The Stormy


Producer: Pentrex

Locations: Tucson to Lordsburg

Timeframe: 1995

Length: 90 minutes

Southern Pacific’s Lordsburg District. Filmed in the spring of 1995. Last of the semaphore signal usage there. Some double track installation, along with signal upgrades.

This was a power short SP. Leased units abound. No cabooses. Not much excitement in general here. Double stacks and more double stacks…


Pentrex has a quality show. Excellent presentation. Detailed Chapter Menu. Full narration. Plenty of graphic extras.


The show begins at the SP yard in Tucson, Arizona. It will proceed East until the conclusion at Lordsburg, New Mexico.

vlcsnap-2019-06-13-17h49m48s200SP dark grey paint is what you get.


Maps are used at the appropriate times.


The last of the vintage semaphore signals are shown in operation.


There are some sizeable bridges.


Much of the fleet needs repainting in 1995. Variety of locomotives.


SD units are the dominate road power.


Top notch videography. Note, the CSX locomotive on the lead.


Pentrex does so well at the pan.


There are some old structures from the steam era, still standing along the route. Check the GE on the head end.


Amtrak makes several quick appearances.


Willcox still has a Station in use by SP.


After awhile, the trains begin to look the same.


Intermodal traffic is the main traffic.


A hot Union Pacific train breaks the monotony of SP led freights.


Pentrex can be great at identification of trains. On screen graphics, combined with narration, decide this information.


A couple of shortlines get a glimpse. Arizona Eastern here.


The camera crew captures all of the major highlights.


Here are some leased diesels.


Lordsburg provides an anti-climatic conclusion. Fairly quiet. Oddly enough, Pentrex returns to Tucson!


This is the lone caboose in this show. San Pedro Southwestern.

The route traverses scenic, yet relatively barren desert terrain. Sleepy, small towns. In fact, outside of the speeding freights, the show does have a sleepy feel. Most of the time, trains are the only thing moving.

Rating: 4 Stars


Classic Burlington Northern Volume 1


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.


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.


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!


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.


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


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.


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.


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


Lovell had this station.


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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.


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


chase to a freight- all the way to Texas!


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

Diesels on the Union Pacific


Producer: William Brown

Timeframe: early 1980s

Locations: Cheyenne, Sherman line, more..

Length: 2 hours 7 minutes

This combination of two old VHS tapes into this double DVD set. Viewers will experience what watching those old tapes is like. No remaster or enhancement here. Too bad, the visuals do need help.

The shows are jam packed with 1980s action! That is the main attraction. The video begins, around the main yard at Cheyenne. A major Union Pacific location, with a rich history.


Visual quality is barely adequate or below overall. It is quite messy. A good sized distortion bar runs horizontal, along the bottom of the screen. On the left side, a vertical distortion bar.

There are many small horizontal distortion lines in the upper third to half of the picture. This fault is variable. Yet, too frequent. A worn out master tape.


Color balance tries to hangs tough. Barely adequate, to less than that. Some green rails appearing. Yellow shade gets off kilter.

The show is somewhat watchable. Just on the low end. Keep your expectations low.

Audio is considerably better. Live sound captures the diesels very well. Particularly satisifying when chasing the Centennials.

No maps or Chapter Menus are included. A bare bones release.

Rege Cordic has a clear slot in the narrative. The script is quite basic.


Some good news. A caboose on every train. They come from various railroads! Keeps things interesting.


Good assortment of run through power. Plus, the trains themselves were more interesting, as well.

One disc plays One hour. The other 67 minutes.

To the Trains ..

Disc 1


The tour starts sensibly, at the Cheyenne roundhouse. The various steam engines and random diesels are browsed there.


Moving on, after a brief yard tour. The mainlines are featured.


Hordes of EMD SD40-2 were dominate. Classic film locations are seen.


General Electric does have a presence.


Centennials were activated. A chase over Sherman Hill.


A caboose on every train! Chicago and  Northwestern on some unit coal. Other roads, though mostly Union Pacific.

The Sequel


Exact same format. Video quality is slightly worse overall. Note the unnatural purple distortion lines that fill the sky. Also, lower horizontal and side distortion bars.

vlcsnap-2019-06-09-09h35m42s898Still, a full action show! A high vantage point provides some good looks at the passing freights.


Checkout the access the Videographers had in this era! Famous locations and likely no hassles.


An odd, no narrative with various Amtrak scenes segment.


A cornucopia of cabooses. Road variety keeps it interesting. Yes, trainwatching was better.


This was the last hurrah.


It is -50 degrees, with the wind chill. Baby, it’s cold!


Cab ride onboard Centennial #6922. Travel from Denver towards Cheyenne.


The passenger special relays the train to Challenger 3985.


Diesels on the Union Pacific

This is a good historical trip, back to the 1980s. While it was well shot originally. Age has not been kind to the videos.

It  is still watchable. Although, it would be tough on one’s eyesight, to view both discs in a single sitting.

The decreased visual quality relegates this set into the land of hardcore railfans. The content is strong. Too bad about the viewing.

Rating: 2 1/2 Stars




The Heritage Collection, Volume 1

Empire Builder Cover.indd

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1940 – 1950s

Locations: USA

Length: 1 hour 35 minutes

Five vintage films from the 1940s and ’50s. Professionally produced by the Railroad organizations of the time. Most, if not all of these have circulated. Convenient to have a group on a single DVD.

A detailed Chapter Menu breaks them down by the five movie titles.  A Play All option, as well.


These shall be reviewed by individual title. All are narrated. Full color films.

A roll up and combined rating upon completion.


Burlington Route FT set. One of the myriad of rarities.

On The Track 

AAR short film of 1950s era. Dudley Productions.  A shared theme of America produces, and ships by rail. Wide variety of railroads passby the camera.  


There are a number of famous landmarks. Prosperous, post war America. There are similar films made during this time.


Covers much subject matter in about 15 minutes. Historical look back into time. Heavy industry is one focus.


Plenty of early diesels. F and E units dominate. A few odd, Alco and Baldwin units. Several steam locomotives.


Life – Line of the Nation

Another Carl Dudley Production. Don McNamara has the narrator credit.


An earlier film. Deals with World War 2. The valuable role of US railroads to move the military. The industry to manufacture equipment.

C&O 1490 is shown above.


Hence, a National defense theme. Milwaukee Road box cab electrics.



Get busy identifying what you see in all of these shows. Look closely…

Florida East Coast!


Milwaukee Road Hiawatha. Nice runby!

Runs about 20 minutes. Plenty of steam.


Rare, New York Central Empire State Express.

Early diesels in small numbers here.


The might of the US industrial complex, to support the war effort. Cooperation amoung the railroads to move everything.

The responsibility of the railroads to keep the peace time America rolling.


225,000 Mile Proving Ground

A 1958 produced, Association of American Railroads. Dudley Pictures.

The Headline Story of Railroad Research.


The subtitle sums up where this movie short is going. These old films do like to emphasize just how well they are doing!

This Union Pacific Turbine, is the future.


The science of Railroading. Metallurgy, as in more durable rail is one subject. Freight car design and uniform improvements.


Improved refrigerator equipment. Santa Fe.


Modern hump yard.


Modern signaling for reliable train movements. Great Northern.


Boxcars are constantly improved.

America’s 225,000 rail miles are the proving ground for so much technology.

Suffice it to say, A Chicago headquarters, was at the forefront, of the leading edge.

Railroads and National Defense

Dudley Pictures. Korean War era.

America: with natural resources, industrial might and a strong military. Ready to meet any challenge. Transportation is the key.



This short is packed with early diesels!

Missouri – Kansas – Texas E units. MKT.


This one reassures the public, that our railroads are more than ready to move the military.vlcsnap-2019-04-28-20h15m48s775

By now, you will notice the recycling of some footage. Remember, the producers were doing these films separately. They would have never dreamed of a single DVD!


Seaboard train


Buses move troops to the trains. Going to embarkation areas.


Runs about 12 minutes. Many of the same trains seen previously. Like this Monon.

In a way, seen one, seen them all with these old short films. They vary somewhat. Yet, are quite similar.

Mainline USA

Also an AAR release from the 1950s. Dudley Pictures. Gilmore is this narrator.


Probably the best of this collection. Many diesels. Pennsylvania Baldwin Sharks.


Rock Island TA.

Again with the greatest America.

Same recycled footage. Much new and additional film.


This one contains the largest selection of diesels. Western Maryland trio, in fireball paint scheme.


Baltimore and Ohio F7A.


Advances, such as truck trailers on flatcars.

Runs about 20 minutes.


The Heritage Collection, Volume 1

Pentrex has delivered on the advertised. These vintage short films are of a historical nature. Repeat scenes, no extra charge!

Years ago, many old train films were difficult to obtain. Much has surfaced over the decades. There are still some rare birds. Although, only a quick glimpse of each.

Overall, an authentic period collection. Has trains, and much more. One viewpoint of American life. May or may not, be of interest.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars


Colorado’s Colorful Joint Line


Producer: Bill Brown

Timeframe: 1986- 1988

Locations: Denver, Littleton, Palmer Lake

Length: One Hour

Source: Dave Gross, Bill Brown

The Joint Line is 118 miles, shared by three Railroads in Colorado. Burlington Northern, Santa Fe and Rio Grande in pre-merger days of the late 1980’s.


Rege Cordic is an excellent narrator. He performs on other WB Video shows. A relaxed style, that allows trains to be heard.


This one has listed: broadcast video, live sound and color. The original VHS release was dated as 1989. This DVD has Highball Productions as current.


WB and/ or whoever took over this program. They have not added any Chapter Menus to this DVD. No maps within the show either. Seems to be a straight transfer.

vlcsnap-2019-04-22-17h30m06s931Picture is soft on a newer high definition screen. Do not expect current standards!


Oakway SD60 locomotives have caught the attention of Gross’ Camera early on. Alot of scenes of these with the leased units. Too many, for a well balanced presentation.


You will not see a Rio Grande road train on the mainline. Should be included.

vlcsnap-2019-04-22-16h58m01s897Pacing of coal train… Later, an LMX is paced.


BN SD40-2 helpers, shove hard. Decent shots for the time.

vlcsnap-2019-04-22-17h05m51s343Newer GE B39-8 LMX. This one leads a BN GP50.

vlcsnap-2019-04-22-17h09m48s997There are some featured, Kodachrome schemed SF units. Rege refers to them as, red and yellow SF units!


The Colorado Springs switcher is a lone GP30. A good assortment of Kodachromes.


This pair of GP30 diesels pull the very first Santa Fe Q Train. Like a dog with a bone, Q Train after Q Train…

vlcsnap-2019-04-22-17h25m06s147Santa Fe 3446 moves slowly at Palmer Lake.

A too long, look at DVLJ moves becomes tedious. There ARE other trains boys!


Palmer Lake is scenic. Still stuck on Santa Fe Q trains…

vlcsnap-2019-04-22-17h32m41s842Denver, finally! Three quarters through. BN action gives blessed relief!


BN 5562 is a General Electric C30-7.

The 20th Street area, is where the trains are concentrated.


DRGW light engine move at Denver.


They are scarce in this show. Elusive Rio Grande units!


This show falls short on the advertised. One would expect to see Rio Grande trains, operating on the Mainline. Denied. Pretty major fault, considering so much time was spent on Santa Fe Quality Train- DVLJ. Disproportionate.

That results in a lower overall score. Why spend all that time watching repetitive, Santa Fe piggybacks?

A bit much on the Oakway leased SD60 power, as well. Seen one, seen them all. Even back when they were brand new!

Missed opportunities. Overkill on others.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars