Union Pacific Classic Collectors Series

VRUP-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1950s

Locations: Cheyenne, Sherman Hill line, Laramie, Green River, more…

Length: 90 minutes

Source: Video Rails

Pentrex has three former Video Rails shows on a single DVD. Hence, The Collection. All vintage Union Pacific Steam. Each feature is thirty minutes.

A master Chapter Menu allows access to the individual shows. Detailed menu on the shows. Narration by Michael Berger.

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Film and sound credits, contain notable names. All the elements are top shelf.

Big Boys

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An entertaining half an hour. Full color, high quality film. Informative script, that begins with the development of these locomotives.

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Big Blow UP exclusive Turbines were sometimes the assistance.

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A single F3A is almost comical in appearance, as a front end helper.

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Big Boys could also simply help themselves!

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Winter of 1956 is the final chapter.

Challengers

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Early history leads off with the growing need for larger locomotives. Wahsatch grades required ever powerful engines.

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The year 1936, saw the initial delivery of 15 new Challenger class. A second order included some improvements.

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1942 . New 3950 to 3969 were the Heavy Challengers. Designed to work in conjunction with, the Big Boys over the Wahsatch Mountains. Last of the series.

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Doubleheader with a Pacific. Both in Two- tone gray paint.

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In Nebraska the 3936 operated in the snow.

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Two tone grey Challengers we’re painted in Portland. Primarily assigned to passenger service. They are shown hauling freights.

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Last stand, were as helpers along the Green River. In a classic and rare scene…

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The Turbine is assisted by a Heavy Challenger.

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This is an outstanding Challenger show! A  chase through the mountains is a highlight.

 

Steam

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The venerable 0-6-0 switchers were in service for decades. They were stationed systemwide at Union Pacific yards.

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The 1243 is briefly seen in operation. Various UP steam engines are covered.

 

Former passenger engine Pacific’s were downgraded, until winding out their careers in freight duty.

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In 1958, at the Grand Island, Nebraska roundhouse. UP #428 is one of only 2 active steamers there. The Consolidations were used in branchlines service in later years.

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Mikado 282 . 1924 is one of the oldest operating in the Wahsatch.

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Northern’s. FEF class. 4-8-4. North Platte.

vlcsnap-2019-06-22-14h06m58s603Now in twilight, 833 is now a beater!

 

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A Challenger and Northern 839, are about to depart.

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Union Pacific put on a glorious steam show.

Here is a great collection of classic Union Pacific steam programs. Anyone with an interest in steam era railroading should find this an enjoyable look at the Union Pacific steam in the 1950s.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

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Classic Burlington Northern Volume 1

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Producer: C Vision

Timeframe: 1970s- 80s

Locations: Wyoming, Montana, Chicago, Washington, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado.

Length: 97 minutes

Source: Fred Crissey

Fred Crissey certainly traveled with his 8mm movie camera! This first of 2 volumes from C Vision covers BN territory in 7 states.

This release is comparable to similar C Vision with Fred Crissey titles. A now familiar formula of: vintage films, narration and music.

This show has a detailed Chapter Menu. Choice of on/ off, for the music. No maps. On-screen location graphics.

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Don Grant is the usual narrator. Confident and has a smooth delivery. A well written script rounds things out.

Audio levels are spot on. Don’s voice is above the music. The narrative is relaxed. Plenty of trainwatching, with no narration. While I normally prefer more narrative. Being in the middle of nowhere, it is fitting for those scenes! Kickback and enjoy the music.

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Film quality is very good overall. Color balance is a strength. Sometimes, specks and such are noticeable. Still, a better experience, versus looking at VHS tapes!

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Fred had a tendency to shoot the trains in context. Capturing the scenery, along with the moving train. Wyoming had unobstructed views for his preference. This particular program, is loaded with long shots. Recommend a large screen, for maximum enjoyment.

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A different style, and highlight is late in the proceedings. A cab ride aboard an E9 unit from, Aurora  to Chicago Union Station yard.

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All in all, the show chases assorted local freights. Trackside for passing mainline moves. Helpers on mountain grades.  Vintage freight cars. Packs a ton of action, in many locations.

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The story begins at Cheyenne, Wyoming. Quickly, we are out in the middle of nowhere. Following a freight train across a somewhat desolate Wyoming landscape.

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Worland Depot is civilization. Fred shot a few trains there.

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Lovell had this station.

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A pair of GP9 (more or less) are a welcome sight.

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BN 5335 leads a Southern Pacific unit. The 5335 is a U30-C. This was a General Electric locomotive.

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BN local number 185 gets chased, as it goes about it’s tasks until dark. An SD40-2 with an SD9 are the power. A good variety, of first and second generation power is in daily use.

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Wind River Canyon is former Burlington Route trackage. Rivals the Rio Grande for scenery! Who knew? Nice inclusion.

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Mullan Pass receives a thorough once over. Good to visit here in an earlier era. Before Montana Rail Link. Great segment!

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Mid-train helpers with a mixed bag of locomotives. Sure, there are closer looks.

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Tiger stripe GP50 units at Skykomish, Washington. A notable former Great Northern location.

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The famous BN Racetrack is a 30 mile stretch from Aurora to downtown Chicago, Illinois. A triple track mainline. Well maintained and good for high speed running. Fred gets a prime setup in the Fireman’s seat on an E9! LaGrange Road.

Appears to have been filmed in the 1980s. Every station and point of interest is mentioned. Light traffic suggests an off peak hour.

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A former Colorado and Southern line has Fred’s attention. He gives ..

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chase to a freight- all the way to Texas!

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These images are unique to this Cinematographers style. While the BN is not a hard to find railroad. Try and obtain: this timeframe, action, and far flung (mostly) locations.

Plus, the show is nicely assembled into a smooth program. It has a good rerun value.

Any Burlington Northern railfan or model railroader, should be highly satisfied.

Rating: 4 Stars

The Fifties Express

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Producer: William Brown

Timeframe: 1950s

Locations: USA, Canada

Length: 52 minutes

Source: Irving E. August

Irving August is a notable railroad Cinematographer, from the 1950s. This impressive all color collection, is a wide ranging one. Covering a variety of lines, in the United States, and Canada.

Steam and early diesel. Electrified lines. Freight and passenger trains. An ore hauler. A tourist line.vlcsnap-2019-05-31-17h24m31s999

Mr. August filmed in high quality 16mm! A mixture of music, and train sounds. No additional extras.

Rege Cordic is the familiar voice on WB Video. He does a professional job.

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At under an hour, the pace is fast. Some of the edits are abrupt. Given the limitations of the period equipment. He probably ran out of film. For the rarity, it is a wash. Rather see those trains.

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Each railroad is billboarded. The corresponding footage is then shown. The earliest date quoted is 1950.

There is even more! Here are some highlights. Figure that it was probably the best of his own feels. More or less.

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Canadian National is west of Montreal.

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Boston and Maine. Pacific power on locals.

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New Haven is chased on a fantrip.

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Baltimore and Ohio. Action packed. Plenty of trains here Steam and diesel.

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Western Maryland, is using steam and diesels. Mid-train helpers and pushers.

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Milwaukee Road Little Joe electric locomotives, in rarely seen paint.

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New York Central has several trains.

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Nickel Plate Road, shared the right of way with New York Central, in Westfield, Ohio. Number 748 is one of the Berkshire class.

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Norfolk and Western, is one of the longest chapters. Although, there are no designated chapters, on a menu. Focus on the behemoth Y-6 class. The 600 series passenger locomotives are seen.

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An unusual scene. N&W work train in a backup move.

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Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range. Another extensive visit. Yellowstone’s, for certain.

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Canadian Pacific receives lengthy attention around scenic Kicking Horse Pass. Including some footage from a passenger car.

vlcsnap-2019-05-31-18h01m04s354Two for CP. Need a Selkirk. A beauty!

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Northern Pacific steam is hard to find. Irving has some here.

vlcsnap-2019-05-31-17h54m35s448A large coaling tower gives the feel of keeping large steam in service. Northern Pacific.

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Caboose on Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range. The majority of cabooses were shades of red. These are standouts!

The Fifties Express

An Express tour seeing over a dozen railroads in the fabulous 1950’s. A fine presentation. Suitable for family viewing.

Rating: 5 Stars

CSX on the Tracks of the C&O

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Producer: A&R

Timeframe: 1995-2000

Locations: Lynchburg to Kenova

Length: 1 hour 40 minutes

Source: Chester Kumada

Self guided tour of the given route. Third generation CSX locomotives. Unit coal trains. Not much in the way of variety. The most interesting aspect is the history. Yet, nothing is learned.

A major flaw. This show is advertised as ‘Narrated’. The terminology of narration. Commonly refers to a voiceover that is present throughout the program.

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Here, a limited bit of talk, at the beginning. After that brief portion. The remaining 90 minutes are NOT narrated!

A single route map. One look is all that is given.

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The edits are rough, in too many spots.  Contributed uncomfortable viewing session. Hard on the eyesight.

A small horizontal distortion bar is present at the bottom of the screen. Always there.

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Audio is whatever the High 8 Videocam recorded. Unedited. Including, the cameraman getting hassled to give some identification info!

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The dark paint is seen at Lynchburg, Virginia.

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Wind noise gets too loud at times. This should have been edited, in the Post production.

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The show plays like a raw video. The show contains some normal video flaws. Nothing to be a big concern. Just like watching a tape.

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Chester uses his camera as handheld. A fairly, steady hand. Although, there are shaky scenes. A little trimming could have smoothed some of this out of the show.

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A wasted opportunity to explore some history of the locations. Sometimes, a bit of signage designated a location. Otherwise, your guess is good as mine.

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Unit coal trains are as thrilling as watching paint dry. They could have discussed, the various moves and the companies involved. At the very least.

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Clifton Forge has a large yard. Now, there is a subject! Speaking of narration. This ex:B&O GP40 is cutout of the lash-up on a coal train. Dropped at the yard. No details.

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Chester gets a great view at this empty move!

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Here is an: almost but no cigar, GP30. A road slug. CSX 2211.

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A couple of Amtrak scenes. One at the platform is The Cardinal. The Public Address via the video microphone.

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Ohio River, is a shortline involving coal hoppers. An NW2 and an old Centercab diesel, are performing the mindless switching. No description= mindless.

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We are at the end of the show. A bit of logic. Must be Kenova, West Virginia. I have seen that Norfolk and Western trestle, in old films.

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The final tally is a weak result. Lack of narration is a huge downfall. As are the other production flaws. This becomes a drag.

A regular narrative could have made a big difference. Therefore, the lower rating.

Rating: 2 1/2 Stars

Ohio Steam in the ’50’s

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Producer: A&R

Timeframe: 1950s

Locations: Ohio

Length: 1 hour 40 minutes

Source: Ed Birch, Sr.

A fabulous collection of classic steam. Filmed during the 1950s. Ed Birch shot all of this, in full color. He was on a high level.  This covers several railroads.

Baltimore and Ohio, Nickel Plate, New York Central plus Pennsylvania Railroad. Special guest stars, are big Santa Fe 5000 class power!

There is even a little Grand Trunk Western. Cameos of Detroit interurbans.

A sprinkling of early diesels appear.

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There is no Chapter Menu. No maps either. Dubbed sound for the trains. Good sound levels. Some scenes work better than others.

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Carrothers Tower, with Pennsylvania Railroad signage

 Narration by Aaron Gonthier. Basic script. Locomotives and locations. Additional information.

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Excellent looking films! Some occasional flaring. Very clean. Fine Cinematography.

Too much to get it all here. Hit some highlights. Not in running order.

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Baltimore and Ohio had moved steam into this area. Their behemoth, EM-1 can be found operating with a Pacific. Going to Wheeling. 

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EM-1, in a flurry of scenes around the yard.

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Ride into Deschler. On a B&O passenger train. Quick trip. Much happens at busy Deschler station. The inclusion of railroad structures are valuable.

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4618 leaves Deschler, with a friendly wave from the Engineer.

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5301  Cincinnatian. Streamlined Pacific stops at Deschler. Ride this train to Toledo.

 

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New York Central. Niagara 6014 departs with a passenger train. Toledo.

 

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Central Union Terminal. A modern passenger station. Built in 1950.

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Grafton, West Virginia. An important B&O facility. A good visit there.

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B&O 4453 getting water. Fascinating scene, 50 ton hoppers elevated.

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Cincinnatian to Detroit. PCC cars on Woodward Ave.

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Grand Trunk Western Station. Milwaukee Junction.  See the locomotive service area. A bit dark. Time of day perhaps. Notice, how they do not promote this segment.

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Sandusky in 1956. ATSF 2-10-4 engines on lease. Model Railroaders will find plenty of freight cars in the trains.

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Berkshire 776 has picked up orders at Bellvue. Nice sequence.

 

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A Santa Fe 5000 class, on the: Mansfield to Carrothers, Pennsylvania Railroad line.

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Attica Jct. This tower gives a sense of size to the large 2-10-4 Santa Fe steam engines. Note the man at the bottom of the stairs.

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Tiffen, on the Pennsylvania. A PRR J1

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B&O Q4 Mikado paced sequence.

vlcsnap-2019-05-13-17h43m34s743A Nickel Plate Road Berkshire, meets newer diesels. This was the near the end for steam on NKP.

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Baltimore and Ohio caboose,with an older paint scheme. Look at those colors!

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Nickel Plate Road, with High Speed Service.

Excellent program that exceeded expectations. Non- stop action of classic transition era trains. Variety of locomotives and the railroads are intriguing.

Ed Birch’s work, will stand with any of the well known Cinematographers. Outstanding composition. This man knew how to film a train!

This show is a must see for any steam fan.

Great for family viewing. You might find yourself wishing for more…

Rating: 5 Stars