A Yellowhead Winter

A Yellowhead Wintercvr

Highball Productions

Length: 1 Hour 16 minutes

Time Period: 2005

Locations: Edmunton, Hinton, Jasper

Source: Peter Crook

MSRP: 19.95

Another tour Canada by rail style program from Highball Productions. VIA operates The Canadian on Canadian National rails. A unique viewpoint of a traveler on the famous train.


Edmunton is the departure point as the view from a domeliner will be a regular seat. Other areas, such as the dining car and side window scenery watching add variety. Exteriors include: CN freights, wildlife and a plethora beautiful scenic vistas.

cn frt A PBS style presentation which suits the show very well. First rate cinematography, that will please anyone who sees this program. Audio is a smooth narrative over mellow, new age music. While railfans may miss some diesel roar and airhorns, this is a nice departure from the more common soundtracks. The use of a roadside billboard for a map, though clever, really is the sole letdown.

elk (2)Compact wildlife inclusions such as these elk, bighorn sheep and a bit more.

via canadian yellowhead passAction at Yellowhead Pass. The Yellowhead Highway parallels the mainline for many miles.

Smooth narration conveys an intelligent script. An in depth history of The Canadian, railroad construction and evolution of this passenger service is offered, as we traverse the scenic line. The forming of The Canadian Rocky Mountains is another detailed subject.


The Skeena is another Via passenger train. Both use vintage Budd stainless steel cars.

ababascaCanadian National trains look tiny against towering mountains.

cr                          Spectacular scenic vistas seem to go on for days.

jasper moon                                                           Moon over Jasper.

A Yellowhead Winter transports viewers across part of Western Canada on CN rails. The appealing scenery and see Canada premise, will be good for family viewing. There is a long closing chapter of scenery only. Keep in mind, this is a train centered show, although far from exclusively railroading.

This release has a certain elegant quality with the scenery and presentation. A fine show..

Rating: 4 Stars


Western Canada Series: Complete Set

Western Canada Series: Complete Set

Greg Scholl Video Productions

Format: 4 DVD set

Length: Over 4 hours + previews

Time Period: 1992

Locations: Transcontinental mainlines of Canadian National, and Canadian Pacific.

Canadian Rockies, Kicking Horse Pass, Yellowhead Pass, Fraser Canyon… 

Source: Greg Scholl

MSRP: 99.95
Greg Scholl’s fine Western Canada Series is available in a 4 DVD set with value pricing.

This will save you money. A discount on buying the complete series, as a set of 4 DVD’s.

The programs included are related by the scope, and time they were originally filmed. This results in a cohesive look at Canadian National and Canadian Pacific. The locations are the best of both railroads. There are 2 features on CP Rail. One feature on CN. Another show has both of the railroads sharing separate banks of a river, through scenic canyons.

Each volume is available separately as well. Previews of other Greg Scholl titles are included in each DVD. The series programs have each been individually reviewed on American Train Video Reviews. They were received as the complete set. Following is the list of the titles, with a brief synopsis. Refer to the single reviews for more details.

Canadian Pacific’s Kicking Horse Pass.

See this famous route, from Field to Lake Louise. The lower and higher spiral tunnels at Kicking Horse Pass are one of many highlights. Not a long show at 45 minutes. Every minute counts and no time is wasted. CP Rail runs many trains here. Vital part of  the transcontinental mainline.

Spectacular scenery makes this a must see program, for anyone interested in trains. The scenic wonders will be enjoyable for non trainhead people too. Fine for the woman, the kids, try it at a public trainshow. A truly wonderful journey, through one of North America’s most beautiful places.

Cab Ride Over Kicking Horse Pass.

A nice companion to the Kicking Horse Pass program. Ride in the cab of a CP Rail SD40F diesel locomotive. The journey covers the 20 miles from Field to Lake Louise. As satisfying as the 1st program is, the alternate view of the line is a welcome viewpoint. A great cab ride! The camera mainly faces forward. Additional views include: watching the engineer at work, and some scenic highlights from the side window. The ride through the spiral tunnels is fun, as is the whole show. At 76 minutes, this contains a fine program.

CN’s Yellowhead Pass.

This feature also has a 45 minute runtime. CN runs from Jasper through Yellowhead Pass, and more. Mt. Robson is the highest peak in Canada at 12,000 + feet. Action packed program with a wide variety of trains. Via rail has passenger trains. The Canadian and The Skeena make appearances. Caboose hungry railfans will get CN cabins on Prince George bound freight trains.Panaramic views from across some lakes, with some trains reflected in the water. The blend of trains, scenic beauty and wildlife, gives a combination of pure Canadian bliss.

Canada’s Canyon Route.

This is the fourth volume. Fraser River Canyon and Thompson River Canyon. Both Canadian Pacific and Canadian National operate on their separate right of ways. A river in the center divides the railroads to each riverbank. As is the case, with Yellowhead Pass and Kicking Horse Pass, each region has it’s own natural beauty. So it goes with the Canada Canyon routes. Different from the others, awe-inspiring like the others. Runs for 60 minutes. This one has the advantage of both roads in one program. Action packed!

Western Canada Series: Complete Set

All of the shows are highly rated on their own merits. As a complete set, they get rated higher. The interrelated programs go together extremely well. The four volumes are different sections of a complete story. The consistency offered by the high quality of Greg Scholl does give the viewer a great experience of the lines viewed in Canada. Value priced as the complete set makes this an attractive purchase. This would make a great gift for any railfan. Especially, for the hard to buy for, one that seemingly has everything.

Rating: 5 Stars

Canada’s Canyon Route

Canada’s Canyon Route

Greg Scholl Video Productions

Format: DVD

Length: One hour

Time Period: 1992

Locations: Fraser River Canyon, Boston Bar, Thompson River Canyon, Lytton, Cisco, Pitquah, Spences Bridge

Source: Greg Scholl

Western Canada Series

MSRP: 29.95

This is the fourth volume to review of this fine series. The areas are, Fraser River Canyon and Thompson River Canyon. Both Canadian Pacific and Canadian National operate on their separate right of ways. A river in the center divides the railroads to each riverbank. As is the case with Yellowhead Pass and Kicking Horse Pass, each region has it’s own natural beauty. So it goes with the Canada Canyon routes. Different from the others, awe inspiring like the others.

The show plays like a double feature film. Two of Canada’s biggest railway stars, with the canyon as the stage. If you have never seen film of this location, you are missing out, in a huge way. Action is wall to wall trains. A big parade of trains from a variety of viewpoints.

                                        An occasional map will illustrate the way.

Narration has more presence in this show. Informative and historical discussions.

The scenery is just spectacular! The natural cliffs and rockface are a stunning backdrop. The clear views afforded by shooting across the river, allow for panoramic views. Pine trees remain a part of the scene. The trees are not in a dense forest. Here they are spread out and the mood of this place is much more open then the dense forest of the other locations. Another location in Thompson Canyon, has very sparse vegetation, for more variation.

Trains themselves are various freight traffic. The Canadian unit grain trains have the colorful, large covered hoppers. Some of them are the cylindrical types. They are in a rainbow of colors. Unit coal also travels the lines. CN has unit sulfur moves for export. COFC and TOFC are seen on the lines.There are also, the general merchandise freights.

The normal locomotives are SD40-2 types. Various options  include, wide safety cabs, and full length cowls. CP Rail has mid train SD40 helpers with locotrol equipment for control. Seems that at least one unit in each set of locotrol helpers has blanked out windows. Probably these house the specialized gear required. Keep a sharp eye out for at least one full height pacman logo on a locotrol helper. Canadian National also has some safety cab GP40 diesels on a few trains.

The high vantage points can have the passing freights look like small ‘n gauge’ models against the imposing mountains. A little closer and they can look like HO scale models. By the way, you won’t need forced perspective (as in model railroading) to make the near train look bigger than the background move. The distance of the river takes care of that. You can see two trains, on two riverbanks, in a single scene.

At Cisco the CP crosses over to the other riverbank via a bridge. CN does likewise.

Canadian Pacific built the first railway through the area. They chose the easiest route.

There is other power on this line. BC Rail runs a train here. The British Columbia freight even totes a caboose! Some leased locos include ex: Norfolk & Western SD40’s with high hoods, still in black! Algoma Central diesels can be mu’ed in lash-ups. Aren’t the Algoma Central SD’s reminiscent of Erie Lackawanna?

We have all heard of and seen snowsheds. Common to routes with heavy snowstorms in mountains. Ever hear of a rockshed? The canyon is a very rocky place. The rock-slides are a very serious hazard. You’ll see a number of these rocksheds, complete with plenty of rocks on the slides. Model that for a contest. Wow!

Tunnels are also a feature of the canyon’s rugged terrain. See some big horn sheep clinging to the mountainside, while a CN freight passes below them.

The words to describe the raw, wild attractiveness of the area, are only words. This is something that you will have to see to believe.

All four volumes can be purchased individually. The complete set of four, is available at a value price. For those with a strong interest in Canadian railroading, the set is highly recommended. Either way, they will stand up to repeated viewings.

The series is closely related. Each volume builds upon, and compliments the others. Sometimes one can cherry-pick from a set. In the case of Western Canada Series, all of the volumes are excellent. If you just want to try one, this show is at the very top of the list.

Canada’s Canyon Route is an outstanding program. This is a ‘must see’ for any railfan.

Rating: 5 Stars

CN’s Yellowhead Pass

CN’s Yellowhead Pass

Greg Scholl Video Productions

Format: DVD

Length: 45 minutes + previews

Time Period: 1992

Locations: Jasper, Yellowhead Pass, Moose Lake, Yellowhead Lake, Red Pass, Taverna, more..

Source: Greg Scholl

Western Canada Series

MSRP: 29.95

Greg Scholl’s Western Canada Series is a set of four related DVD programs. This Canadian National volume passes through gorgeous Canadian Rockies scenery. Yellowhead is just one of many beautiful locations, along this feature CN trackage.

Yellowhead Pass is loaded with train action! Types of freight include; milled lumber on bulkhead flatcars, tanks, and CN boxcars. The usual assortment will also be found in the form of interchange cars. Sharp eyed viewers will see a cut of a CN crane and related equipment on a freight. Grain trains are plentiful. Intermodal and some coal moves, as well. The film frequently has the entire consist rollby.

Yellowhead Lake provides panoramic views.

The blend of trains, scenic beauty and wildlife, gives a combination of pure Canadian bliss.

A variety of weather adds character to the show. Yes, you will see snow. The snow on the mountains makes for stunning backgrounds. They can be shrouded in foggy clouds. Clear conditions reveal spectacular scenic vistas. Other views are in warmer temperatures.

There are some handy maps that are referenced for locations. These are good for keeping a sense of place as the show progresses. A chapter menu is included. On screen graphics will add details to many moves.

An informative and professional narrative is helpful for understanding these remote locations. The narrator will often describe: train, heading and destination. Some history is presented. A little light on engine types or explaining the background of Yellowhead’s name. No worries, keep reading…

The transcontinental mainline is a busy place. Many freights travel the route. Certain freight trains will have a caboose. VIA transcontinental trains have classic, stainless steel passenger cars. F40PH locomotives are the power for some name trains. Via trains #1 and #2 are ‘The Canadian’. Via #5 and #6 are ‘ The Skeena’.

Canadian National favors the wide, comfort cab locomotives. They were an early proponent of the modified EMD cab. It proved to be successful. This design than found it’s way onto the American railroads. SD50F units like CN #5401, also has a full body cowl. SD40-2W #5259 has the wide cab and standard SD40 body. Standard cab SD40 #5113 is from a 1969 EMD order, it has some CN specific modifications, including snow shields. CN #9513 is another safety cab model, a GP40-2LW. This information is not conveyed in this show. Would have liked to had the info on these unique models included in this program. I have added this extra detail, for those who will watch it.

CN designated some trains must have a caboose!

Jasper, Alberta is the entrance for our Canadian sojourn. A division crew change point that hosts many CN trains. Stunningly beautiful and a fantastic area for the railfan.

Traveling westward to Yellowhead area, More gorgeous views. Some snow cover and lightly falling snow set the tone for a CN freight. Weather and snow vary throughout.

By the way, Yellowhead (Tete Jaune in French) was a nickname for a trapper employed by Hudson’s Bay Company on an 1820 expedition through the pass. (I looked it up) You will see Tete Jaune listed as a subdivision on one of the maps.

Yellowhead Lake.  These were shot from across the lake! Nice, unobstructed shots. Trains are reflected in the water. Effective and artistic. Want to see more like this? Moose Lake is similar, and just up the line.

