacing,as long as you consider it’s shortcomings. If you are hesitant to shell out. Similar and same action is available in many DCP programs.

Rating: 2 1/2 Stars

A Quarter Century of Steam

A Quarter Century of Steam25

Diverging Clear Productions

Length: 4 1/2 Hours

Time Period: 1985-2010

Locations: Midwest, East, and more..

Sources: Jensen, McPherson, Redmond, Tom and Kyle Dunn

Producer: Mary McPherson

MSRP: 30.00

Where can you find 65 steam locomotives in a train video? Diverging Clear has just released a pair of DVD’s that are packed with over 4 hours of steam action. Many locomotives are found here. The usual suspects are ever present. Railfans already can guess those examples that were running during those years. Union Pacific, Nickel Plate, Norfolk & Western are the major ones. Frisco, Southern Pacific, Pere Marquette, and Southern are some others.

sr 4501Southern 4501

A small sampling of what you will see in this show . There is much more. Many locomotives no longer are in service. There is plenty of fine cinematography. Kids will love this one.

3985 Union Pacific 3985.

ssw 819bCotton Belt 819

There are rarities to be enjoyed. Viewers will see operating steam power that is no longer in service. Re-lettered locomotives such as former Canadian railroads round out the selection. Special excursions and train museums, are where the trains operate.

black hillsBlack Hills Central encounters a mother deer and doe.

A variety of sizes and classes are here. Diminutive narrow gauge. Large Northerns from UP and Milwaukee Road. Passenger power. Consolidations, Mikados and Shays. Strange looking Chinese steam, on US rails. Articulated, with UP, N&W. Saddle tanker and even a replica of an early 440 steamer.

slsf 1522Frisco 1522 in a stunning scene. Reminds one of classic Emery Gulash. Some engines, like this one are shown very often. Ditto for UP 844, UP 3985, NW 1218.

cards

Kurt Jensen does minimal narration. Title screens offer the bulk of information. The program is better when Kurt adds more information.

grand canyonGrand Canyon

The show is arranged in chronological order. As one would expect, the quality increases over the timeline. 1985-2010. Editing is smooth. Sometimes, the lower quality is all there is of a rare scene. In that case, it’s better then nothing.

ebt

East Broad Top.

pm 1225Pere Marquette

soo 1003 2007Soo Line

mil 261This scene with Milwaukee Road 261 recalls the spirit of Lionel trains .

261A Quarter Century of Steam: 25 years. The show does contain many steam engines. It fulfills the advertised content. This reviewer does find the program overstays it’s welcome. There is too much repetition of the same engines. After awhile, the proceedings end up an excessive series of runbys. Seems that an hour or more would have served better. if presented as a separate bonus section.

gtw ocOhio Central has a restored Grand Trunk Western and more.

cn 89 strasburgCanadian National 89 is one of several steam engines seen at Strasburg, Pennsylvania.

There are 2 identities of DCP. There is the ‘new and improved’, with tight editing and sharper scripts. There is also the earlier incarnation. That has endless footage and simple narrative. This show falls into the early style.

tvrr

It is geared as a basic ‘Best of DCP Steam’. That all being said, this is worthy for the assortment and the rarities. If those are appealing, jump on it!

Rating: 3 Stars

TrainTown Toronto

Traintown Toronto TT Toronto

Green Frog

Length: 56 minutes

Time Period: early 1970’s

Source: Emery Gulash

MSRP: 24.98

Emery Gulash was one of the most notable train cinematographers ever. His vast collection of color 16mm films contains many classic railroads. He was fortunate enough to be able to travel extensively in an interesting era for trains. This show originates at Toronto in the early 1970’s.

Green Frog Productions have produced a fine selection of Emery filmed shows for decades. This release was a surprise. Emery and his friend Walt journeyed to Toronto for a few days of filming the action near Toronto’s main station.

1Canadian National and Canadian Pacific are the headliners in this show. GO and a bit of Ontario Northland are also here.

7Peter Youngblood narrates the tightly scripted program. Many details about operations and equipment result in an informative show.

cn 3155A specially modified MLW RS18 powers a passenger train between Toronto and southern Ontario. This fleet sported a unique livery, as seen here.

rdc torontoThis shot with the RDC set has some of downtown Toronto. The area seems to be miles long. Locations vary and Emery comes up with a plethora of classic Canadian trains. Some hazy weather is present.  Camera is smooth and professional. All color on gorgeous 16mm film.

cp6543 rGreen Frog is commended for their state of the art digital production.

cn3232 c424Emery recorded sounds trackside as well. The soundtrack sounds good. CN 3232 returns with a light engine move at Cabin D. Earlier, these babies were hauling freight.

cn super continentalCanadian National’s Super Continental. It’s long summer consist departs Toronto. This scene captures more of the vastness of the rail network, in the Toronto vicinity.

walt sardinhaA salute to many of the railfans who were shooting trackside. To be Walt Sardinha alongside Emery back in the day. How cool is that?

go9801 gp40tc eastboundGovernment of Ontario Transit. Commonly referred to as GO Transit. This odd locomotive is a GP40TC.

cp6525 s3Some earlier paint schemes are seen on Canadian Pacific. The Pacman livery was new.

Usually, I like to close a review with a caboose. Due to the fact that we see CN and CP equally, let us see two…

cabin dCanadian Pacific, with some wonderful, old 40 foot boxcars. At Cabin D, all switches are hand thrown. Dedicated switchmen await orders, via a loudspeaker system. Hey, I waited all day to get the word via into this review. That’s right, this predates those VIA trains.

cnCanadian National with a pretty as picture money shot from Emery.

TrainTown Toronto is a highly enjoyable visit to the past. An excellent assortment of passenger and freight train action. Plenty of Canadian rarities that will satisfy everyone.

Although Emery Gulash has passed into history, his work lives on. There are many fine titles featuring his great cinematography. In fact, Green Frog has been remastering those shows. As far as TrainTown Toronto…. It is as fantastic as the rest. A must have for vintage railfans.

Rating: 5 Stars