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

 

 

Michigan Ore Lines

MICH-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1989- 2019

Locations: Marquette, Eagle Mills, Escanaba, Munising, more.

Length: 1 hour 54 minutes

Sources: Drayton Blackgrove, Alex Christmas (bumpers)

Pentrex has an, updated and augmented, new release here. They have an older show, Michigan Ore Lines. The current, 2017-2019 footage has been added in front and back. These bumpers, bring this area current!

A bonus, vintage 1950s film. Michigan Ore has also been included. To top off this package. The Widescreen update, can be viewed seperately.

This release is jam packed! Comprehensive coverage. Let’s see some highlights…

vlcsnap-2019-10-21-11h04m06s517Lake Superior and Ishpeming, is the star of the show. Chicago and North Western, also appears. Escanaba and Lake Superior is included. LS&I GE U23C leads the train.

vlcsnap-2019-10-21-12h25m17s719Visual quality is source dependent. Naturally, the new footage has an excellent appearance. The 1989 video material doesn’t have the clarity on a modern, large screen. The color balance is mostly fine on the older video show. Restoration work has been done. Just don’t expect modern viewing on the older video.

vlcsnap-2019-10-21-15h21m28s264This is a single DVD-R. A Master Show Menu is included. Ore Lines has it’s own detailed Chapter Menu. On-screen graphics with additional information. No maps. A Preview section, of more Pentrex shows. FYI- they usually are generous on previews.

vlcsnap-2019-10-21-11h02m04s284The original show, was produced by Dan Hadley. It is narrated by Paul Meinke. Natural audio. Good, balanced audio.

The new segments are Pentrex. Dave Drui narrates this portion. Fascinating information. Razor sharp videography!

vlcsnap-2019-10-21-12h23m30s903GE AC44CW units are leased to LS&I. This is Presque Isle. The Ore Dock is immense.

vlcsnap-2019-10-21-12h28m09s672Revealing, are some aerial sequences. The area will make sense, after following these views. Smart, to shoot in this fashion!

vlcsnap-2019-10-21-11h19m25s605Excellent views of ore loading. Aerials, as well. Learn the dock operation.

vlcsnap-2019-10-21-11h48m58s247Trio of RSD15 engines. The Yard Job. Two other assignments are: The Dock Job and The Hill Job.

Alcos have some personality. Some can really smoke it up. They have those sounds, that only Alcos make.

vlcsnap-2019-10-21-11h05m33s952A General Electric U-25-C, is still operating in 1989! Note the single piece windshield.

vlcsnap-2019-10-21-11h38m50s852Alligators are ex:Santa Fe. Alco RSD15.

Alcos have some personality. Some can really smoke it up. They have those sounds, that only Alcos make.

vlcsnap-2019-10-21-10h51m23s948A little variety of diesels on LS&I. Paint schemes, as well. A roster review is with footage at the LS&I yard.

vlcsnap-2019-10-21-11h15m17s056A lone Alco RS3 works a Kimberly Clark plant. Munising, Michigan, this is disconnected from the LS&I proper.

vlcsnap-2019-10-21-11h09m46s402Check the brake shoes smoke, from the ore Jennies!

vlcsnap-2019-10-21-11h33m54s846Ride to the dock. View from the cab of an RSD15.

vlcsnap-2019-10-21-11h51m46s000Several scenes of Chicago and North Western. The C628 units were gone. Various trains are viewed. EMD powered.

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Escanaba and Lake Superior. They saw little that was operating. Shop visit reveals more  power,although it is parked. A Baldwin, with an Electromotive SD9 are seen here.

vlcsnap-2019-10-21-12h15m06s787Following the 1989 show. Modern LS&I footage returns. The former Burlington Northern GE U30Cs, are also LS&I locomotives.

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The big General Electric locomotives are the current workhorses.

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Michigan Ore was made for The Iron Mining Industry of Minnesota. Typical, mid- century: People, Industry and Government,all work together. It does have educational value. Taconite manufacturing is explained in detail. Little railroading, This Great Northern scene is sweet!

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Michigan Ore Lines- Wide Screen update. Seperate, Bonus Film. This is 2017-2019 video. The two bumpers are combined.

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Pentrex has a complete package here. Deftly combining modern, and vintage LS&I, into a satisfying show. Additional CNW and E&LS,within the old video, gives us further great material.

The Wide Screen Update. Playable as a separate film. This is a smart offering. The same basic, operation.  Modern production standards. In a compact length., Perhaps a solution, to the tastes of younger viewers.

Throw in the vintage Ore movie short. Informative, if dated by it’s era.

This is a well thought-out, new release. Pentrex wanted perfection. They have the most complete program, on Michigan Ore Lines. The top release on this subject.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

Alcos, Iron Ore and More!

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Producer: Marc S. Balkin

Timeframe: 1985

Locations: Escanaba, Green Bay, Marquette, more…

Length: 1 hour

Source: Marc Balkin

Join Jim Boyd on a three day tour. Editor of Railfan & Railroad Magazine. He travels with Marc Balkin of Mark 1 Video.  They videotape this show in July, 1985.

They set out to record the still operating Chicago and North Western Alco Century 628 locomotives. Lake Superior and Escanaba, Baldwin in Great Northern colors. Lake Superior and Ishpeming operations. A bit more.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h10m43s348Jim Boyd is an enthusiastic narrator! The script is a little on the sparse side. Time left to hear the locomotives operate. Enough information is provided. 6702 gets a great pacing sequence!

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h58m25s666Chicago and North Western. Lake Superior and Ishpeming, are the main railroads featured. Along with Escanaba and Lake Superior. No Chapter Menu. A single DVD-R. Sturdy hardshell plastic case.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h13m06s175Escanaba Yard, has CNW C628, in old and new paint schemes.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h15m32s829The Century engines are nearly worth the price of admission. But wait, there’s more…

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h33m23s598Image quality is an obvious video source. Minor tape flaws appear all during the show. It is like watching an old video. Has a constant horizontal  distortion bar along bottom of the screen. Color balance is fine. Sound levels are good. Narrative and live sound. Assorted maps. On-screen graphics with additional information.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h26m30s618On Escanaba & Lake Superior. A clean Baldwin RS12, in Great Northern colors! All the rage it was in 1985. It is great to hear the odd sounding Baldwin operate, as paced.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h20m44s844The pacing sequences are all shot smoothly. This Baldwin pulls a short cut. There are steady pacing shots throughout the show.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h37m01s278A trio of red LS&I units. Included their only running General Electric U25C.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h54m14s622Lake, Superior & Ishpeming. The various jobs are described concisely. Yet, detailed enough for viewers. Dock Job shown here.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h33m39s745Good views of the loading of an ore boat. Camera work is rock solid.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h42m27s842C&NW trains are interjected, from time to time.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h44m28s838Excellent details on heritage of the various LS&I units shown. RSD12s from C&O, for example.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-15h45m14s710Former Santa Fe ‘Alligator’ Alco RSD15, wait for a crew. Eagle Mills Yard.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-16h01m26s503Appleton Yard,  former New York Central, Alco RS32 locomotives. Now working for Chicago and North Western.

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-16h13m49s650The Green Bay and Western gets a single train. Street chase at Green Bay, Wisconsin. Yes, this Engineer hollers at  careless driver! No, you can’t hear him. 

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-16h00m06s201Not a caboose to be found in this show. Let’s begin to  close, with this shot of our lively host. Nice work, Jim and Marc!

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Alcos, Iron Ore and More! The Diesels of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Delivers on the promised locomotives. Good visual and audio presentation. Video flaws are too much for ignoring. Very good show, with the hard to find power in service, on the Upper Peninsula and Green Bay area.

Rating: 4 Stars

Classic Chicago and North Western Vol 2

CNW2

Producer: CVP

Timeframe: 1977- 88

Locations: Iowa, Minn., Wisc.,NE, Glen Ellyn, Escanaba…

Length: 98 minutes

Source: Fred Crissey

This middle Volume follows the CNW in the Midwest via Fred Crissey’s movie camera. Predominantly a rural show. Some lines have since been abandoned. A long Chapter of steamer 1385 from a 1986 outing is included. Also, the big Alco Century locomotives appear.

Typical of the other C Vision and Fred Crissey programs. All color 8mm film. Musical background soundtrack. Switchable on/ off at the menu.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-15h00m51s246A basic narrative. Generally, it offers locations. On-screen graphics denote similar information. Sometimes, a specific year is mentioned. A few line details.

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Films are original condition in appearance. Clean overall, with good color balance. Handheld camera. Steady for the most part.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h42m44s553Quite a bit of the first half is shot with some distance from the camera. The only real concern with most Fred Crissey film collections. Though, not a deal breaker by any means.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-15h03m15s594Several overview maps. Simple, but effective. Here, is a really handy one!

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-15h30m36s371He doesn’t train chase as extensively, as some other times. Save the 1385. This results in a better program.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h28m20s385Many trains are fronted by SD40 or even SD45 units. Those SD40s were ubiquitous, at the time. Lake Crystal, MN.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-15h18m44s765Union Pacific or Conrail trailing power are not uncommon. Run through units, as the Union Pacific pair. An occasional Milwaukee Road, as well.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h46m07s177Semaphore signal territories. Fred often has the trains, split the signal locations. Baldwin, Wisconsin. Keep a sharp eye out!

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h49m12s761CNW at Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h29m18s877Although harder to find. Other engine classes work the lines. Left in some extra graphics, for additional information.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h52m25s299Knapp Hill with a steep grade.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h34m31s116First gen EMD units at Pig’s Eye Yard, amoung the interesting equipment.

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GP50s lead a hot TOFC train. Near Glen Ellyn, Ill. at Deadman’s Curve.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h26m05s655Other railroads seen operating trains. Milwaukee Road and Burlington Northern.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h24m38s430Observe this hard to find, EMD cow and calf set!

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h29m49s620Back on the main. A GP30 lash-up with a set out car of fertilizer.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-15h26m34s379At the Kate Shelly bridge. A CNW locomotive, leads Amtrak’s California Zephyr, which was detoured.

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CNW 808 leads a GP30 pair on a ballast train in Iowa. I believe the heavy green stripe painted, were ex: Chicago Great Western units.

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Major bridges throughout the program. Blair, Nebraska shown here.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h20m11s351Escanaba, Michigan to Green Bay,Wisconsin.  The Alco C628 locomotives in ore car service. Former Norfolk and Western power here. Behemoth diesels that are seen in multiple unit lash-ups.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-15h14m46s542A Century pair on a general freight gets chased to Green Bay. The 6709 leads.

vlcsnap-2019-09-30-14h29m57s093Volume 2. A rural looking CNW. A wide ranging show. It gives an interesting look at branch, and mainline action.

Wide variety of freight trains. The 1385 is alright. The big Centuries are a quick bonus. A strong entry in this three volume series.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

 

Tribute to Tennessee Pass

 

TRIBUTE-DVD

Timeframe: 1997

Locations: Royal Gorge, Minturn, Mitchell, Salida, TP Summit, more

Length: 1 hour 40 minutes

In 1997 the word was given. Historic Tennessee Pass was going to be closed by the railroad. Pentrex then documented the Tennessee Pass subdivision. A 200 mile line.

The show is organized into three main sections. One third from Pueblo, Colorado. Another third from Dotsero. A middle section with the Summit.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-10h27m07s992Actually, the Summit is also acheived via another Chapter. Tennessee Pass Tunnel. Twice visited. Great!

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There is so much to see. Let’s hit some highlights.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-11h21m56s489In 1997, the SD40T-2 were still to be found, in Rio Grande paint.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-10h15m24s105Pentrex extras include many reference maps. On screen graphics with; train designations and locations.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-10h36m58s470Dave Drui narrates in his smooth as glass style. A smart script matches the professional Pentrex production.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-10h12m35s521Expert videography is on tap. Beautifully shot. Encompasses the magnificent mountain scenery along with the centerpiece trains. Well done!

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-10h42m05s914Audio is live sound. Pro sound throughout. Some obvious video source flaws late in the program. Minor glitches. No worries. Part of the review.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-11h08m11s617The program begins on the Western end and travels towards the center. A rather sharp decision. Viewers end up at Tennessee Pass Summit. The tunnel is the Summit.

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Restart at the opposite end of the sub. Achieve the summit twice! Brilliant.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-10h49m46s976Relentless train movement. Ever changing scenic vistas will keep eyes on the screen.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-11h31m14s382At Minturn. The pace slows down. Watch the process. Mid-train helpers are cut into a heavy, unit coal train.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-10h21m13s805Royal Gorge is a scenic highlight.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-10h56m50s242A hard to find (in 1997) Rio Grande GP30 is out on the mainline.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-10h58m37s198Several out of staters do appear. CSX,NW, and CNW. Here is one. CNW SD40-2.

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Although the GE AC4400 were dominate. Tunnel motors and the The Rocky Mountains. Go together like peanut butter and jelly. A classic!

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-10h47m10s366Union Pacific locomotives are plentiful.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-11h54m18s899Those sweeping curves at Mitchell. They have been filmed since the steam era. Still exciting, even with diesels!

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-11h58m54s556Here we are…

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-11h14m04s018Not a caboose to be found in this show. There is this vintage DRGW boxcar. Close enough for horseshoes. Ain’t she sweet? Let’s go with this for the closer.

Tribute to Tennessee Pass. Has all the elements. Mountain territory, good mix of power and freight. Excellent visuals with a sharp narrative. A fine program for the whole family. This amoung the top Pentrex shows!

Rating: 5 Stars