Mt. Robson, at over 12,000 feet is the highest point in the Canadian Rockies. It makes a dramatic backdrop for trains passing the area. The Mt. Robson subdivision has dense forest with high pine trees. There are many runbys here. The trains bound for Prince George all have a required CN caboose.

Taverna and the line west of it are also splendid.

The videography is excellent in the show. Greg has a great eye for getting these trains balanced with the scenery. The wildlife views are a fun extra ingredient. The live, natural stereo audio is very clear. The EMD chant is easily heard from the passing lash-ups.

A rebuilt GP9 is #4019, it powers a CN track test train. A brief, detailed visit within the test train is interesting.

The whole family can have a good time with this program. Kids will like the near constant flow of trains.The women will love the beauty of the region. The glimpse of local wildlife add that much more enjoyment.

This is an excellent program. At 45 minutes, the running time is somewhat short. The narrative is slightly light, on the items brought up earlier here. Scenery is the backbone of this show. Although, CP Rail does have more spectacles. CN’s Yellowhead Pass has a wealth of, it’s own scenic wonders. They are different routes through the awesome Canadian Rockies.

Most likely, you will want, and end up needing, the great coverage of both Canadian railroads by Greg Scholl Video Productions.

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Early Diesels Complete 3 Volume Set

Early Diesels Complete 3 Volume Set

Greg Scholl Video Productions

Format: 3 DVD set

Length: 3 1/2 hours +

Time Period: 1980’s – 2002

Locations: USA and Canada

Producer: Greg Scholl

Early Diesels series

MSRP:  74.95

The Early Diesels series has it’s primary focus on first generation diesels. Vintage engines that still operate. Shown in contemporary service and painstakingly restored, in some cases. These are some of the classic diesel locomotives, that replaced steam engines in the 1950’s. There are a few 2nd generation units from the 1960’s included in the volumes.

There is a treasure trove of variety in this triple set. Viewed in revenue service, museums, dinner trains, mixed trains, photo charters and passenger excursions. Canadian mainline action, to little shortlines. Early diesels sure covers a wide array of operational scenarios. Paint schemes run the gamut from: original, to modernized and customized.

All three volumes are available separately. The usual cost savings by purchasing the set, is a nice advantage for those who desire the complete series. These shows all have individual reviews on ATVR. So, just some brief descriptions are listed here.

They all have high production standards in common. First rate camerawork. Informative and effective narratives. Plenty of live, natural sound audio. The shows all run smoothly. You’ll wonder where the time went, while viewing these shows.

Early Diesels is the first volume. Filmed between 1987 – 1989.t has a running time of 90 minutes. Ambitious coverage of 9 states plus Canada. Some highlights are: Bangor and Aroostock GP7’s, St. Lawrence & Atlantic has former Central Vermont painted GP9’s, Southern Railway FP7’s, Little Rock & Western Alco C-420’s.. The long Canadian chapter offers MLW/ Alco locos in mainline, revenue service. Canadian National, CP Rail and Via all are running old locomotives, in the winter as seen  here. Excellent program.

Early Diesels 2 runs about an hour. A decade from 1989-1999. Some highlights: Apache Railway in Arizona with Alco C420’s.Trona Baldwins in Trona, CA., Chicago Central GP10, Mt. Hood mixed train, Santa Fe Southern, and more.  A good show.

Early Diesels 3. Covers nearly twenty years. 1986 to 2002. Runs at 65 minutes. This volume ramps up the action. Even more variety. 1st and 2nd generation power in this show. There are some fantastic private owner and museum locomotives.

Great cab rides are the icing on the cake. Potomac Eagle charter with: Alco FP4A in Missouri Pacific blue, GP9 in Baltimore and Ohio original scheme, CSX F7. TTI with GE U-28-B’s. Alco S2 and RS1’s. Much more. For the DVD release, Greg added an Ohio Central F7 bonus section that is great.      An outstanding program!

The trio of Early Diesels provides a contemporary look at vintage locomotives. Amazing that given the ages, these were even running. Some have since changed owners or been retired. They are in these programs to enjoy, permanently.

Greg Scholl has this offered the trio at value pricing. They each have fine attributes. Any fan of classic diesel locomotives, will likely want all three volumes. There is a ton of fun here! The wide scope of this collection has something for everyone.

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars