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

 

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

Steam Across America: Combo DVD

SAA-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1950s- 60s

Locations: many

Length: 1 hour 10 minutes

Source: Bruce Ward

A combination of two shows on this single DVD. East and Western steam in the United States. Filmed in 16mm. All color and multiple railroads. End of the steam era. Late 1950s into the early 1960s.

Interested? Step right in…

Choices on the Top Chapter Menu offer: East, West and Bonus Material. Leads to detailed sub Chapter menus. No maps. On-screen location graphics.

Dave Drui with a good narrative. Detailed soundtrack with environmental sounds. High level of Pentrex production.

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NW in 1957. Portsmouth, Ohio. Plenty of action in the state.

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196 switches at Columbus, Ohio.

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Bluefield WV in 59.vlcsnap-2019-09-02-10h07m15s783

Baltimore and Ohio in 1957. Yellowstone EM- 1 type being chased.

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A B&O freight train, smokes it up.

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Street running at Grafton. The B&O added larger tenders to it’s switchers in later years.

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Pennsylvania Railroad.

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A J1 class 2-10-4 on the turntable at Columbus.

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Nickel Plate Road in 1957. Berkshire class. A Hudson class with rarely seen Elephant Ears on a freight.

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Chicago, Burlington and Quincy. 1961 in Illinois and Wisconsin. Burlington Route ran fantrips. This one was The Illini Special.

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Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range.  The Illini Special in 1961.

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Union Pacific in 1957. Grand Island, Nebraska. Elephant Ear Northern’s in freight service.

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Diminutive switchers were once ubiquitous.

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At Cheyenne, Wyoming. Class locomotive, Big Boy 4000, rolls in with smoking brakes.

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Challengers are abundant! Compare the exhaust on this somewhat ailing Challenger to the GP unit, as they shove on a freight in the Wahsatch Mountains.

Southern Pacific. San Francisco and Oakland terminals.

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Bakersfield in 1957. More shown in 56.  A GS 4 meets a Cab Forward .

Colorado and Southern. Various scenes.

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2-10-2 predominate. Note the double tender

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C&S #641 was well suited to operate to Climax, at over 10,000 feet. Ran until 1961.

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Great Western Railway steamer, is used at the sugar Mill. Loveland, CO. They used 0-4-0 saddle tankers too. Even more than expected is seen.

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Steam Across America. Covers the advertised in fine fashion. Two packed shows of vintage steam action. The 16mm films look great! Fine viewing for anyone with an interest in steam locomotives.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

 

 

 

The Stormy

STORMY-DVD

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…

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

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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.

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Maps are used at the appropriate times.

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

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There are some sizeable bridges.

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

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SD units are the dominate road power.

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

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Pentrex does so well at the pan.

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

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Amtrak makes several quick appearances.

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Willcox still has a Station in use by SP.

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After awhile, the trains begin to look the same.

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Intermodal traffic is the main traffic.

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

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

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

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The camera crew captures all of the major highlights.

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Here are some leased diesels.

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

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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

Classic-Burlington-Northern-Volume-1-DVD-BN1DVD

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