The Illinois Central:1990-1991

Illinois-Central-1990-1991-End-of-the-Paducah-Geep-Era-DVD-DC-IC91

Producer: Mary R. McPherson

Timeframe: 1990-1991

Locations: Centralia, DuQuoin, Rust Jct., Carbondale, more

Length: 1 hour 55 minutes

Sources: George Redmond and Kurt I. Jensen

The Heritage Series. Illinois Central:1990-1991. End of the Paducah Geep Era.

Last of 4 volumes about the Illinois Central, in the Heritage Series. This by Diverging Clear Productions. Mary McPherson is the Producer. Long program. Highlights only.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h15m45s008Obviously, the last stand for those old warhorse GP9 rebuilds, of various incarnations. From Orange and White Illinois Central,  later Illinois Central Gulf. The final survivors,  were mostly black repaints.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-20h12m51s263A single DVD-R, in a Slimline case. No Chapter Menu. No maps. Plenty of on-screen graphics. Full narration by Mary McPherson. Very informative. Train symbols, locations and railroad history/ operations. 

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The Heritage Series. These are niche videos. Mainly filmed by George Redmond. Good with his camera. Age isn’t favorable to vintage videotapes. The subject matter is what makes these desirable.

Amateur shot videos. Produced and released by this Independent label. Mary has come a long way on this release. Restoration work. It looks better. Sharp editing, plays smoother. Balanced audio. Improvements in all areas!

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-16h28m48s781Some rare territory is included in this show. The Bluford division, aka the Edgewood Cut-Off. Oddly enough, this is not where those old geeps are to be found.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h04m37s442This show is dominated by second generation power. GP38 and GP40 engines. SD40 units. Also, those odd SD20 locomotives. 

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h23m33s443Of course there are: GP8, GP10 and GP11 units. Although, not in quantity, until later. So be patient. A rare GP35 in black, that was a Gulf, Mobile & Ohio unit appears.

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The first half is in the Bluford division. Shot in 1990. Plenty of inclement, wintery weather. The bridge viewpoint, is overused for too many head-on views of oncoming trains. Perhaps, a little editing could have been useful here.

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Color balance is very good overall. Nothing weird. Brightness issues, in the first half. Videography is very good. Historical value, not modern viewing standards.

Trains look good on a large, HDTV. Backgrounds can look artificial, occasionally. Nothing to worry about. No deal breakers. A clean train picture, seems have been the goal.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-16h28m30s240Illinois Central was always known for hauling coal. Still, a main commodity.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h12m08s651The second half moves the show to: Centralia, Carbondale and DuQuion. Additional Southern Illinois towns. Better weather conditions. Much improved picture. Superior composition. Shot in 1991. Almost like watching two different shows. Grain train shown above. The other huge commodity on Illinois Central.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-16h38m58s102The entire program is well paced. It moves along quickly. Smooth edits. Audio is natural sound. Good balance of levels.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h24m30s709There are multiple pacing sequences. Different locomotives are featured. All are good.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-20h16m26s595Not a bunch of offline power. Norfolk Southern has it’s normal traffic, via Centralia.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-19h32m42s079There are quite a few Amtrak trains. Mary is an expert on Amtrak. She is an Amtrak Conductor! Has worked The City of New Orleans for years. I bet a trip on her train is major fun! Great sense of humor!!

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h07m28s169Those old geeps are already getting scarce! Hard to find in the lead, on long lash-ups.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h21m34s916Easier to find, on switching, or small local trains.


vlcsnap-2019-11-14-19h45m17s964Black paint on newly acquired, ex: Burlington Northern SD-40-2 engines. This was the end, for the venerable Paducah Geep rebuilds.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-19h29m46s282Still see some cabooses in service. Orange was always my favorite. That light gray looked like, no one could agree on a really good color. Like beige carpet.


vlcsnap-2019-11-14-16h29m11s200Heritage Series. Illinois Central:1990-1991. End of the Paducah Geep Era. A good collection of what is now, historical video. Probably, could have gotten the same thrill, in an edit. It does get somewhat repetitive. Still, a must have for Illinois Central fans. Overall, a well done volume in the series.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

 

Montana Rail Link EMDs in the Rockies Volume 2 The West End

CVMRL2DVD-C-Vision-Productions-DVD-Montana-Rail-Link-EMDs-in-the-Rockies-Volume-2-The-West-End-600-TheShortLine_216x300

Producer: C. Vision

Locations: Helena, Mullan Pass, Evaro Hill, DeSmet, Paradise, Sandpoint

Timeframe: circa 2014

Length: 2 hours

Source: Mike Savona

Likely the sleeper in the large C. Vision catalog. A spectacular last part, sets this apart! Postcards brought to life. This is an accurate description of the scenes, as this show travels towards Sandpoint, Idaho. One amazing scene after another. Getting ahead of the review.

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Here is the second of a two volume issue from C. Vision, about the contemporary Montana Rail Link. Long vanished, are EMDs in Burlington Northern paint. Shiny dark blue here.

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The roster is looking prosperous. Newer SD70AC locomotives. SD45 and updated SD40 class power. Some older GP9 or similar types in clean MRL paint.

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BNSF units are plentiful, as well. Sometimes in their own solid sets. They can appear in mixed lash-ups. Also, single rearend helpers. Odd looking as that is.

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The line coverage is complete. Where the MRL has many points seen with a train or two. Much more of the route mileage, can be viewed. Several maps are included.

The single DVD-R is enclosed in a sturdy plastic case. A detailed Chapter Menu. Choice of the narrative is on/ off.

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The Videography is top shelf! Production is first class throughout. The skill level of the Videographer meets and exceeds anyone, on the current scene. Don Grant does the narration.

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As a reviewer. It is also my role, to discuss any concerns. In this case, wildfire smoke is visible, in some scenes. Similar to inclement weather. The scenes are completely watchable. Nothing serious.

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Audio is natural, Enviornmental Sound. Professional production levels. Show is narrated. Focused on locations, movements and trackage. Could have used additional locomotive information, but not a major miss. The emphasis on train sounds seems to be the priority.

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Obviously, at a two hour program length. Only room to skim the surface. Highlights.

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The appearance of the newer SD70AC, Electromotive diesels scream, Brute Force! Perfect for conquering mountain grades.

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Even with those bad boys on the roster. Nothing is wrong with dependable second generation EMD turbo charged muscle. SD40XR.

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Luckily, this was filmed over a few years. A now discontinued local was still working. The Paradise local, as seen here. Also, another the Darby local.

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After viewing all the high horsepower diesels. Venerable first generation, Electromotive of LaGrange built locomotives, still get the job done. Some about 50 years later!

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Mullan Pass and the area, is often photographed. As is the Continental Divide.

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A surprising find. The important Gas Trains. Day and Night scheduled runs. Some pulling along with mixed freight. All trains have their symbols.

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Coal has always been a big commodity. A railroad stronghold.

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Far on the West End. The beautiful water provides many reflections.

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Sandpoint, Idaho is the end of Montana Rail Link territory.

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A Montana Rail Link caboose is faded, but completely serviceable.

C. Vision has this; Montana Rail Link EMDs in the West End Volume 2. A great release. The fantastic ending of the second half makes this a must see, for any Railfan who enjoys the picturesque side of Railroading.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

 

 

East Broad Top (remastered)

EBT_Remaster_DVD

Producer: Green Frog

Timeframe: 1953 – 1976

Locations: Orbisonia, Shirleysburg, more

Length: 117 minutes

Source: Emery Gulash

Green Frog has remastered some of their older shows. This new release features, a brand new remaster. Original source of quality color 16mm film. This from the Master Railroad Cinematographer, Emery Gulash!

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East Broad is a narrow gauge coal hauler. Operating in Pennsylvania. The year is 1953. Several time updates, as Emery returns. Witness the 1960 reopening, as a tourist line. Progressive visits conclude in the winter of 1976.vlcsnap-2019-11-01-09h49m10s972Audio is live sound. The early film is likely dubbed. The later material, was probably live recorded. In any case, the soundtrack is excellent.

Check the amazing level of detail, in the screenshots. This bridge scene, tells it.

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The show is on a single DVD-R. It has a detailed Chapter Menu. This menu displays on my TV screens, although not the new laptop. No other extra features. Realize, this is an older release. Be happy with a Chapter Menu.

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Fully narrated. Good script. Narrative allows for plenty of listening to the trains.

vlcsnap-2019-11-01-10h20m57s403It is not limited to only steam trains. Trolleys, do appear later in the timeline. Several configurations. M-1 Brill type, to the right.

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The Remaster has the most vibrant colors! Results are stunning. Trains seem to be in almost 3-D image. Great seperation. Worth it to re-buy. A major upgrade. The Frog hits a home run!

vlcsnap-2019-11-01-09h51m34s168Emery gets some creative views.

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Let’s recap.

vlcsnap-2019-11-01-09h09m50s333Original East Broad Top. Hauls coal to a few brick plants in the 1950s. All narrow gauge steam. Limited passenger service.

vlcsnap-2019-11-01-09h20m32s049Reopens in 1960. This, after the entire EBT has been sold for scrap! Now, a tourist event. After the owner exceeded a request to have a static, display train.

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By 1963, the owner opens East Broad Top. Now, a serious tourist line.

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Expands the roster, over the years. Adds electric trolleys. Constructs a wye, to turn entire consists. Some additional equipment.

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Emery makes several trips to the tourist line. These are Baldwin built locomotives.

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East Broad Top ran simulated freight trains.

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Beautiful scenery in any season.

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Winter has a stark beauty.

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Roundhouse area access allowed for unique photo opportunities.

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An ancient wooden bridge provided multiple chances, for cool scenes.

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Triple- header. Are you kidding? Great!

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A classic red caboose. Perfect end to the train.

East Broad Top. A successful remaster by Green Frog. The high quality image, looks fantastic on a hi- def screen. Emery’s camera skills are legendary. A fine soundtrack. Classic trains in Pennsylvania scenery. Filmed in all four seasons. Plenty of variety. All good elements. Not limited to Railfans. Suitable for family viewing.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

Denver & Rio Grande Western

DRGW-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1986

Locations: Denver, Royal Gorge, Moffat Tunnel, Tennessee Pass, Winter Park,…

Length: 1 hour 52 minutes

Rio Grande’s entire mainline, is covered from, Denver to Salt Lake City. The year of 1986 had, many solid DRGW lash-ups. Some of the best scenery in the United States, is on this railroad.

All of the major locations are visited. Moffat Tunnel. Climb to the summit of Tennessee Pass. Ski Train at Winter Park. A bonus Cab ride through the beautiful Royal Gorge. This program is jam packed, with a non- stop tour across this historic line.

vlcsnap-2019-10-03-15h23m24s548A detailed Chapter Menu, allows convenient navigation over the single DVD. No on screen graphics. Basic maps for the straightforward line routes. On/ Off narration.

vlcsnap-2019-10-03-14h09m07s182View from Rio Grande tracks, in Royal Gorge.

vlcsnap-2019-10-03-15h05m14s938David Drui, with his smooth and professional narration. Classic Pentrex, with high quality in all departments. 

vlcsnap-2019-10-03-14h08m45s072Action at six mile long, Moffat Tunnel.

vlcsnap-2019-10-03-14h29m09s600Viewing a Rio Grande diesel that is this clean, is rare!

vlcsnap-2019-10-03-14h13m07s456Model Railroaders. Quick quiz. How do you justify double the locomotives on a regular California Zephyr?… Answer… Add some private varnish on the rear!

Quite a few Amtrak views in this show.

vlcsnap-2019-10-03-14h38m13s876Excitement as we are transported into multiple views from, a cab.

vlcsnap-2019-10-03-14h45m20s607Another Cab ride. This time, in Gore Canyon

vlcsnap-2019-10-03-14h48m03s191In the hole we go.. Meeting a Coal Train.

vlcsnap-2019-10-03-15h40m46s695Checkout those Missouri Pacific units in Canary paint.

vlcsnap-2019-10-03-15h06m21s654Red rocks provide a scenic backdrop. Spectacular scenery throughout this program. Cameras have viewpoints both, near and far. A sense of scale, will be communicated to the viewer.

vlcsnap-2019-10-03-15h12m48s269Glenwood Springs has always been a popular tourist destination. Scenery is highlighted, along with the station.

vlcsnap-2019-10-03-15h20m03s353Minturn Yard is a busy place. Here, a meet. Just a fast look here.

vlcsnap-2019-10-03-15h52m57s972The Joint Line has been the subject of it’s own shows. A brief visit in this program. Burlington Northern and Santa Fe shared this trackage with Rio Grande.

vlcsnap-2019-10-03-16h06m01s862Ski Train has a Chapter. Denver to Winter Park.

vlcsnap-2019-10-03-15h33m14s117Tennessee Pass at over 10,000 feet. Power is largely SD40T-2 locomotives. The newer SD50 class are out in force. GP40 engines round out most of the DRGW units. Perhaps, older locos were in less critical service. 

 

Besides Cotton Belt and Southern Pacific. Burlington Northern run throughs will frequent the lash-ups.

vlcsnap-2019-10-03-18h03m25s451An add-on Bonus coverage feature. A 23 minute Cab Ride. A GP40 pair with a local. Tours Royal Gorge Canyon! November, 5 1986. Other trains are encountered. Awesome!

vlcsnap-2019-10-03-15h35m34s174One of the very few cabooses that appear. Was tough to find this one, with a clear view. Doesn’t meet advertised. Promised many cabooses. A few is the reality. Not a deal breaker.

Denver and Rio Grande Western. An excellent visual overview. Seemingly endless viewpoints.  Narrative is an early Pentrex. Lightweight on details. They make up for it with later releases, that cover the same territory.

This show has great mainline coverage of a pre-merger Rio Grande. They did a fine job of filming the railroad. A show that fans will want to rewatch multiple times.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

The Anthracite Roads in the 70s Vol.4 Reading Lines

anthracite-railroads-in-the-70-s-volume-4-dvd-8

Producer: John Pechulis

Timeframe: 1970s

Locations: Bethlehem, Allentown, Rutherford, Reading

Length: 76 minutes

Sources: J. Reck, T. Nemeth, T. Kelcec, W. Chaplik, D. Latshaw

Sampled one of these Anthracite Roads shows. This one features Reading Railroad. Seems to be about 1972 to 1975, based on the narrative. Very focused on mostly freight operations of the Reading. Some passenger, in the forms of: Budd cars, Push- Pull and traditional FP7 led trains.

Having a clear preference for freight trains. Took a chance, on how this would work out. Very satisfied, with the heavy emphasis on freight traffic.

Too much to cover everything. Let’s see some highlights…

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The show has a detailed Chapter Menu. No maps or additional graphics. Added sound are train sounds.

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Various film sources have been compiled to complete this program. Some minor variations. The ultra fine restoration process by JPM, has everything appearing in best possible quality.

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The overall visuals are excellent! Any flaws are minor. The color balance is outstanding. All of the Cinematography is very well shot.

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Mike Bednar provides an informative and colorful narration. He has a true, insider viewpoint. Knowing the train symbols, loads, and much more! Learn why some hopper strings are on the front or rear of a mixed freight, on the Reading.

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Diesel assortment should satisfy most fans of the 1970s. First and Second Generation locomotives from: EMD and Alco are in daily service. GE U30C locomotives, as well.

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Paint schemes range from: Original 50s, 2nd Generation 60s and 70s are all here.

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Cabooses were a given. The RS3 engines were still in service. Although we see their fate, later on.

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GP30 power always had that ‘hot rod’ look. More so, in the 1960s. Something, that only General Motors would come up with.

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The GP35 would outline the design from Electromotive for many years to follow.

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Give me a six axle Alco Century C630, with High Adhesion trucks. A man’s locomotive!

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The late, dark green paint looked like a successful update for the colorful 1970s.

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A nice inclusion. Also, not a common find. Several trains offer the consists. So many 40′ boxcars are still rolling. Model Railroaders- take note.

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While we are it. What do loaded Anthracite cars look like?

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A plethora of pure Reading lash-ups. Nearly endless.

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Mike certainly gets a kick out of a Lehigh Valley ‘Snowbird’ shoving on a train.

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Used to seeing Chessie System units in weathered paint on other shows. It’s a bit of a shocker to find brand new GP40s here.

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Paired up B&O plus C&O engines, also power some moves.

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Obligatory Budd car. Seemed unattractive. Funny, that Mike felt similar.

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The FP7 was a smart looking locomotive, in Reading paint.

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Checkout Rutherford Yard for a quick visit.

vlcsnap-2019-09-20-15h35m36s305Wide Vision caboose. The best on the line.

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This show is a targeted one. The Reading probably did not have as many trackside viewers, as the larger railroads. Due to location and it’s size. Here is a chance to be trackside. In the few years before it disappeared into Conrail. The show in this high quality is a must see, for those who wish to have been there.

Rating: 5 Stars